Illustration of Pip visiting a graveyard

Great Expectations

by Charles Dickens

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Chapters 34 and 35 Summary

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Last Updated September 5, 2023.

Chapter 34

The chapter begins with Pip reflecting upon the changes to his character since he was made a gentleman. He suspects that the changes have not been for the better, and he realizes that he misses his home.

Pip decides, with Herbert, to join a club called "the Finches of the Grove." The members of this club, as far as Pip can work out, seem to spend all of their time eating, drinking, and arguing. Pip also says that "The Finches spent their money foolishly."

Pip and Herbert also spend money lavishly and wastefully, and in hindsight, Pip realizes that they were only pretending to be happy. They also start to accrue debts. Indeed, Pip comments to Herbert, "we are getting on badly." In response, they decide to sit down and organize all of their paperwork, so as to give themselves the impression that they are dealing with the problem.

At the end of the chapter, Pip receives a letter which tells him that "Mrs. J. Gargery had departed this life."

Chapter 35

At the beginning of chapter 35, Pip describes how his sister's death "haunted [him] night and day." He finds it difficult to imagine life without his sister.

Pip then describes the funeral, including his reunion with "Poor dear Joe." The funeral is, understandably, a rather gloomy affair, orchestrated by the rather pretentious and buffoonish Mr. Trabb. Mr. Trabb arranges the pallbearers, including Pip, so that their heads are all covered; together, the pallbearers and the coffin resemble "a blind monster with twelve human legs, shuffling and blundering along."

During the funeral, Mr. Pumblechook obsequiously bothers Pip, drinking too much alcohol and boasting that he is responsible for Pip's newfound social status.

After the funeral, Pip speaks with Biddy. Biddy says that she can no longer stay but that she will be just fine. She will, she says, be a schoolmistress and will be "industrious and patient, and teach [herself] while [she] teach[es] others." Biddy then tells Pip about his sister's death. She says that his sister had "been in one of her bad states" for four days and that she died "quite content," with her head on Joe's shoulder. Pip then asks Biddy if she has seen Orlick (whom he believes is responsible for his sister's death), and Biddy confesses that she saw him just a moment before. Pip becomes angry and promises to drive Orlick "out of that country."

Biddy, however, manages to calm Pip down, and the conversation turns to Joe. Pip promises that he won't leave Joe alone again, but Biddy doesn't quite believe him. At the end of the chapter, Pip reflects that Biddy was "quite right," and readers perhaps understand just how much Pip has changed.

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Chapters 32 and 33


Chapters 36 and 37