Great Expectations by Charles Dickens

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Chapters 38 and 39 Summary

Chapter 38

Pip visits Estella in Richmond many times as Estella begins to navigate public society. Estella is clearly using Pip to make her other suitors jealous, and Pip is miserable around her. She does not play with Pip's emotions the way she does with those of her other suitors, however; instead, she mostly ignores him. Despite all of this, Pip's obsession with Estella only grows.

Eventually, the two of them visit Miss Havisham. Estella recounts stories to Miss Havisham of all the suitors who desire her and how she has been playing with their emotions and breaking their hearts. Miss Havisham clearly loves to hear these stories, and Pip realizes Miss Havisham has been raising Estella specifically to torment men. Despite all this, he clings to a belief that he is the exception and that Estella will eventually have a real relationship with him and marry him.

On one visit, Estella and Miss Havisham argue, as Miss Havisham is frustrated that Estella is just as cold with her as she is with her suitors. Estella responds that she can't show warmth and affection, having never received it herself from Miss Havisham. Pip leaves as this fight breaks out, and upon returning, he observes that it's as if the fight never happened.

After this visit, Drummle makes a toast to Estella in front of Pip. Pip challenges him to provide proof that Estella is close to him, and he is able to produce a note from Estella. This devastates Pip. He confronts Estella about it, but she brushes him off, making clear that she has no serious interest in Drummle. This does little to calm Pip.

Chapter 39

Pip is visited at home by a strange man during a storm. Though he does not recognize him at first, Pip...

(The entire section is 458 words.)