Great Expectations by Charles Dickens

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Chapters 56 and 57 Summary

Chapter 56

Pip visits Magwitch in jail. Magwitch is incredibly sick, and he appears to be dying. Two of his ribs are broken, and his lung is punctured. The punctured lung makes it incredibly difficult for Magwitch to breathe.

Pip is horrified by his friend's condition and continues to visit him in jail every day. Jagger attempts to get Magwitch's trial postponed, but unfortunately, the courts refuse. At Magwitch's trial, Pip accompanies him to court and holds his hand.

Magwitch recognizes the trial for the political spectacle that it is. His unhealthy condition and his damnation by the courts reveal the economic, political, and social oppression that the poor of England faced. The court sentences Magwitch to death, but he dies from his sickness and injuries before he reaches his planned execution.

Pip remains next to Magwitch in the last moments of his life and comforts his dying benefactor. He assures him that Magwitch's daughter, Estella, is in good health and is beautiful and that Pip cares dearly for her. Magwitch is greatly comforted by Pip's words, and a peaceful expression comes over his face as he kisses Pip's hand and breathes his last breath.

Chapter 57

After the death of Magwitch, Pip realizes that he is incredibly alone and in a great deal of debt, with no good plan for climbing out of his financial hole. To make matters worse, he becomes very sick. He has such a high fever that he begins hallucinating and sees the departed Magwitch, along with Miss Havisham.

Pip continues to be unable to pay his bills, and eventually, debt collectors come after him and arrest him. Joe comes to Pip's aid and pays...

(The entire section is 438 words.)