Illustration of Pip visiting a graveyard

Great Expectations

by Charles Dickens

Start Free Trial

In "Great Expectations", where does Estella call Pip "a common boy"?

Expert Answers

An illustration of the letter 'A' in a speech bubbles

Estella calls Pip "a common-labouring boy" in chapter eight when Miss Havisham commands her to play cards with him. Miss Havisham procures Pip as a playmate for Estella, so the young girl can learn to start breaking hearts as early as possible. Miss Havisham wishes to revenge herself on all men, since she was wooed and then jilted at the altar by a con-man years ago. During their game, Estella criticizes everything about Pip, from the way he speaks (he calls the knave cards "Jacks") to his rough-skinned hands and thick boots. He is moved to tears by her cruelty, which pleases Miss Havisham.

Still, Estella's beauty infatuates the young Pip, though her dismissal of him based on his class and manners instills a sense of class-based shame in him. Her words are what plant the seeds for his wish to move up in the world and live as a gentleman. Once he attains this, he feels he will be worthy of her affections, more than "common" by then.

See eNotes Ad-Free

Start your 48-hour free trial to get access to more than 30,000 additional guides and more than 350,000 Homework Help questions answered by our experts.

Get 48 Hours Free Access
Approved by eNotes Editorial