Essential Passage 1: Chapter 8
My sister’s bringing up had made me sensitive. In the little world in which children have their existence whosoever brings them up, there is nothing so finely perceived and so finely felt, as injustice. It may be only small injustice that the child can be exposed to; but the child is small, and its world is small, and its rocking-horse stands as many hands high, according to scale, as a big-boned Irish hunter. Within myself, I had sustained, from my babyhood, a perpetual conflict with injustice. I had known, from the time when I could speak, that my sister, in her capacious and violent coercion, was unjust to me. I had cherished a profound conviction that her bringing me up by hand, gave her no right to bring me up by jerks. Through all my punishments, disgraces, fasts and vigils, and other penitential performances, I had nursed this assurance: and to my communing so much with it, in a solitary and unprotected way, I had in great part refer the fact that I was morally timid and very sensitive.
Pip's parents died when he was a baby and Pip has been reared by his older sister. Mrs. Joe, as she is called, has little patience with childish ways and whims, and has treated Pip with contempt, abusing him physically and verbally. Pip has only known love through his brother-in-law, Joe Gargery. The two of them together form a “mutual protection” partnership against the blows of Mrs. Joe. Pip develops into an extremely sensitive and humiliated child, who strongly feels the injustice of his upbringing. When he is taken to Miss Havisham’s home to “play” with her adopted daughter Estella, Pip is once again treated like common, low-life boy. When Estella shows disdain for his rough manners and ignorance of “social graces,” Pip is humiliated. Still, Estella’s beauty and high social position enthralls him. More than anything, he wants to be her equal, but Estella makes it clear that he is not. This humiliation causes him to reflect on the great injustices he suffers at the hands of his sister and Estella.
Essential Passage 2: Chapter 49
“You are still on friendly terms with Mr. Jaggers?”
“Quite. I dined with him yesterday."
“This is an authority to him to pay you that money, to lay out at your irresponsible discretion for your friend. I keep no money here; but if you would rather Mr. Jaggers knew nothing of the matter, I will send it to you.”
“Thank you, Miss Havisham; I have not the least objection to receiving it from him.”
She read me what she had written, and it was direct and clear, and evidently intended to absolve me from any suspicion of profiting by the receipt of the money. I took the tablets from her hand, and it trembled again, and it trembled more as took off the chain to which the pencil was attached, and put it in mine. All this she did, without looking at me.
“My name is on the first leaf. If you can ever write under my name, ‘I forgive her,’ though ever so long after my broken heart is dust—pray to it.”
“O Miss Havisham,” said I, “I can do it now. There have been sore mistakes; and my life has been a blind and thankless one; and I want forgiveness and direction far too much, to be bitter with you.”
(The entire section is 1477 words.)