Illustration of Pip visiting a graveyard

Great Expectations

by Charles Dickens

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Chapter 1 1. Why is the first chapter so important?

2. Compare and contrast Pip and the first convict.

3. What examples of humor can be found in the first chapter?

4. Explain why the story is more interesting written in first person point of view.

Chapters 2 and 3 1. Explain how guilt has affected Pip’s life.

2. Define pun, and how it is used in these chapters.

3. Discuss the theme of right and wrong or good and evil.

4. How is the relationship between Pip and his sister different from the relationship between Pip and Joe.

Chapters 4 and 5 1. Describe the Christmas dinner from Pip’s point of view.

2. How are the attitudes of Pip and Joe toward the first convict similar? How does the convict’s behavior warrant some compassion?

3. What themes are beginning to emerge from these chapters?

Chapters 6 and 7 1. How does Dickens build suspense in his novel?

2. Explain how the bond between Pip and Joe becomes even stronger.

3. Describe Joe’s relationship with Pip and his relationship with his wife.

Chapters 8 and 9 1. How does Pip’s day at Miss Havisham’s change him forever?

2. Compare Miss Havisham and Satis House.

3. Describe Estella and her effect on Pip.

4. Relate examples of Joe’s goodness.

Chapters 10 and 11 1. Explain how Pip’s visit to Miss Havisham has affected him.

2. What does Dickens use to create suspense and interest in his novel?

3. Discuss Pip’s encounter with Miss Havisham’s relatives, and what were his impressions?

4. Explain how humor is used concerning Pip and the pale young gentleman?

Chapters 12 and 13 1. How has Pip changed? Give examples of his dissatisfaction concerning his life and his family.

2. Explain what being an apprentice means and how this affects Pip.

3. Write a character analysis of Uncle Pumblechook.

4. Describe the relationship between Joe and Mrs. Joe.

Chapters 14 and 15 1. Write a character sketch of Orlick.

2. Describe Pip’s return visit to see Miss Havisham.

3. Describe Joe and Pip’s relationship.

Chapters 16 and 17 1. Explain the relationship between Pip and Biddy.

2. Discuss the attack on Mrs. Joe and how it affected Pip.

3. Write a character sketch of Biddy.

Chapters 18 and 19 1. Explain the circumstances or coincidences that help make Pip believe Miss Havisham is his benefactor.

2. Discuss the first stage of Pip’s life. How can this stage be called one of innocence or childhood?

3. Discuss the two settings in the novel—that of Satis House and that of the forge with its marshes. What characters are associated with each, and how do they affect Pip?

Chapters 20 and 21 1. Discuss Pip’s impressions of London and give examples.

2. Describe Mr. Jaggers’ office and how it is representative of the lawyer.

Chapters 22 and 23 1. What does Pip find out about Miss Havisham’s past? Relate her story and its effects upon her life.

2. Discuss how Herbert’s new name for Pip is appropriate.

3. What is Pip’s impression of Belinda and Matthew Pocket’s home life.

4. Compare Belinda Pocket’s obsession with social status and nobility with that of Pip’s quest for social status and becoming a gentleman.

Chapters 24 and 25 1. Discuss the dual personalities of Mr. John Wemmick.

2. Describe Mr. Wemmick’s life at Walworth.

3. Discuss the irony of Mr. Wemmick’s labors at the Castle being an acceptable source of pride, and Joe’s labors as a blacksmith being unacceptable to Pip.

Chapters 26 and 27 1. Compare and contrast Pip’s dinner engagement at...

(This entire section contains 1382 words.)

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the home of Mr. Jaggers with that of Mr. Wemmick.

2. Discuss Joe’s visit with Pip. How has Pip changed?

3. What characteristics make a gentleman?

Chapters 28 and 29 1. Discuss the different kinds of love presented in the novel. Give examples to support your essay.

2. Describe how Dickens uses coincidence to piece together his novel, and how do the coincidences affect Pip.

3. How has the relationship between Joe and Pip changed from the beginning of the novel? Explain the reasons for the changes.

Chapters 30 and 31 1. Discuss the romantic involvements of Herbert and Pip. Which relationship is more realistic?

2. What is a farce, and how is Mr. Wopsle’s performance an example of this term?

3. Explain how Pip’s love for Joe has changed.

Chapters 32 and 33 1. Discuss the influence of prisons, convicts, and criminal lawyers upon Pip’s life.

2. Explain why Mr. Wemmick is compared to a gardener in Newgate Prison.

3. Does wealth bring happiness to Pip? Explain this term in Pip’s and Estella’s relationship.

4. How have Miss Havisham’s relatives played a part in Estella’s and Pip’s lives?

5. Define and discuss the use of similes in these two chapters.

Chapters 34 and 35 1. How has Pip’s fortune affected him and those around him?

2. Describe the funeral of Mrs. Joe.

3. Discuss Pip’s and Biddy’s relationship at this time.

Chapters 36 and 37 1. Compare and contrast Mr. Wemmick’s life in London working for Mr. Jaggers and his life at the Castle in Walworth.

2. Explain the conditions of Pip’s financial situation.

3. Discuss the theme, “Does money bring happiness?”

Chapters 38 and 39 1. Trace the references to convicts in Pip’s life. How have they influenced his life?

2. Discuss the second stage in Pip’s life and how it may be called one of sin or adolescence.

3. How does the realization that the convict and not Miss Havisham is his benefactor affect Pip and his expectations.

4. Dickens’ characterizations are well known. Describe the character of Estella and her impact upon the novel.

5. Discuss the character of the first convict. Describe his motivations and relate his story while in Australia.

Chapters 40 and 41 1. Discuss the effect of the mysterious man on the stairs.

2. Mr. Jaggers tells Pip that he has no evidence that Miss Havisham was his benefactor. What evidence or indications did Pip have to believe that she was the author of his great expectations.

3. Is it possible to separate oneself from the past? Discuss this theme in relation to Pip and the convict.

4. Discuss the convict’s purpose in making Pip a gentleman.

Chapters 42 and 43 1. How much influence does a person’s appearance have on others? Cite examples from the court trial of Compeyson and Provis.

2. Relate Provis’ story concerning his background. Would this knowledge explain why Provis is so intent on making Pip a gentleman?

3. Describe the relationship between Provis and Compeyson.

4. Compare how guilt affects Arthur and how it affects Compeyson.

Chapters 44 and 45 1. Describe the confrontation with Estella and Miss Havisham at Satis House.

2. Discuss the benefits of moving Provis to a room in the same rooming house as Herbert’s fiancee.

3. Discuss the friendship that exists between Wemmick and Pip.

Chapters 46 and 47 1. Explain how Pip’s attitude toward the convict has changed from first meeting him at the Temple.

2. Discuss the plans for helping Provis escape from London.

Chapters 48 and 49 1. Discuss the changes in Miss Havisham, and what has brought about these changes.

2. Relate Molly’s story and how her past is interwoven with Miss Havisham’s past even though they never meet.

3. Trace the changes that have taken place in Pip’s character since arriving in London.

Chapters 50 and 51 1. Relate Provis’ story of his past.

2. Discuss the prison and court system concerning children in nineteenth century London.

3. Research and describe the working conditions for children during the nineteenth century in London. Discuss the child labor laws and how they came about.

Chapters 52 and 53 1. Discuss in what ways Pip has changed since finding out that Provis is his benefactor and not Miss Havisham.

2. Describe Orlick’s plot to murder Pip.

3. Write a character sketch of Orlick and his part in this novel.

4. Discuss how Pip’s feelings for Provis have changed. Why has this happened?

Chapters 54 and 55 1. Describe the escape and capture of Magwitch.

2. Discuss how Dickens uses humor in these chapters.

3. Discuss how Mr. Jaggers is a central figure who ties all the other characters together.

Chapters 56 and 57 1. Research and discuss the court system in London during the nineteenth century.

2. Describe the last days between Pip and Magwitch.

3. Discuss the many ways that Magwitch has influenced and changed Pip’s life.

4. Explain why Joe becomes more distant as Pip becomes healthier.

Chapters 58 and 59 1. Describe the two endings of the novel. Which one do you prefer and why?

2. Discuss the idea or theme that money brings happiness. Cite examples from the novel to support your opinion.

3. How has guilt affected Pip’s life?

4. Explain why the love between Joe and Biddy is the only true love in the novel.


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