Pip feels a mixture of revulsion for the convict and fear for the convict’s safety. Apparently, someone followed the convict the night he arrived at Pip’s apartment and later Pip stumbles over someone hiding in the dark at the bottom of his apartment stairs. While the convict has come to England to see Pip and enjoy flaunting the gentleman he has made, Pip tells him he is in danger and that they need to lay low. The convict tells Pip his name is Abel Magwitch and that he is using the name “Provis” for this trip. He suggests that Pip tell everyone he is Pip’s uncle.
Pip visits Jaggers to seek advice. Jaggers is careful to prevent Pip from saying that “Magwitch” is in England so they cannot be accused of breaking the law. He also confirms that Miss Havisham is not Pip’s benefactor. All business, the lawyer tells Pip he will forward all accounts and balances due, so that Pip may communicate this information to this “Provis” person, or by mail to Magwitch in New South Wales.
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Pip secures an apartment nearby for Magwitch and orders some clothes for a disguise. However no matter what Magwitch puts on, he has “convict” written all over him.
Pip is thrilled when Herbert returns. The convict swears Herbert to secrecy and it is obvious from Herbert’s face that he shares Pip’s feelings. Later, when the convict has gone to his lodging, Pip and Herbert discuss what to do. They agree Pip can no longer accept the man’s money, and that Pip must get him out of England as soon as possible. In the course of making plans, they learn from Magwitch that he was abandoned early in childhood and barely survived. He tells them about his involvement in crime but assures them he has paid his debt to society and will not be “low.
He mentions working with two men, Arthur and Compeyson, the latter having swindled some money years before from some rich lady. Compeyson and Magwitch eventually ended up on the same prison ship but Compeyson got off easy being a gentleman. Magwitch, on the other hand, was sentenced to life, and then banished. Herbert tells Pip that Miss Havisham’s brother’s name was Arthur and Compeyson was the man who left her at the altar. Analysis Wemmick and Jaggers display their careful habit of staying just within the law by referring to Provis as an agent of Magwitch, who they are “sure” is in Australia.
They are careful in all their statements so that no one can trace them to the knowledge that Magwitch is in England illegally. Ominous events are foreshadowed when Pip suspects that Magwitch has been followed to his apartment and that someone is now watching them. Magwitch’s motives are a mixture of good and bad; part reward, part revenge. He is obviously grateful for Pip’s help years ago and is generously rewarding him with an easy life. Even his manner of holding Pip’s hands is much more honest and heartfelt than Pumblechook’s “May I?
However Magwitch can be “low” as well. He wants to show society that a low dog like him can make a fine gentleman. By showing Pip off to the world he gets revenge for how the world treated him. Pip’s and Herbert’s reactions to Magwitch’s money are interesting and somewhat snobbish. Pip is essentially dependent, living off of someone else’s money. Whose money it is should not make any difference — he is dependent no matter what. But even though the money is honestly earned, Pip cannot bring himself to accept the convict’s gift.
In one respect it is a good decision because finally Pip is deciding to fend for himself and to care for another out of higher motives than money. But at the same time, refusing the gift solely because of who gives it is sheer snobbery. Dickens continues to show his skills in the descriptive scenes of Magwitch’s eating habits, and the use of the face casts in Jaggers’ office to reflect Pip’s thoughts and feelings. Summary 43-45 Pip visits Estella and Miss Havisham one last time before leaving to get Magwitch out of the country.
He meets Drummle at the Blue Boar, and is angered by Drummle’s boasting that he is having dinner with Estella. Pip is received with surprise at Satis House and he gets right to the point. Telling them he knows his benefactor and that it will do him no good in enriching his station, reputation, or wealth, he admonishes Miss Havisham for hurting him by leading him to believe she was the source of his expectations. While he was treated fairly with the apprenticeship he knows he served her purpose in antagonizing her toady relatives. She flashes an angry response telling him he made his own snare, but continues to listen.
Pip tells her how honorable Herbert and Matthew Pocket have been in contrast to the other relatives. Explaining that he can no longer accept his inheritance he would appreciate Miss Havisham providing the rest of the payment for Herbert’s business and to keep this a secret. Pip then tells Estella that he knows he will never have her and does not blame Miss Havisham, as he does not believe she realized what she was doing. When Estella tells him she is going to marry Drummle, Pip passionately pleads with her to marry anyone else, at least someone worthy of her.
Estella is unmoved, but Miss Havisham’s distraught face is suddenly filled with shock, pity, and remorse. Pip leaves and decides to walk back to London. Reaching the Temple about midnight, he is given a note from Wemmick telling him not to go home. He spends a sleepless night at Hummums in Covent Garden, where a bed is always available to travelers. Early in the morning he heads for Wemmick’s house. The clerk tells him that an unnamed person is in danger and being watched. He tells Pip that he and Herbert moved that certain person to the house where Herbert’s fiancee boards.
He advises Pip to use the big city to lay low until things quiet down, and then get the person out of town. Telling Pip to make tonight Pip’s only visit there, he advises Pip to get hold of the portable property tonight. Pip succeeds in pushing the Walworth Wemmick a bit further to confirm that Compeyson is still alive and living in London. Analysis Dickens has some fun with his characters when he has Drummle and Pip acting like two children vying for power in front of the Blue Boar’s fireplace. He also foreshadows the type of death Drummle will have by showing his brutal treatment of his horse in this chapter.
The element of portraying emotions through an object shows up in these chapters through Dickens’ description of the bed Pip gets at Hummums as a despotic monster that squeezes all the other furniture in the room. Orlick surfaces again as the man who lights Drummle’s cigar outside the inn. While not mentioned specifically, the slouching shoulders and ragged hair point to Orlick and give the feeling that Pip is surrounded by evil that is closing in on him. This feeling is compounded by the note Wemmick leaves at the Temple warning Pip not to go home, and Wemmick’s later telling Pip he and Magwitch are being watched. Wemmick, utilizing his knowledge of criminal elements and his law clerk talents for detail, manages to hide Magwitch and instructs Pip and Herbert how to keep the man hidden and plot his escape. Wemmick thinks of everything right down to leaving notes for Pip at all gates of the Temple and then returning to retrieve the extras. He understands about leaving no trails of incriminating evidence. Portable property is emphasized again when Wemmick tells Pip to get his hands on it. He is frank in saying they do not know what will happen to Magwitch.
It is interesting that for all his effort to keep his two lives separate, Wemmick is mixing both places together more than he ever has, to save Magwitch. He conveys London information at Walworth, and acts, motivated by his Walworth kindness, when in London. Miss Havisham’s transformation has started. She shows fierce anger when Pip points out how she has hurt him, her first open expression of a charged emotion. But as she listens to his impassioned pleas to Estella, sees his willingness to even give up Estella as long as she is happy, Miss Havisham is filled with pity and remorse.
Pip’s directness to both Miss Havisham and Estella in stating his feelings and insights are a change as well. Instead of being a passive victim, he is calling things as he sees them and demanding certain actions. The secrecy theme continues when Pip asks Miss Havisham to take over helping Herbert and to keep it between the two of them. Estella shows some interesting insight regarding her choice of Drummle as a husband. She observes to Pip that she cannot give herself to a man who would recognize she has nothing to offer him in the way of love, and assures Pip she will not be a blessing to Drummle.
It is a negative thing either way, though: Either she is in power and Drummle will suffer or Drummle will rule and she will feel the pain. In either event, someone will get hurt. Summary 46-48 After spending the day resting at Wemmick’s house, Pip heads out to see Magwitch. He meets Clara, Herbert’s fiancee, and her father, Mr. Barley, an alcoholic retired ship’s purser who is close to death. Magwitch, under the name of Campbell, occupies two bright and airy rooms at the top of the house. Pip notices that he seems much “softer” now, a change Pip cannot figure out.
Magwitch, Pip, and Herbert discuss what to do. It is agreed that Magwitch remain there in hiding. When the time is right, Pip and Magwitch will go abroad. Herbert suggests that he and Pip get a boat and start rowing on the river to establish that as part of their routine. Then they can get Magwitch on board a ship without involving anyone else. Magwitch will signal from the window with the blinds when he sees them, to let them know he is well. As the weeks wear on and there is no word from Wemmick about when to leave, Pip’s affairs start to get dire. He sells some of his jewelry to pay his bills.
To kill some time, Pip goes to the theater one evening to see Mr. Wopsle’s latest theatrical failure. He notices Wopsle staring intently at him during one scene and later learns that Wopsle was staring at the man right behind him. He is the same man Pip and Wopsle saw fighting with Pip’s convict on the marshes years ago. Realizing the man is Compeyson, Pip knows he is being followed and sends a note to Wemmick at Walworth. About a week later, Jaggers invites Pip to dine with Wemmick and him. Jaggers has a note for Pip from Miss Havisham, and through very dry hints from Wemmick, Pip understands to see her tomorrow.
Jaggers notes that the Spider has won the pool, meaning Drummle has married Estella, and observes that the winner of the power play between the two has yet to be decided. He observes that a man like Drummle either beats or cringes, and toasts to the success of Mrs. Bentley Drummle. Molly comes in at that moment and some action of her fingers suddenly trips a memory in Pip of Estella’s fingers when she was knitting. He realizes that Molly is Estella’s mother. On the way home, Wemmick tells Pip how Molly was on trial years ago for murdering an older, stronger woman who was allegedly having an affair with Molly’s husband.
Jaggers was her lawyer, and this case is the one that actually made him successful. He artfully dressed her to look weaker than she was, made no comment about her strong hands, and proved the scratches on her hands were from bramble bushes not a struggle. Also it was said Molly murdered her child to get even with her husband, but Jaggers was able to sway the jury away from that opinion. Molly has worked for Jaggers ever since. Analysis Dickens often cast the children in his stories as orphans, perhaps due to the abandonment he felt as a child.
That trend continues in this book with Pip who is an orphan, and Estella, Clara, and Herbert who have living parents that are either unknown or useless to them. The foreshadowing of evil continues when Pip detects that Compeyson is following him. Other elements that repeat in these chapters are the “emotional” face casts in Jaggers’ office; Jaggers’ handwashing, letter-writing, candle-snuffing, and safe-locking routines; the spider metaphor with Drummle (nicknamed “the spider”) winning Estella; and the twin Wemmick’s and his post-office mouth.
New elements are the pieces of Molly’s story falling into place and Pip’s realization that she is Estella’s mother. Jaggers’ comment about the power struggle between Drummle and Estella, and his prophetic mention of Drummle beating or cringing, foreshadows the outcome of that struggle. Summary 49-51 In response to Miss Havisham’s note, Pip visits her the next day, and though she has caused him much pain, he feels compassion for her in her loneliness. Feeling tremendously guilty for the harm she has caused, she agrees to help Herbert and asks if she can do anything for him (Pip).
Pip thanks her but tells her that he is fine. She gives him a note that authorizes Jaggers to give Pip money for Herbert, and then hands him a pad and asks him to at some point, if he can ever forgive her, write down “I forgive her. ” Unwilling to judge her and filled with shame over his own mistakes, Pip responds that he can do it now. Miss Havisham drops to her knees crying out “What have I done! ” She admits that Pip pointed out her mistake, and that her only intent when she adopted Estella was to save her from the same hurts. She now realizes she stole the girl’s heart and put ice in its place.
Pip asks Miss Havisham if she knows who Estella’s mother was, but she only knows that Jaggers brought the girl to her. Before he leaves, Pip walks around the grounds and the brewery where as a child he had the vision of Miss Havisham hanging from the beam. Uncomfortable with the memory, Pip goes back upstairs to check on her and discovers her dress has caught on fire. He saves her from the fire, but his arms are badly burned and she is seriously hurt herself. Through the night the woman mutters over and over in the same order: “What have I done!
When she first came, I meant to save her from misery like mine. Take the pencil and write under my name, I forgive her! ” Pip returns to the Temple and Herbert cares for his wounds. Herbert tells Pip how much Magwitch has “improved,” and about Magwitch’s wife. When Herbert relates that she killed another woman and their child in a jealous rage, Pip tells Herbert that Magwitch must be Estella’s father. Herbert added that Magwitch went into hiding to avoid having to testify against her at her trial. Compeyson blackmailed Magwitch with this information, getting him deeper into crime.
Pip visits Jaggers the next day and is received with more kindness than is usually seen in the office. After resolving the issue of money for Herbert, Pip tells them he knows who Estella’s parents are and proceeds to state his findings. Jaggers is surprised but recovers quickly and tries to change the subject back to business. Pip will not be put off this time and indicating his knowledge of Wemmick’s emotional side, appeals to both Jaggers and Wemmick to tell him the truth. Jaggers is surprised to hear about the Aged and Wemmick’s playful ways, and Wemmick points out that Jaggers is an imposter where emotions are concerned.
Jaggers, acknowledging his own former “poor dreams,” relents, but agrees to only tell a “theoretical” story. He tells of a woman in need of legal help who confides in her attorney that her child is really alive, the father does not know this, and that she is guilty of the crime. The attorney, charged with finding a girl to adopt for a rich woman, and knowing the horrors of what happens to children in the legal system, places the child with the rich woman. Here is one child saved regardless of what happens to the mother. The lawyer does his best and saves the woman, but the emotions of it all affect her mind.
She is unable to cope with the world. The lawyer takes the theoretical woman in and continues to keep her in line with his power whenever the old, wild ways come out. Stopping, Jaggers then asks Pip if anyone will benefit from knowing this theoretical story. Pip agrees to keep the secret. The episode has upset the unemotional balance between Wemmick and Jaggers who now view each other uncomfortably. The status quo is restored shortly when both of the men rage at a whiny client and tell him that no emotions are allowed in the office. Analysis
Miss Havisham is suffering, the victim of her lifetime of hatred and vengeance. She has grown through pain to remorse and now desires to make amends. She willingly helps Herbert and offers as much to Pip. The fantasy element about her hanging from the beam is resolved here. Pip, thinking back to that image, goes back inside in time to rescue her from the flames. Pip is showing reversals here too. He not only refuses any more of Magwitch’s money, but he refuses any aid from Miss Havisham. Whatever happens now will be of his own making, a sure sign of growth.
He has completed his efforts for Herbert, the only good thing he feels he has done with his money, and gives Miss Havisham the forgiveness she craves. He can do this having seen the hurts he has caused through his own sins in life. He is more in charge of his life now, standing up to Miss Havisham and speaking his mind. His love for Estella is more real and unselfish — he tries to stop her marriage to Drummle by telling her he can bear her marrying anybody else as long as the man loves her. He also displays emotional honesty and passion when demanding the full story of Estella’s life from Jaggers and Wemmick.
Pip and Herbert have both grown out of some of their snobbery when they notice that Magwitch has “changed and softened. ” It is actually their perspective on the man that has changed. There is a moment of truth in Jaggers’ office when Pip begs for the whole story of Estella. When Pip speaks of his poor dreams of love that are now dashed, Jaggers responds in a way that shows he once knew this feeling as well. Wemmick, whose emotional side has surprised Jaggers, boldly calls his boss an emotional imposter and suggests that his boss would like a nice home life, too.
Jaggers’ theoretical story to Pip reveals that he is a deeply caring man who did his best to save a mother and child. However, this level of emotional intensity brings an unstable atmosphere in the law office — both men are relieved to return to the status quo when they scream at a whiny client to bring no emotions to their office. Both men are upset with Pip for passing up Miss Havisham’s offer of financial assistance (portable property). They are both realists and genuinely care about Pip’s future. Jaggers, the man who knows everyone’s secrets, is for one rare moment thrown off guard when Pip tells him Magwitch is Estella’s father.
It is a secret even he did not know. Summary 52-54 A number of story lines are drawing to a close: Pip completes the transaction with Clarriker for Herbert’s business, Herbert will be leaving soon for Egypt, and Pip’s life as a wealthy man is over. It is also time to get Magwitch out of England. Receiving a note from Wemmick, they are to make their move Wednesday. Startop, Pip’s friend from Mr. Pocket’s house, is included because Pip still cannot row due to his burns and Startop is a loyal friend. The plan is to leave early Wednesday and row downriver to pick up Magwitch.
They will continue past the Custom’s House to Kent and stay at an inn there overnight. Thursday morning they will meet an ocean-going steamer on the river and get Pip and Magwitch aboard. Herbert leaves to get departure schedules for the various steamers, while Pip gets passports. While Herbert visits Magwitch to tell him the plan, Pip returns home to find a note asking him to come alone, that night or the next, to the sluice-house on the marshes, for important information about his Uncle Provis. Because of the mention of Provis, Pip decides he must go and barely catches the afternoon coach home.
He ponders the wisdom of his decision, but feels he must see it through for Magwitch’s safety. He orders dinner at a small inn and checks on Miss Havisham while waiting. During dinner the innkeeper tells him about Pumblechook helping some young man become wealthy. Filled with guilt and remorse Pip cannot eat, as the story only strengthens the contrast between Pumblechook’s arrogance and Joe and Biddy’s true friendship. As it is close to nine, he heads for the marshes and the sluice-house. The flats are abandoned and lonely but there is a light in the sluice-house.
He sees no one, but is caught from behind and tied to a ladder inside. His captor is a drunken Orlick, who intends to kill him and put his body in the limekiln so no one will ever find him. As he toys with Pip’s nerves, Orlick confesses to killing Mrs. Joe and hiding on the stairs at Pip’s London flat. He is now working with someone who knows all about Magwitch and is very powerful. Pip guesses it is Compeyson. Orlick waves the same gun with the brass-bound stock that he had at Miss Havisham’s. Orlick reminds Pip that Pip cost him that job and Biddy, as well.
Pip’s life flashes before him and Pip realizes he will never have the chance to apologize to Joe and Biddy. He looks for a way to escape but sees none. At the last minute, Pip is rescued by Herbert, Startop, and Trabb’s boy. Orlick escapes. Herbert explains that they had found the note to Pip from Orlick so they rushed to Kent. Unable to find him, they encountered Trabb’s boy, who served as their guide. Rushing back to London, they prepare for Wednesday’s departure. On Wednesday, all goes well until that night, when they feel they are being followed.
The next day, the group heads into the river just as a steamer approaches, but they are intercepted by a boat of customs’ agents. They arrest Magwitch, and one of the sitters in the boat turns out to be Compeyson. Unaware of the approaching steamer that is about to run them over, the two convicts struggle and one of the boats capsizes. In a matter of moments Compeyson is drowned and a seriously injured Magwitch is pulled on board the galley. The steamer heads out to sea taking all hope of escape with it. Herbert and Startop return to London while Pip stays with Magwitch.
Any repugnance Pip felt for the man is gone now and he realizes that Magwitch has been a better man to him than Pip has been to Joe. Magwitch wants Pip to leave and save himself, but Pip vows to stay by his side. Pip realizes now why Wemmick wanted him to hold the wallet — with Magwitch arrested, all of the money will be forfeited to the crown. Pip decides there is no need for Magwitch to ever know the truth about that. Analysis Pip shows a great deal of personal growth and caring now. He, Herbert, and Startop risk their lives to help Magwitch, and Pip’s trip to the marshes, while not smart, was motivated by a concern for Magwitch’s safety.
He stays by the convict after they are caught instead of trying to “separate himself” from the stain of the criminal element, which used to disturb him so much before. Pip is also seeing reality, recognizing Magwitch’s decency and his own failings. Pip also knows the money is gone and he will have to face the reality of survival soon. However, he keeps this from the seriously ill Magwitch, preferring instead to let the convict die with his dream. Pip’s guilt is strong when the innkeeper tells him about Pumblechook’s bragging, which seems all the worse when compared with Joe’s honor.
Magwitch’s calmness during the escape is worth noting. He foreshadows the danger and the outcome when he speaks of not being able to see to the end of the next few hours any more than he can see the bottom of the river. Plagued by danger all his life, he has a healthy respect for it and is not afraid to confront it. However, he maintains his calm, feeling he will deal with danger if it comes and not before. Magwitch is softened in Pip’s eyes — mostly a change in Pip’s perceptions, but also because the convict has had a chance to do something in life that turned out well.
He was given a chance to redeem himself and he has. Happy to have seen his gentleman, he is at peace now, however his life turns out. His struggle is over. Summary 55-57 Compeyson was supposed to identify Magwitch for the authorities, but because he drowned, the prosecution is delayed three days while they send for one of the old guards from the Hulks to identify him. Jaggers is angry with Pip for letting the money slip through his fingers and says they will try for some of it, though there is little hope of success.
Herbert finds out he must leave for Cairo immediately and while Pip is happy for his friend, he fears for his own future. Herbert offers him a job with his firm but Pip delays his answer. For now, he must take care of Magwitch and one other unfinished piece of business. Wemmick, in his “personal capacity” even though in London, comes by to apologize to Pip for the bad timing of the escape. He also comments on his severe upset over the loss of so much portable property. Pip tells him his concern is for the owner of that property, but Wemmick points out that there probably never was a chance to save Magwitch.
Fearing Magwitch, Compeyson had been watching him even in Australia and had hoped to gain some of Magwitch’s money as a reward for betraying him. During the conversation, Wemmick tells Pip he is taking a rare holiday on Monday and asks Pip to oblige him this once with his presence. Out of gratitude for all his help, Pip agrees. When Pip arrives, Wemmick carries a fishing pole and pretends they are going for a walk. Their walk just happens to end at a church where everything is ready for a wedding, and he just happens to have a ring. Pip serves his friend as best man in his marriage to Miss Skiffins.
Later, as Pip leaves, Wemmick reminds him that this is completely a Walworth sentiment, not to be mentioned in Little Britain because Jaggers may think Wemmick’s brain is softening. Pip spends all his time with Magwitch, who continues to worsen. Magwitch reflects on whether he might have lived a better life under better circumstances, but he makes no excuses. His trial is quick and he is condemned to die. Magwitch thanks Pip for his steadfastness in visiting and notes that Pip is more comfortable with him now that he is in trouble than when he was free.
As Magwitch dies, Pip whispers to him that his daughter whom he thought was dead, is, in fact, alive and a lady, and that Pip loves her. Magwitch smiles and dies in peace. Pip’s problems worsen as he is in debt and quite ill. Men come to arrest him for a debt but Pip is so ill he cannot be moved. He falls into a delirious state and imagines that Joe is there with him. When he finally he comes out of the fever he realizes Joe has been there all along, urged by Biddy to go to him right away. Pip is overwhelmed and asks Joe to be angry with him or hit him, just not to be good to him.
While there Pip sees that Joe has learned to write — Biddy taught him — and hears that Miss Havisham has died, leaving a “cool four thousand” to Matthew Pocket because of Pip’s account of him. He also learns that Orlick was arrested after breaking into Pumblechook’s house. Pip tries to tell Joe about Magwitch, intending to tell him the whole truth. Joe cuts him off, instead speaking to his own failings at protecting Pip when Pip was a boy. When Pip says Joe was not wrong, Joe tells him that, regarding the convict, they have nothing to discuss, either.
Joe nurses him to health and loves him unconditionally but as Pip recovers Joe pulls back and resumes calling him “Sir. ” Pip is upset but realizes Joe does not know it is different this time. Intending to level with Joe about his debts, his guilt over treating Joe so badly, and his interest in asking Biddy to marry him, Pip gets up early the next day to find Joe already gone. There is a receipt showing Joe paid off Pip’s debt. A couple days later, Pip heads home to talk to Joe and Biddy. Analysis Pip has softened much himself by this point in the novel.
He has given up his snobbish attempt to distance himself from the criminal stain and is genuinely caring to Magwitch, whom Pip has come to realize is a better man than he is. He does this from his heart, not for financial gain, and even Magwitch notices that Pip is more comfortable with him now as a condemned man than as a free one. Some literary analysts feel that Pip felt free to love Magwitch only because he knew the man was dying and that if Magwitch lived, Pip would not have been able to sustain that emotion. However, Pip’s concern appears genuine and he does offer great comfort to the dying man by staying by his side.
Abandoned his whole life, Magwitch treasures Pip’s loyalty as he dies. Pip is overwhelmed with emotion during his own illness. After everything Pip has done to hurt them both, Joe has come to nurse him and Biddy sent him. Joe and Pip are able to talk about some long-standing issues between them, such as Joe’s guilt over not protecting Pip more as a child, and Pip’s guilt over lying to him about the convict on the marshes. Joe makes it all a non-issue when he points out that if Pip forgives his failure, he sees no failure on Pip’s part.
Maybe a more full and open discussion would have been a better choice, but Joe waves away people’s failures and focuses on the present. Joe also points out that Pip’s good word to Miss Havisham got Matthew Pocket a lot of money. There is also a change in Joe, who has learned to write and takes pride in it. In the past, he avoided learning but has come to accept it as a good idea. Pip was never wrong in wanting Joe to learn — education is not a bad thing — but Pip was wrong in why he wanted Joe to learn. As Pip gets better, Joe assumes that the old snobbish status quo will return, so he leaves.
This time, though, things are different. Pip is different. Not only does he have an honorable intention, he follows it with an honorable action and he does it in person, not long distance or through another. He goes home to make amends with Joe and to ask Biddy to marry him. Dickens infuses some humor as he ties up loose ends. Wemmick’s wedding is a classic piece because of Wemmick’s acting as if the whole thing is a surprise. Wemmick’s compliment for his bride that she is such a manager of fowls is humorously unromantic but full of love and admiration and very characteristic of Wemmick.
Miss Havisham’s leaving Sarah Pocket enough money for pills for being bilious, and Camilla enough to buy lights for when she sits up at night “worrying” about everyone, humorously answers what happens to the toady relatives. Even Orlick’s arrest has its humor when Dickens makes fun of Pumblechook one last time: “they took his till, and they took his cash-box, and they drinked his wine, and they partook of his wittles . . . and they stuffed his mouth full of flowering annuals. ” This is probably the only time in the whole book that Pumblechook is quiet. Summary 58-59
On his return home, Pip meets Pumblechook who magnanimously “forgives” Pip for his ingratitude, and Joe, for his stupidity. Pip acidly tells the man that his benefactor is not in the room. Walking toward the forge, Pip is worried because it is closed. He is then overwhelmed to find out Joe and Biddy have just been married. Pip is relieved he never told Joe that he himself had wanted to propose to Biddy. Joe and Biddy are thrilled to see him. Pip apologizes to them and tells them he is going to join Herbert in Egypt. He promises to repay them and asks that they remember him kindly.
In Egypt, Pip lives with Herbert and Clara, pays off his debts, and leads a frugal life. He honors his promise to pay Joe back and writes frequent letters to Joe and Biddy. Pip eventually becomes a third partner in the firm, at which point Clarriker tells Herbert how Pip secretly got him started in the business. Pip acknowledges to himself that the firm’s success is due in large part to Herbert’s talents, and he realizes his initial assessment of Herbert as inept was more likely the ineptness in himself. Eleven years later, Pip returns to the forge to visit Joe, Biddy, their daughter, and young son, Pip.
He offers to borrow Pip but Biddy gently tells him he must marry. Pip acknowledges that even Herbert and Clara tell him this, but he indicates he is an old bachelor and content in his ways. Biddy asks if he still longs for Estella. Before nightfall, Pip walks to the site of Satis House, and wandering the grounds, comes across a solitary figure in the shadows — Estella. She has changed, time and trouble softening the proud eyes. Estella tells Pip she has thought of him much lately, though for a long time she could not because it hurt to think of what she threw away. They rise to part and Estella asks if he will think of her as a friend.
Pip tells her they are friends and observes to himself that he saw “the shadow of no parting from her. ” Analysis Pip has finally accepted responsibility for his sins, debts, and life. He is frugal, remembers to write Joe and Biddy, and pays his debts. His maturity is evident when, instead of being upset that Joe beat him to marrying Biddy, he feels relief that he never mentioned his own wish to do the same. He also looks at others in a new light, acknowledging that the firm’s success is due to Herbert’s talents and that his original opinion of Herbert’s ineptness was really his own ineptness showing.
The secret of Pip setting Herbert up in business is revealed, leaving only one secret left at the end of the story that Pip holds in his heart — Estella’s parentage. Dickens never does say whether the final secret of Estella’s parentage is ever revealed. Most likely, Pip takes it to his grave. Dickens provided two endings to this story. The original ending had Estella remarried to a Shropshire doctor, meeting Pip once in London and exchanging pleasantries, and then each going their separate ways. Dickens’ own life had a precedent for this when he met his first love, Maria Beadnell, many years later in his life.
By then she was very fat and his image of her was crushed. Certainly here Dickens has Estella losing some of her beauty and wearied a bit by life. But overall he treats Estella kindly. Dickens, instead, took the advice of a novelist friend and changed the ending to give Pip, Estella, and the readers a chance for a happy conclusion. However, the ending is ambiguous and no one is certain if the “shadow of no parting” means they stay together or not. Pip has low self-esteem. He is not valued and does not value himself.
He feels guilty for his very existence, thanks to his sister who constantly reminds him how she has suffered because of him. Other relatives and friends reinforce his feelings by telling him how grateful he should be. His only positive in life is Joe, and Pip looks forward to being his apprentice in the forge. Miss Havisham and Estella, however, destroy that dream when they teach him to be ashamed of his coarse and common life. Their influence, coupled with his low self-worth and his sister’s messages about wealth and security, fuel his desires, ambitions, and snobbery.
Pip, abused by his sister, is a passive personality who fears the stronger emotions in him. He rarely shows power, passion, or self-determination, reacting instead to those around him and living his life as a dreamer. The fantasy world of Satis House feeds that part of him. Shut from the light of day, Miss Havisham lives in her strange world. Pip responds to this and preserves that world by keeping the light of day — questions his sister and Pumblechook ask — from destroying its special fairy-tale quality. That world is something that is his, and it holds his only passion in life, the fairy-tale princess he desires, Estella.
In that world there are things he has never seen — beauty, wealth, polish, power — and they dazzle him. They become his quest in life and he will give up everything — Joe, the forge, his own good conscience and behavior — to get money and Estella. In Pip, the reader sees several of the themes of the novel: obsession, desire, greed, guilt, ambition, wealth, and good and evil. Pip leaves his state of childish innocence and “grace” and descends into sin on his quest to gain his desires. He wants it all and he wants no costs. Yet Dickens does not make him totally bad, instead leaving the truly good qualities asleep underneath.
They surface as his guilt over his snobbery to Joe and Biddy, over dragging Herbert into debt, and about trading Joe for a convict’s money. Even during his worst moments, Pip manages to show some good, as, for example, when he sets Herbert up in business. His road back to grace starts when Magwitch reveals himself as the source of Pip’s rise in social stature. The irony that the source of his gentility is from a creature more socially detestable than the uneducated Joe is not lost on Pip. It is the slap in the face that brings Pip out of the fantasy world he has been living in.
His dream has suddenly been seen in the light of day, and now he knows what it has cost him. The concepts of self-responsibility and the cost for choices made make up his lessons in the last part of the book. Nothing in life comes free and one must accept the consequences of the choices made. Dickens generously gives Pip four “father figures” in the book to model this for him. Joe makes his choice to stay with Mrs. Joe and show her more love than his mother had, fully accepting the cost of enduring her abuse. Jaggers chooses control and an emotionless life and accepts the cost of loneliness and alienation.
Wemmick knows the only way to support himself, his father, and their home is to endure an emotionless job that could drive him crazy if he let it; he accepts responsibility by keeping his work and home life separate and knowingly accepts and pays the price for his actions. Magwitch knows the cost for seeing his “dear boy” is death, makes his choice to go to England anyway, and accepts the outcome. Pip learns from all of them that there are no free rides, that wealth does not guarantee freedom from consequences, and in the end he has to take responsibility for whatever he chooses.
He is the closest thing in the story to a totally good character. Hard working, honorable, loyal, and fair, he is equally comfortable showing both his raw, physical strength and his gentle, patient, emotional side. He is compassionate to the convict who stole his food, as well as to the memory of his alcoholic, abusive father. He recognizes Mrs. Joe’s strengths, remembers her better times, and wants to protect her from the suffering that his mother endured with his father. In him, there is deep intuitive wisdom, inner peace and acceptance, dignity, and a basic sense of what is right and what will cause heartache.
Even when treated poorly by Pip, he shows unconditional love and comes to Pip’s aid when needed. His function in the story is to love Pip, be a father to him, and show him the path to dignified manhood. Dickens keeps him from being a sickeningly sweet person by giving him the flaws of no education, no polish, and failing to better protect Pip from his sister when Pip was a child. Yet, to his credit, Joe himself expresses his realization of that and does what he exemplifies best. He takes responsibility for himself and consciously chooses his actions. He is not ruled by passion or illusion.