Discovering Dickens - A Community Reading Project

Discovering Dickens

Community Reading Project

Charles Dickens

Great Expectations

Historical Context



<i>Great Expectations</i>

Notes on the Novel
• Maps and Illustrations
• Key to Allusions
• Glossary of Historical Things and Conditions

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Previously, in Great Expectations...

Last time, a number of significant changes took place in Pip's life: Pip's sister died, and he went home for the funeral -- they had never found out who attacked her. Biddy planned to become a schoolmistress; Orlick, having lost his position at Miss Havisham's (through Pip's intervention with Mr. Jaggers), had gone to work at the quarries; Joe would be alone.

Coming of age, Pip felt sure that his benefactor would be revealed; however, though Jaggers informed Pip that he was henceforth to have 500l. per annum, he gave no information about the source of that income. Pip thought that Miss Havisham, "for some reason or no reason," did not yet feel like taking him into her confidence regarding her plans for him -- which he hoped should include Estella. Drawing his money from Wemmick, he asked the clerk's opinion about doing a favor for a friend (he and Herbert have been getting into debt, and Herbert lacks Pip's expectations), but Wemmick advised him, in his professional capacity, that such a service would be worse than throwing the money off a bridge. Thinking that Wemmick's "Walworth sentiments" might differ, Pip joined Wemmick, the Aged Parent, and a Miss Skiffins -- whom Wemmick showed signs of courting -- for tea. In his private and personal capacity, Wemmick arranged to help Herbert acquire capital on the basis of Pip's expectations. Herbert soon came home from "looking about him" and reported his discovery of a man named Clarriker -- a young merchant -- who had shown an interest in him. Herbert soon afterwards entered into business with Clarriker.


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