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

Download Download pdf 1 pdf 33 and Download pdf 2 pdf 34

Previously, in Great Expectations...

In the last issue, Pip visited Jaggers and Wemmick, completed his service to Herbert with Miss Havisham's funds, and disclosed what he knew of Estella's parentage. Jaggers advised him that the revelation of a such a secret would do no good to either mother, father, or child, and Pip agreed not to reveal what he had discovered. Receiving a note from Wemmick indicating that some time that week -- "or say Wednesday" -- would be a good time to conduct Magwitch abroad, Pip and Herbert arranged for the necessary excursion. Because of Pip's burned hands, they enlisted Startop's aid in rowing, and put everything in readiness. That evening, however, Pip received an anonymous note bidding him to come down to the sluice-house on the marshes near the forge. It demanded that he come, alone, for information concerning "your uncle Provis."

Alarmed, Pip kept the appointment at the sluice-house, and was surprised by Orlick, who seized and bound him. Having had a grudge against Pip (because of Pip's association with those who harassed him, like Mrs. Joe; because of his intervention about Orlick's position at Miss Havisham's; for his disposition to stymie Orlick's pursuit of Biddy; for his general prosperity; etc.), Orlick planned to kill Pip and burn the evidence up in the lime-kiln. Taunting Pip, it came out that Orlick had been the one who attacked Mrs. Joe, with a leg-iron he'd found on the marshes; and it was Orlick that Pip had stumbled over on the stairs the night Magwitch appeared. These disclosures made, Orlick moved to finish Pip off -- but Pip cried out, and Herbert rushed in to the rescue! Having found Orlick's note (which Pip had dropped in his chambers), Herbert had followed Pip to the sluice-house, with the support of Startop and a local boy who had acted as their guide. Orlick escaped into the night, but the others -- safe now -- returned to London. Magwitch must still be saved the next day.


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