Discovering Dickens - A Community Reading Project
 

Discovering Dickens

Community Reading Project

Charles Dickens

Great Expectations

Historical Context

 

 

<i>Great Expectations</i>

Issue 1, Chaper 1-4
Notes on the Novel
• Maps and Illustrations
• Key to Allusions
• Glossary of Historical Things and Conditions

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Previously, in Great Expectations...

In the last issue, Pip went to Miss Havisham's for the first time, and we were introduced to Miss Havisham and Estella. Miss Havisham is an eccentric old lady, who lives in a darkened house; all of her clocks have been stopped at twenty minutes to nine, and she wears a yellowed wedding dress. Estella, Miss Havisham's ward, is a beautiful but haughty girl, who makes Pip aware of his "commonness" -- his thick boots and coarse hands. Directed to play at cards for Miss Havisham, Estella mocked Pip for calling the knaves "Jacks." Afterwards, she gave him something to eat, and he wandered around Miss Havisham's ruined premises. Unhappy and frightened, he thought he saw Miss Havisham hanging from the neck in the brewery adjacent to the house. When Estella let him out at the gate, she taunted him for crying.

Also in the last issue, Pip went to meet Joe one evening at the Three Jolly Bargemen (the local pub), and found Joe and Mr. Wopsle engaged in conversation with a stranger. Catching Pip's eye, the stranger stirred his drink with a file -- which Pip immediately recognized as the file he had once stolen from the forge. The stranger, apparently taking an interest in Pip, gave him a shilling wrapped in dirty paper -- but the dirty paper turned out to be two one-pound notes!

 

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