Discovering Dickens - A Community Reading Project

Community Reading Project

Charles Dickens

Great Expectations

Historical Context



<i>Great Expectations</i>

Issue 5, Chaper 14-17
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, we saw Pip return to Miss Havisham's, and were introduced to her poorer relations -- Sarah Pocket, Cousin Raymond, and Miss Camilla -- as well as to a strange gentleman Pip passed coming out of Miss Havisham's chambers. This time, Miss Havisham asked Pip to help her walk around a room where a decaying, spider-infested bride cake stood on the table. Afterwards, Pip was sent outside, as before, but this time found a "pale young gentleman" in Miss Havisham's ruined garden. The pale young gentleman invited him to fight, and Pip -- agreeing -- knocked him down several times; yet they parted amicably. Estella let Pip out at the gate as before, but -- evidently excited by the fight -- allowed him to kiss her.

Pip's visits to Miss Havisham continued for some time, and she eventually inquired after his future prospects. He informed her that he was to be apprenticed to Joe, and she asked to see the blacksmith. When Joe presented himself, Miss Havisham told him that Pip had earned a premium with her, and gave him a sum sufficient to buy Pip's apprenticeship (which Joe would otherwise have waved). Thus, legally apprenticed to Joe, Joe became Pip's master. The boy's visits to Miss Havisham were, thereafter, to cease.


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