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, we became acquainted with Pip's "great expectations." In the fourth year of Pip's apprenticeship, he and Joe encountered a stranger at the Three Jolly Bargemen -- Mr. Jaggers, a London attorney. Pip recognized him as the strange gentleman he had once seen leaving Miss Havisham's chambers. Mr. Jaggers informed Pip and Joe of Pip's "expectations," and proposed that Pip should move to London. As Mr. Jagger's ward, he would be privately tutored and fitted up as a gentleman.

The news of Pip's "expectations" had, of course, a profound effect on everyone. Pip was suddenly someone whose favor was to be curried; Pumblechook suggested that he himself had been Pip's earliest benefactor (and thus the original source of Pip's good fortune); Mrs. Joe didn't seem to understand, but repeated "Pip" and "property"; and Pip quarreled slightly with Biddy (he suggested that it was a pity Joe was still illiterate, now that his adopted son was to be a gentleman, but Biddy thought Joe might be happy as he was). In the end, they said an affectionate goodbye, and Joe bid him farewell with a "Hooroar!", casting an old shoe after him for luck.


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