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, Pip arrived in London, and went to Mr. Jaggers' office to await the instructions of his guardian. He met Mr. Jaggers' clerk, Wemmick, and received word that he was to lodge temporarily with a Mr. Herbert Pocket. Wemmick and Pip walked to Pocket's residence at Barnard's Inn, and Pip discovered that Herbert Pocket was the "pale young gentleman" he had once fought in Miss Havisham's ruined garden.

Pip and Herbert got to know one another (Herbert is a clerk, but aims to be an Insurer of Ships, and is "looking about him"; he is the son of Mr. Matthew Pocket -- Pip's future tutor -- and a relation of Miss Havisham's); and Herbert told Pip Miss Havisham's story: She was left at the altar by a man who, in concert with her half-brother, engaged her affections with the object of swindling her (he extorted moneys, and got her to buy her brother out of his share in the brewery for an immense sum, "on the plea that when he was her husband he must hold and manage it all"); he did not marry her -- perhaps because he was married already -- but robbed her and broke her heart. Afterwards, she laid waste to her house, and stopped the clocks at the hour of her disappointment.


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