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Great Expectations by Charles Dickens - Barron's Booknotes
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CHAPTERS 45 & 46

Pip spends the night in a cheap, shady hotel called the
Hummums. In his anxiety and suspense, he imagines the room
around him coming alive and attacking him. Dickens describes
Pip's hallucinations in vivid detail, catching the peculiar
feverish logic of nightmares.

Herbert's friendship has helped Pip with Magwitch; now
Wemmick too comes through for him. The next day, at
Walworth, Wemmick explains his warning note. He learned
that Compeyson was closing in on Magwitch; Wemmick
warned Herbert to hide the old man somewhere safe, and
Herbert took him to stay with his fiancee Clara and her gruff
old father. (We learn, in an embarrassed aside, that Pip has
never met Clara because she disapproves of his influence on
Herbert-another outsider's comment on Pip.) Although
Wemmick claims to keep his personal and professional lives
apart, he has gone against that policy here, using information
from the office to help a friend. Though he's at Walworth, in
explaining the case he talks in a parody of Jaggers' close-
mouthed noncommittal style. Wemmick also hard-headedly
advises Pip to lay hold of Magwitch's "portable property"; this
seems more like a professional than a personal sentiment.
Wemmick, with his Aged Parent, should sympathize instead
with Pip's obligation to treat Magwitch kindly. But Wemmick
mixes the two sides of his life now, in the name of friendship.

Clara's home is in an eccentric, out-of-the-way neighborhood.
Seeing how much Herbert is at home there unsettles Pip,
reminding him how little he knows of Herbert's life, but he
doesn't brood over this, there's too much to do. Clara's drunken
invalid father Bill Barley is an ogre, pounding and roaring
overhead; he'd be far worse to live with than Wemmick's Aged
Parent or even Magwitch. Clara, however, is patient with him.
Pip's glad he has made things easier for her and Herbert; he
seems to forget that Herbert's future has been paid for with
tainted money, and may be lost.



In his rooms upstairs, "Provis" looks softer to Pip. Pip seems to
have accepted Magwitch now. There may be several reasons
for this: 1) Pip has finally given up his connection with Estella
and Miss Havisham; 2) the danger Magwitch is in makes Pip
pity him; 3) his better qualities are beginning to impress Pip.
Pip handles Magwitch considerately, tactfully; he doesn't
mention Compeyson for fear it will enrage him, and says
nothing about his plans to break off with the man. In fact, Pip
is already wondering if he shouldn't stick with him. Notice how
Pip changes under the pressure of events. Watch Pip mature
through a combination of factors: suffering, hard work, and
human involvement.

NOTE: Magwitch, Provis, Campbell-the names seem
interchangeable here. This may be because Pip's changing his
feelings about who the man is. It may also say that the convict's
a lost man, or that he's an ambiguous mixture of qualities, from
a primitive world of murky values.

Pip is surprised at his own concern for Magwitch's safety. As
Herbert and Pip discuss a plan for getting him down the river in
a rowboat, the old man listens amiably, resting his fate
completely in their hands. Back at their rooms, Herbert and Pip
keep a lookout for the lurking figure shadowing Magwitch. The
next morning Pip gets a rowboat and begins to establish
himself as a regular on the river.

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