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Great Expectations by Charles Dickens - Barron's Booknotes
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CHAPTERS 51 & 52

Just as Pip seemed beyond Miss Havisham's power, now he
seems to have grown beyond Jaggers'. Pip goes to Jaggers to
get the truth about Estella, though he can't separate whether he
does this for love of Estella, or of Magwitch. Jaggers is
disappointed that Pip got help for Herbert, and not for himself,
out of Miss Havisham. Wemmick professionally agrees. Pip's
above such selfish worries. Pip shocks the unshockable Jaggers
by declaring he knows Estella's parents; the lawyer himself
never knew Magwitch was involved. Still, Jaggers evades Pip
when he asks if it's really true. Pip bursts into a heartfelt
appeal-reminiscent of his confession of love for Estella-
releasing emotions he used to keep locked up inside.

When this doesn't work, Pip turns to Wemmick, appealing to
Wemmick's "Walworth self" to plead with Jaggers. Pip is
betraying a trust, but it breaks down barriers, and shows us
surprising sides of Jaggers. Jaggers seems so pleased that
Wemmick has human interests that, for once he releases
information. His account of Molly's case shows compassion, in
spite of the cautious, repeated phrase, "Put the case." Jaggers
has seen a great deal of life; he feels moral outrage about
children raised in evil environments (Magwitch's life story
would support Jaggers' case). Wisely, Jaggers says that it won't
do anyone any good to reunite Estella and her father now. And
he suggests that he too has felt "poor dreams" of love in his
time. It takes a special effort for Jaggers and Wemmick to
restore their professional relations, but this has opened them
up, in a good way.

Pip briskly finishes his business with Clarriker, to secure
Herbert's partnership. Though he sadly learns that Herbert's
being transferred to the Far East, Pip unselfishly feels consoled
by Herbert's happiness. Herbert's the romantic one now,
dreaming of caravans and camels.

Then the message from Wemmick comes, almost like a relief.
Pip's gotten used to the idea of going with Magwitch, and
doesn't seem to care where they go. Some readers think this
shows Pip's self-sufficiency, that he can exist anywhere. Others
say he faces this new life without hopes or expectations, afraid
to be disappointed again; still others say it's just Pip's old vague

Pip shows his new capacity for action. He and Herbert scurry
around on their errands. Today's Monday; Wednesday they'll
pick up Magwitch and take him down river to board a German
steamship. The plot still twists, however. Going home, Pip
finds an anonymous note, demanding that he come secretly to
the marshes. Mostly because of the threat to "uncle Provis", Pip
quickly makes up his mind to go. He's changed a lot from the
boy who couldn't decide whether to run after Joe! This decision
isn't necessarily easy; Pip has a flurry of doubt, but by then he's
already on the coach.

In an inn in Rochester, Pip ironically hears from the innkeeper
his own life story (the Pumblechook version, where Pip treated
his "patron" with "ingratitude"). Once Pip might have been
offended by Pumblechook's hypocrisy, now he feels humbled,
thinking how noble Joe is never to complain of Pip's desertion.
We've missed Joe lately-on Pip's recent visits to Rochester, he
didn't even think about stopping by Joe's. Pip has changed, but
he still has a lot to make up for.

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Great Expectations by Charles Dickens - Barron's Booknotes

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