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Free Study Guide-Great Expectations by Charles Dickens-Free BookNotes
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CHAPTER SUMMARY AND NOTES

CHAPTER 19

Summary

Joe and Biddy prepare themselves for the heartbreaking day of Pip's departure. He promises to write often and to help out as much as he can. Then he busies himself shopping for clothes, shoes, hosiery, hats and so on. Before leaving for London he pays a visit to Miss Havisham, who already knows about his good fortune. Joe and Biddy bid him a tearful good-bye.

Notes

The attitudes of people toward Pip begin to change once they learn of his grand inheritance. Even Mr. Pumblechook, who has always commented on Pip as a burden, waxes eloquent on his good fortune and prime position in life. For the first time, Pip tastes the power and respect of money. He is confident he can finally meet Estella's expectations, and indebted to Miss Havisham, whom he believes is his benefactor


This chapter represents a turning point for young Pip. His fate changes course, but the irony is in which direction it turns.

CHAPTERS 20 - 21

Summary

Pip reaches London and is both overwhelmed by the size of the city and disgusted by its narrow and dirty roads. The filth of the city with its slaughterhouses and prisons sickens him, and he is relieved when he meets Mr. Jaggers, a familiar face. He is given a handsome allowance as well as credit at several shops. He is told he will temporarily reside with the son of his tutor, Mr. Pocket, at Barnard's Inn. Mr. Wemmick, Jaggers' clerk, shows Pip the way to the Inn and introduces him to Mr. Herbert Pocket, the young boy Pip once knocked down at Satis House (for which Estella allowed him to kiss her).

Notes

This is the first in a series of scenes in which Pip begins his new life. The cast changes as other faces and characters with whom the reader has yet to be introduced to surround Pip. As the beginning of a new "phase" in Pip's development, this chapter is marked by two impressions: the size of things to come, and the dirty underworld of London. In this chapter, both are introduced simply as aspects of a new city. In the context of the novel, however, they are highly significant symbols.

Wealth brings a lot of attention for Pip, who enjoys every bit of it. He is proud of his new clothes and his generous allowance and is full of grand thoughts about his life as a gentleman in the big city. He is full of admiration for Jaggers, since he sees the lawyer as a busy and very important man. The fact that all Jaggers' clients are criminals is lost on young Pip; all he knows is that these men pay Jaggers for saving their lives (from jail or hanging). Jaggers appears to be successful and well respected, and Pip longs for that kind of influence and respectability.

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