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G11 - Literature Part II

Pip is no longer happy with being a trainee Blacksmith - no longer happy with his dirty hands, no longer happy living in the forge. A sad situation.

He didn’t want to be a smith any more, and he didn’t like the dirt, and he didn’t like that he had been taught to call ‘knaves’ ‘jacks’.

Times passes, a few years, with Pip being generally unhappy with his place in life.

He tries to better himself with the help of education from Biddy, who comes to live in the house with them after Mrs Joe was attacked and left unable to move much - or speak.

Another pivotal point of the story comes when he is sent to town to meet a certain lawyer called Mr Jaggers (picture 1). Mr Jaggers is one of Dicken’s strongest characters - not in his muscles but in his personality.

He tells Pip that he is to consider himself as having ‘Great Expectations’. Jaggers says that he cannot possibly say who will supply the money, leads Pip to think that he will come into a great fortune, and naturally the only person that Pip and Joe and Biddy can think of, who would have enough money to give away, would be … who?

Miss Havisham (picture 2).

Pip, of course, thinking only of Estella and how beautiful she is, can’t wait to go and thank Miss Havisham, hoping to see Estella (picture 3).

And yet Miss Havisham cannot accept thanks, because as Jaggers said, no one should know who the benefactor is.

Pip sets off for London, and finds that his roommate is to be a young man, about his own age, whom he has already met.

Who is it?
Herbert Pocket (picture 4) - the young man who wanted to fight.

As it happens, Herbert is from a large family of Pockets, friends of Jaggers, and relatives of Miss Havisham. This only makes Pip believe more that Miss Havisham has been giving him the money.

This time, Pip and Herbert get along very well, have a great time, and naturally, if you’re spending someone else’s money, you spend as much of it as you have. And because people know you have an income from someone rich, they give you credit.

Do you know a simple definition of ‘credit’ in this context?
It is about getting goods or services and paying for them when your money comes in each month.

Pip, with his ‘Great Expectations’, just spent, spent and spent the money. Although he’s having a great time there in London, living the high life, he does still miss Joe and Biddy, Mrs Joe and the forge.

The person he misses most of course is Estella. He hears of what she is doing, where she is, but doesn’t meet her.

In the hope of becoming good enough for Estella, Pip learns how to be a gentleman with Herbert’s father, Matthew Pocket.

When Mrs Joe dies, Pip goes home for the funeral, but feels awkward now that he is a gentleman and not a poor blacksmith’s apprentice. He doesn’t even stay at the forge but at the hotel in the village.

A good few years go by, and Pip has become both popular, educated and just like a gentleman. Life is good!

One night though, a figure from Pip’s distant past comes to his rooms. At first Pip isn’t sure who it is, but he sort of recognises the figure, the shape and the size of the man (picture 5).

Who is it?
Horror of horrors - it’s the convict from the graveyard!

Magwitch has news which is both great and bad. The money which has supported and paid for Pip’s life has not come from Miss Havisham - but from Magwitch! Just like smoke in the wind, Pip realises that all his hopes that Miss Havisham had made him a gentleman to marry the lovely Estella disappear.

Pip’s world crashes down around him. Miss Havisham was not the giver of money, and Estella was nothing to do with Pip at all.

Magwitch tells Pip that because he was kind, and gave him the food, the pie and the file to cut through his leg-chains, Magwitch had decided that if he ever had money, he would pay Pip back by making him a gentleman.

A great confusion had happened, because Mr Jaggers was the lawyer for both Miss Havisham and Magwitch.

Magwitch had been sent to prison, then given what was called ‘transportation for life’.

Do you know what that was?
It is a punishment they used to give for some criminals, which meant those criminals were sent far far away to live and make what they could out of life. If they returned to England, they would be hanged.

Often they were sent to America, or in the case of Magwitch, all the way to Australia. (In fact, lots of Australians today can trace their ancestry to transported criminals from England.)

But Magwitch could not stand to not see Pip - the gentleman he had made. So, he had returned to England! This mean arrest, trial and hanging.

Pip knew this was to happen if Magwitch was caught, and Pip felt a bit responsible for Magwitch. Pip decided, with Herbert in on the secret, to help Magwitch get out of England again and escape the law.

Before this happens, Magwitch tells a mystery story about someone else who had been in the graveyard that day, so long ago. That man was called ‘Compeyson’, and at that time, Magwitch and Compeyson were friends.

They fell out though, and ending up hating each other.

Magwitch told the tale that Compeyson had promised to marry - who?
Miss Havisham!

But Compeyson had left Miss Havisham ready for the marriage - and broke her heart. That’s why she kept out of the world.

While Magwitch is with him, Pip knows that Estella has married a dreadful person - called Bentley Drummle. 

By this time, Miss Havisham, old and alone, realises that what she has done is a terrible thing.

Do you know what that thing is?
She trained Estella to break the hearts of as many men as she could. This was in revenge on men for what Compeyson had done to her.

The problem was that she taught Estella not to ‘love’. And that meant that Estella didn’t love Miss Havisham either.

Pip goes to Satis House to explain to Miss Havisham how badly he felt, how well Miss Havisham had taught Estella to break his heart.

Miss Havisham tries so hard to say sorry to Pip, but he walks out. Just as he closes the door, Miss Havisham falls near the fire and her dress catches fire! (Picture 6.) She lives, but forever is deeply sad and sorry for what she did to Pip.

Eventually the plan to help Magwitch is ready; they will ship him off down the river and meet a large boat which will take him from England. But someone hears about the plan and tips off the police!

Can you remember who that person is?
Compeyson, who has found out that Magwitch is back in England against the law and still wants to get him hanged.

In the struggle with the police, Compeyson falls overboard and drowns (picture 7). Magwitch is caught, and sentenced to death. He falls ill, though, and senses that it is the judgement of God that he is caught. He dies at peace in the prison (picture 8).

But before that, Magwitch has told him he has a daughter.

Who is the daughter of Magwitch?

Pip loses his fortune, because if a criminal went back to England after being sentenced to transportation, all his money, goods and the things he owned had to be given to the government.

So Pip had lost all his money, his fortune, the high life with Herbert, he’d lost Magwitch, whom he had come to care for a lot - but most of all he knew that Estella was also lost to him.

After all the action and heartache, Pip gets sick (picture 9) and Joe comes to help him out in London. They are reconciled.

What’s ‘to be reconciled’?
It means to make friends again with someone who you had lost friends with, for some reason.

Pip hears that Miss Havisham has at last died and left her money, what was left of it, to Herbert’s family, the Pockets.

Pip, who was also fond of Biddy, tried to rush back to the forge and marry Biddy. Again - he loses out. Biddy and Joe are already happily married (picture 10).

Pip and Herbert decide to go abroad for work; and years later when he returns, he makes a trip back home. In the ruins of Satis House (picture 11), which has not been lived in for years and has begun to fall apart, he meets someone (picture 12).

Who is it?

She realises that she married for the wrong reason, but actually her husband, Bentley Drummle, has died. He had treated her very badly.

Estella has discovered that she had been cruel and deserved nothing from life from anyone, she had been too cruel to many people and was left with nothing. She has a sad sort of kindness about her - a great change from how she was when Pip first met her.

At the end of the novel, Pip and Estella leave the ruins of the garden ‘hand in hand’, and Pip ‘saw no shadow of another parting.’ (Picture 13.)

But this was not the first ending of the story that Charles Dickens wrote.

The first ending was that Pip comes across Estella in a street in London. Drummle had died, and Estella had married someone else - meaing that Pip had no chance at all of ever being with her.

Why did Dickens change the ending?
Some of the friends of Dickens said it was too harsh, an ending which was too sad for Pip, so, although he didn’t really want to, Dickens changed the ending of the story it looks like Pip may have had a chance for happiness at last.

And that’s the end of the main story. We will be looking at characters, themes and all sorts of things about the story in the coming time.

Other pictures below show scenes from the film (pictures 14-16).


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