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Class Discussion Notes for Great Expectations


English II (Sullivan) Chapter Notes for Discussions

NB: Chapters 1-12 and other miscellaneous chapters should be in your notebooks

Chapter 13

* Joe talks to Miss H. through Pip (class issue?)

* More wisdom from Joe: "that it were the wish of your own hart" (93).


NB: This is an interesting chapter if we examine it from Joe's perspective. He talks to Miss H. through Pip and later lies to Mrs. Joe about Miss H. passing along her compliments. Another strong passage delineating Joe's generous spirit occurs on the first half of page 94. Joe's regard for Pip is ineffable.


Chapter 14

* Lyrical chapter relating Pip's change of heart about his youthful home.


Chapter 15

* Pip's slip: "should I visit Miss Estella--Havisham?"

* Mrs. Joe and Orlick fight.

* Uncanny meeting of Wopsle (who then reads a story about crime & Newgate...) and later the slouching Orlick from out of a shadow in the dark misty night.


Chapter 16

* More bloody guilt from Pip.

* Biddy arrives to help; recall that her aunt "conquered a confirmed habit of living" (114).


Chapter 17

* Routine of apprenticeship and restlessness of Pip to be something else.

* Pip and Biddy share cordial moments. Who loves whom?

* Orlick rises out of the ooze.


Chapter 18

* Another strange man appears at the Three Jolly Bargemen (Jaggers).

* Follow all of the false assumptions that connect Miss Havisham as Pip's Benefactor.

* Jaggers' professional distance. Remind me to tell my Lawyer & white rat joke.


Chapter 19

* Follow the Pip snob cam. He condescends to Biddy, Mr. Trabb, Joe et al.

* Pumblechook puts out the nice towels. That's not just English teacher funny, that's funny: "Ha! Ha!"

* Miss Havisham shams (p. 147) Pip into thinking she's the benefactor.


NB: Themes. You should know now how to define these themes in your own words and be able to find examples from the text to illuminate each motif:


Guilt and Innocence



Chapter 24

* Wemmick's character developed.

* Jaggers at court. Do you know any lawyers like him today?


Chapter 25

* Humorous description of Drummle.

* Wemmick's castle and aged father.

* Wemmick transforms--similar to a commuter leaving home and going to work.


Chapter 26

*Jaggers washing physical and moral dirt.

*Molly's hands!

* Who is arguing about money?


Chapter 27

*Joe holding hat like a servant, working class gesture: doffing the cap.

*Joe won't shake Herbert's hand; follow Joe's hat.

*Another summons to Satis house.

*More wisdom from Joe.


Chapter 28

*Coach ride; uncanny conversation.

*Pumblechook's article in the paper.

*Avenger is to avenge the poverty in Pip's past.


Chapter 29

*Orlick echoes wise-guy porter in Macbeth (ouch! he's on the threshold, too).

*Miss H's pride for Estella echoes Jagger's pride in Molly's hands.

*Jaggers presides.

*Describe Pip's and Estella's relationship now?


Chapter 30

*Pip encounters Trabb's boy (absence past = greater presence; Pip only related the one fight that he won as a lad).

*Penitential codfish and oysters.

*Pip and Herbert open their hearts.


Chapter 31

*Wopsle's humorous performance of Shakespeare's Hamlet.

*Wopsle meets Pip and Herbert after the show.


Chapter 32

Pip visits Newgate w/Wemmick while waiting for Estella (tries to brush it off--Ouch!).

Chapter 33

* More heartache for Pip.

* Delivers Estella to Richmond (In his illusionary state, Pip does anything for Miss H.).


Chapter 34

* Pip and Herbert falling into Debt.

* Finches of the Grove; is this what young men should do with their money?

* Pip and Herbert make a list.

* Mrs. Joe passes (post from Trabb & Co.)


Chapter 35

* Funeral with town folks; keep an eye on Pumblechook.

* Joe's sadness...ineffable (doesn't finish his words on page 261).

* Biddy's conversation; calling Pip sir.


Chapter 36

* Birthday meeting with Jaggers.

* Wemmick's suggesting about giving advice to Pip outside of the office (Walworth).


Chapter 37

* Pip visits Wemmick and the Aged at Walworth.

* Wemmick gives Pip advice about secretly investing in Herbert.


Chapter 38 Conflicts galore!

* Pip's inner conflict: haunting Richmond.

* Miss H vs. Estella.

* Pip vs. Drummle.

* Pip vs. Estella.


Chapter 39 oooohhhh aaahhhh....it was a dark stormy night...

* Three page dramatic return of the convict.

* Pip realizes that he was manipulated by Miss H. & Estella.

* Regrets about Joe and Biddy.


Chapter 40

* Someone in the shadows following Provis.

* Provis and Pip get to know each other.

* Provis/Abel's vicarious goals through Pip.

* pp.. 310-312: Pip has a showdown with Jaggers.

* Herbert takes an oath.


Chapter 41

* Herbert and Pip discuss Pip's relationship to Magwitch's patronage. Remember what Cyrano thought of such a thing? Also, OUCH!, a little dramatic irony. Explain!

* New oath on p. 318: Who would feel guilty if Magwitch were caught?


Chapter 42

Important chapter relating Abel's story. First, what does his name signify?

* Stories about childhood: did they make him criminal or was he criminal from the start?

* Meets Compeyson and Mr. Arthur.

* Know the story of Arthur's death.


Chapter 43

* Uncanny meeting of Drummle at the Blue Boar--a little tension?

* Was that Orlick? (Follow him carefully: out of the forge, up from the ooze, guarding the threshold and now lighting Drummle's cigar with a hot coal...ouch. Dark angel?)


Chapter 44

* Pip learns of Estella's marriage.

* Asks for Miss Havisham's help to invest in Herbert.

* A note from Wemmick?


Chapter 45

* Pip and Wemmick's litigious and indirect conversations.

* Pip learns where Herbert has stored Magwitch at Clara's house.


Chapter 46

* Meet Mrs. Whimple (stand in mother/chaperone for Clara; many absent parents in this novel).

* Meet Clara's lovely dear old father, Mr. Bill Barley (what does Herbert call him?)

* Magwitch's room at the top; affords the opportunity to develop the signal from the window shade.


Chapter 47

* Pip's anxiety pulling him down.

* Staying away from Magwitch's money.

* Not wanting (denial?) to know about Estella's marriage.

* Uncanny sighting of Compeyson by Wopsle at his humorous play.


Chapter 48

Important chapter for Estella.

* Pip connects Molly and Estella (hands and face, etc.).

* Wemmick also supplies a few key details.


Chapter 49

Pip and Miss Havisham, two emotional spelunkers--existential lows here!

* Pip and Miss Havisham take an oath (several oaths in this novel).

* Pip takes a twilight (ouch) sentimental stroll in the garden.

* Fire and Forgiveness?


Chapter 50

* Herbert helps Pip heal; physically as well as emotionally & spiritually through friendship.

* Herbert relates story about Provis's wife and daughter.


Chapter 51

* Pip recovers from burns and presses on to Jaggers' office.

* Pip brings Wemmick into the fray between himself and Mr. Jaggers; Is that fair?

* hot topic includes Estella's adoption.

* Jaggers processes the merits and shortcomings of telling all parties (split up family!)

* why would Pip be eager to spill the news?


Chapter 52

* Pip passes on check to sponsor Herbert (his one good deed in life).

* Escape plan moves into action.

* Bad angel/dark side confrontation with Orlick. Pip also drops letter mistakenly on the floor, but we have to ask: did he really do this by accident?

* Powerful moment about feeling guilty about Joe (nothing new but comic punch turns dramatic on Pip).


Chapter 53

* Orlick captures Pip.

* Let's reread Pip's dread of being misremembered on page 395? Ouch, what theme is being illuminated?

* Close reading: notice Orlick's suppressed voice/oath on page 393. Why does Dickens repeat this description?

* Orlick's list of complaints revolve around money and Biddy. Does this echo Pip's obsession with money and Estella?

* Ouch! Orlick was in the shadows of Pip's apartment (397).

* Pip sees things differently (402) on Wed. am. Why?

Chapter 54

* Magwitch picked up on the river bank as planned.

* Magwitch's metaphor on page 407. Is there wisdom here for us to savor? Anyone step in a river lately?

* The "Jack" (we would say common Joe) is introduced and realizes that "things are not as they appear." Ouch, have we observed this motif before? (Historical tangent: this smuggling trade was also common throughout southern New England during colonial times. Any smugglers among us?)

* Big epiphany for Pip. What does he think of Magwitch now? What theme does this passage illuminate?


Chapter 55

* Compeyson's dead body floating on the river. The only way to decipher his identity is to analyze the contents of his pockets. Ouch! What is the literary/subtextual significance of this analysis?

* Herbert and Clara extend Pip a lovely offer; Pip's response (self conscious narrator).

* Wemmick's guilt; Wemmick's marriage. Humor galore here--not just English teacher humor, too. I want to hear personal accounts of laughing, mirth and merriment that occurred while you were reading the end of this chapter. By the way, many English novels of this literary period close with a marriage. Thus, Dickens is bowing to this convention. But wait a minute, Ouch, how does our novel end?

Chapter 56

* Guilty soul of Magwitch. Do the guilty pay their debt to a power higher than any criminal court?

* How does Magwitch's sentencing compare to his real personal narrative?

* Pip confesses to Magwitch as his spirit expires.


Chapter 57

* Pip's debt arrest; then Pip's health fails. Follow next how Joe's face appears out of the mists of depression. Have we had "mist" affecting Pip's vision in previous chapters? What's the significance here?

* Joe writes the good news of Pip's recovery to Biddy, his wife!

* Joe relates some good news to Pip (433) about Matthew Pocket's inheritance from Miss Havisham.

* Pumblechook and Orlick's just punishment wrapped neatly up into one humorous incident.

* Let's do a close reading on the way Joe wraps up Pip.

* Joe guilty about Tickler in Pip's childhood.

* Joe's departure, note and the receipt.

* The plan to propose to Biddy. Why is that wrong, another step in a bad direction for Pip?


Chapter 58

* Encounter with Pumblechook at the Blue Boar.

* Close reading (444): how did Pip feel walking back to the old forge?

* What does Pip ask of Joe and Biddy?

* What kind of profits do Herbert and Pip make at their company?


Chapter 59

* Who does Pip meet on his old stool in the kitchen? What do you make of the little chap's name?

* What does Pip tell Biddy about forgetting Estella? Is it the truth?

* At what point does Pip cross a significant threshold in this chapter. Be prepared to defend your position.

* Out of what does Estella appear? Why does Dickens present the encounter in this fashion?

* Which ending is better? Why do you think that there were two?