Great Expectations By Charles Dickens Summary and Analysis Chapters 13-15

Summary

To bolster her self-esteem, Mrs. Joe announces that when Joe and Pip visit Miss Havisham, she will accompany them and wait at Pumblechook's. She marches proudly ahead and carries a number of her treasured items with her as if on parade. Joe looks ridiculous in his suit, and he is obviously uncomfortable while at Satis House as he fidgets with his hat and refuses to answer Miss Havisham directly. He answers only by speaking to Pip. Pip is very embarrassed by Joe's appearance and conduct, especially when he sees Estella laughing at him. Miss Havisham gives a generous premium to Joe for Pip's service saying Pip has been a good boy.

An amazed Joe brings the premium of twenty-five pounds back to Pumblechook's and hands it over to Mrs. Joe. He is smart enough to say Pip received nothing but that Miss Havisham sends her regards and this money to Mrs. Joe. This soothes Mrs. Joe's mood. They are all shocked at amount of money and Pumblechook immediately takes them to the Court to have Pip bound, hauling Pip along so that others think he is a criminal. Later they go out to dinner and celebrate with the Hubbles and Mr. Wopsle, but Pip is tired and morose. He no longer wants to work in the forge.

Pip fulfills his obligations but he is unhappy. It is endless drudgery and he fears Estella will see him in the forge with blackened face and hands, doing his coarse work. As he is too old for evening school, he now teaches himself from books and tries to teach Joe as well so as not to be so ashamed of the man.

One day, Pip talks of going to visit Miss Havisham. Joe points out that it is a bad idea, but finally gives Pip a holiday to do it. Orlick, a journeyman in the forge who is jealous of Pip, also asks for time off. Mrs. Joe protests it all and gets into an argument with Orlick that eventually requires that Joe fight Orlick to defend his wife's honor. Joe bests Orlick and the two make amends over a beer. Pip's visit to Miss Havisham is a disaster. She tells him Estella is in Paris, taunts him about losing her, and dismisses him with the request that he return on his birthdays. After hearing Wopsle perform a George Barnwell tragedy at Pumblechook's, Pip and Wopsle walk home. They run into Orlick, who has been lurking in the shadows. Hearing that someone is hurt at Pip's house, they rush there to find Pip's sister near death after being hit on head. She will never again be on the rampage.

Analysis

Relationship themes intensify in these chapters. Between Joe, Orlick, Pip, and Mrs. Joe, the dynamics are black and ominous. Orlick resents Pip. Pip fears Orlick. Mrs. Joe hates Orlick and claims to be more than a match for him. Orlick retorts with the foreshadowing comment that if she were his wife he would drown her under the water pump. Goaded by his enraged wife, Joe is forced into a fight with Orlick to defend her honor. Afterward, the two men quietly share a beer. It is evident that the fight is not between the two men, but is a reflection of the hostility that Mrs. Joe carries within her. The whole situation has a murderous tone to it and is at a flash point.

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