Great Expectations By Charles Dickens Summary and Analysis Chapters 32-34 - (Volume II, Chapters 13-15)

Summary

Pip arrives five hours early at the coach-office to meet Estella. Wemmick happens by and invites Pip to join him on a trip to Newgate, where Pip notes that the prisoners' conditions are not good. He watches Wemmick attend to the many who seek him out, as a gardener tends to his plants. Pip begins to understand that even though Wemmick maintains an air of Jaggers' reserve about him, he is the one who brings a touch of humanity to each client connection. Even when he tells clients who cannot pay that they need to find another attorney, he is caring because he is honest and encourages no false hopes. One of their clients, the Colonel, is to be executed because the evidence against him was too great even for Jaggers to save him. Yet the Colonel tells Wemmick he wishes he had enough money so that Wemmick could buy a ring to remember him by. Wemmick responds by asking for a couple of the man's pigeons, because pigeons are portable property as well. Pip is impressed by the way the guards treat Wemmick, and the esteem they have for Jaggers. However, upon returning to the coach-office, Pip regrets the side trip because he now feels tainted by crime in the presence of his angel, Estella.

Estella orders Pip about, matter-of-factly listing exactly what they are to do as if it has already been laid out for her and him. In fact, she tells Pip that they are not free to follow their own devices. As he escorts her to the place she will stay, they talk about Miss Havisham's toady relatives and he notes her strong reaction to them. They apparently made her childhood miserable and she is grateful to Pip because he causes them a great deal of misery through their jealousy of him. However, she again reminds him not to get attached to her and that they are mere puppets.

Pip and Herbert have joined a club of useless men called "The Finches of the Grove," who get together to eat expensive dinners and to quarrel. The two young men are seriously in debt and when they periodically panic about this, they arrange an elaborate dinner to sit down and go over the bills. Instead of paying them, they list and round off the amounts, then give themselves a "margin" to add on to the total debt, a margin they end up spending as well. Pip realizes he is dragging Herbert down with him and that at this rate, Herbert's dreams will never be reached. He also knows that if they were not such good friends they would hate each other. Pip takes his frustrations out on the Avenger, a servant boy Pip employs. The Avenger, according to Pip, does little but eat Pip's food. However on this morning, the boy's only crime is to offer Pip a roll for breakfast, yet Pip responds by grabbing him by the collar, lifting him off his feet, and shaking him. The chapter ends with a note from Trabb and Co. that Mrs. Joe has died and Pip's presence is requested for the next Monday's interment.

Analysis

When Wemmick runs into Pip outside the coach-office, Pip inquires about Wemmick's home and the Aged Parent. Wemmick chats a bit about them, but then reminds Pip that "this is not London talk." He is firm in keeping his two lives separate, although he pushes his limits more when talking to Pip than he does with anyone else.

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