Great Expectations By Charles Dickens Summary and Analysis Chapters 35-37 - (Volume II, Chapters 16-18)

Summary

Pip attends his sister's funeral, run by Mr. Trabb. It is a ridiculous affair, with grown men wrapped in cloaks with large bows tied under their chins. Joe is careful at dinner to properly use his knife and fork but is more relaxed when he goes outside with Pip to smoke his pipe. He is delighted when Pip asks to stay in his old room and Pip feels pleased with himself. Pip has some harsh words with Biddy as to why she did not write him about things. She calls him Mr. Pip now, and she stands her ground. She also lets Pip know that Orlick is working in a quarry and hangs around watching them. They have more angry words after she questions his resolve to visit Joe more often. When he leaves the next day, he tells her he is hurt, but as he leaves town he suspects she is right.

Back in London, Pip comes of age. Jaggers tells Pip he is aware of Pip's debts. He also gives him a five-hundred-pound note for his birthday from his benefactor and tells him his financial affairs are now in his own hands. He will get 125 pounds per quarter to spend as he sees fit, until such time as the benefactor makes himself known. At that point, Jaggers' connection in all this is over. Jaggers comes to dinner at Pip's apartment to celebrate his birthday, but the attorney's presence leaves both Pip and Herbert in a melancholy and guilty frame of mind.

Pip has an idea about using some of his money to set Herbert up in business. He seeks the advice of the Walworth Wemmick, because the London version of Wemmick suggested that Pip instead toss the money into the river from a bridge. On Sunday, Pip visits Wemmick at home where he learns the man actually trained to be a wine-cooper, not a legal clerk. He also meets Wemmick's lady friend, Miss Skiffins, who appears to also be in the "post-office branch of the service and possessed of portable property." The Walworth Wemmick is in favor of Pip's idea to help Herbert and agrees to contact Miss Skiffins' brother, who is an accountant. Wemmick notes that this helps to brush away some of the Newgate cobwebs. Within a short time they arrange things with a merchant named Clarriker who soon brings Herbert into his firm. All of this is done without Herbert's knowledge. Pip, the narrator, ends the chapter with a foreshadowing comment about the turning point of the story, but defers for one chapter to talk about Estella.

Analysis

The element of secrecy shows up here with Pip's secretly setting Herbert up in business with Clarriker. Character tags continue with: Pumblechook's "May I?" and his being the "founder of Pip's fortunes," Joe's "she were a fine figure of a woman" and "Pip, old chap," Jaggers' handwashing, and Wemmick's post-office mouth. Guilt is evident when both Pip and Herbert feel melancholy and guilty just by being around Jaggers for dinner. Herbert sums it up when he notes that he must be guilty of something but just cannot remember it. The feeling of impending evil is suggested by the presence of Orlick lurking in the shadows near the forge and following Pip and Biddy. It seems to foreshadow that the man has something ominous in store for someone. Another interesting element is Dickens use of inanimate objects to show the emotions of one of the characters. Pip is frequently attributing his own emotions to the face casts in Jaggers' office: " . . . the twitched faces looked, . . . as if they had come to a crisis . . . and were going to sneeze."

Money as a source of good and evil is also at issue. Money has done little good for Pip or Herbert — both are deeply in debt and the problem threatens to wipe out Herbert's dreams. Yet Pip still has good in him. Realizing he is the main corrupting influence on Herbert, he fixes things by setting Herbert up in business. Also, Jaggers attempts to guide Pip when he cross-examines Pip about his debts. Jaggers tells the young man that he has been irresponsible, does not let Pip lie to him, and tries to make him straighten up because Pip is now in charge of his own affairs. Jaggers is trying to help Pip mature.

The dynamics of steadfast friendship and betrayal are still operating with Pip, Joe, and Biddy. Pip does return for his sister's funeral and pleases Joe by asking to stay there. The old rapport is stressed in that Joe is very particular about his silverware use when Pip is around and he continues to call him "Sir." No doubt that Pip genuinely means to keep his word when he tells Biddy that he will visit Joe frequently now, and he is angry when she doubts him. However, as Pip leaves town, he suspects she is right. She knows him.

Split Wemmicks are again evident when Pip seeks advice about helping Herbert in business. Just as there is London and Walworth, Jaggers and the Aged, there is professional money advice and personal money advice. Wemmick does stretch his rule of separating the two places for Pip again though, when he helps with some of the business details for Herbert's position even while in London.

Glossary

came of age the age of majority. Pip is now considered an adult.

injudicious showing poor judgment; not discreet or wise.

wine-cooper someone involved in the retail wine trade, especially making, repairing, or filling wine barrels. This was Wemmick's first trade, a far cry from his current legal work.

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