Great Expectations By Charles Dickens Summary and Analysis Chapters 49-51 - (Volume III, Chapters 10-12)

Analysis

Miss Havisham is suffering, the victim of her lifetime of hatred and vengeance. She has grown through pain to remorse and now desires to make amends. She willingly helps Herbert and offers as much to Pip. The fantasy element about her hanging from the beam is resolved here. Pip, thinking back to that image, goes back inside in time to rescue her from the flames.

Pip is showing reversals here too. He not only refuses any more of Magwitch's money, but he refuses any aid from Miss Havisham. Whatever happens now will be of his own making, a sure sign of growth. He has completed his efforts for Herbert, the only good thing he feels he has done with his money, and gives Miss Havisham the forgiveness she craves. He can do this having seen the hurts he has caused through his own sins in life. He is more in charge of his life now, standing up to Miss Havisham and speaking his mind. His love for Estella is more real and unselfish — he tries to stop her marriage to Drummle by telling her he can bear her marrying anybody else as long as the man loves her. He also displays emotional honesty and passion when demanding the full story of Estella's life from Jaggers and Wemmick. Pip and Herbert have both grown out of some of their snobbery when they notice that Magwitch has "changed and softened." It is actually their perspective on the man that has changed.

There is a moment of truth in Jaggers' office when Pip begs for the whole story of Estella. When Pip speaks of his poor dreams of love that are now dashed, Jaggers responds in a way that shows he once knew this feeling as well. Wemmick, whose emotional side has surprised Jaggers, boldly calls his boss an emotional imposter and suggests that his boss would like a nice home life, too. Jaggers' theoretical story to Pip reveals that he is a deeply caring man who did his best to save a mother and child. However, this level of emotional intensity brings an unstable atmosphere in the law office — both men are relieved to return to the status quo when they scream at a whiny client to bring no emotions to their office. Both men are upset with Pip for passing up Miss Havisham's offer of financial assistance (portable property). They are both realists and genuinely care about Pip's future. Jaggers, the man who knows everyone's secrets, is for one rare moment thrown off guard when Pip tells him Magwitch is Estella's father. It is a secret even he did not know.

Glossary

ivory tablets a small notebook with two covers made from oblong pieces of ivory. Pencil marks could be wiped off of the ivory.

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Miss Havisham’s is obsessed with which event from the past?




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