Summary and Analysis Chapters 7-9


Pip generally views Joe as a child, though his level of respect rises after Joe's story about his parents. However, Pip also feels anger toward Joe. Pip reacts in an argumentative way to the compliments Joe pays his sister. Joe puts a quick stop to this, but Pip has an accurate sense of self here. He feels some righteous anger at the man who allows Mrs. Joe to abuse him. Pip knows that Mrs. Joe's bringing him up by hand does not give her the right to bring him up "by jerks." As with all children as they grow, Pip is also starting to realize that the all-knowing, all-powerful adults are not perfect. His anger intensifies later when Estella humiliates him over things Pip feels Joe should have known if only Joe had been more genteelly brought up. To a certain extent, Pip's later abandonment of Joe is understandable as a form of rebellion against a man that Pip feels let him down. With no way to express his passion or rage, Pip suppresses his feelings or takes them out on himself. He tries to hide his tears after Estella hurts him, resorting, instead, to kicking the brewery wall and pulling his hair out. The rising level of anger at Joe, Mrs. Joe, and Estella cannot be directed at the source, so it goes inside. This results in depression, and Pip often seems to approach life as a passive victim.

Pip's rising anger shows when he almost belligerently refuses to give his sister and Pumblechook any details about Miss Havisham. Partly, he feels he won't be understood, something he thinks is universal to children his age. He also feels attacked and cornered. Lastly, he feels protective of Miss Havisham, refusing to expose her to someone like his sister. So he lies or refuses to answer — his way of getting back at the two adults.

The personal interactions in these chapters between Pip, Miss Havisham, and Estella define the characters' personalities and motivations, and foreshadow a lot of the action in the novel. Miss Havisham is a hard-hearted woman who proudly wears her emotional wounds like a badge of honor. Time has no meaning for her as she has stopped all the clocks in her house at the exact time that her wedding was canceled. She does not want to know what day of the week it is and she has not seen the sun in many years. Her objective throughout the novel is to exact revenge on all men, and the first time Pip notes this is when Miss Havisham tells Estella to break his heart. He is surprised and thinks he has misunderstood her; however, as the novel progresses, he becomes very aware of what her agenda is. He does not or cannot stop trying for Estella's attention, though. In spite of the many times he will be hurt by them both, Pip is drawn to Miss Havisham's, and it is already evident, such as when he tells Miss Havisham that he wants to go home right now but does want to come back. He is hooked, admiring the unpossessable princess while she spurns him.


Catechism a series of questions and answers children in the Church learn. When they are confirmed by the Bishop they must be able to answer these. In one part of the Catechism, the child promises to "keep God's holy will and commandments, and walk in the same all the days of my life." Pip interprets this to mean he must walk home the same way every day of his life.

Collins' Ode on the Passions Mr. Wopsle is supposed to give periodic scholastic tests to the students in his great-aunt's school to see if they are learning. Instead, he makes them listen to his performances of great orations and poems. This one is the poem, "Ode on the Passions," by William Collins (1721-1759). Collins' odes were often on nature subjects or emotions and here Mr. Wopsle plays the part of "Revenge."

fell among those thieves this is a biblical reference, referring to the unfortunate man in the parable of the Good Samaritan, Luke 10:30-35, who fell among thieves, was beaten by them, and left for dead. Pip feels that numbers and arithmetic are about as vicious to him as the thieves were to the man in the parable.

comes the Mo-gul over us a Mogul is one of the Mongolian conquerors of India and Persia. Joe uses this term to describe Mrs. Joe's heavy-handed, despotic power over them as if she were some far-eastern prince.

Ablutions a washing of the body.

Farinaceous containing, consisting of, or made from flour or meal. Because Pumblechook is a corn and seed merchant, his home and place of business no doubt have a fair bit of corn meal or flour dust scattered about.

Gormandizing a British spelling of the word "gourmandising," which here means eating or devouring like a glutton.

Adamantine unyielding, firm, adamant about something. Pip adamantly refuses to answer his sister's questions when he returns from his first visit to Miss Havisham's.

plaited the right leg of my trousers as a nervous twitch, Pip sits there pleating (folding) and unpleating the cloth of his pants leg.

Metaphysics speculative philosophy. The branch of philosophy that tries to explain the nature of being and reality, and the origin and structure of the universe. When Pip and Joe discuss Pip's feeling coarse and common at Miss Havisham's, Pip is speaking in abstract philosophical terms that are over Joe's head. Joe triumphs, however, by bringing the matter into simple realistic truths that even Pip concedes give him hope.

Meditations prayers.

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