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Great Expectations


The Author
Chapters 1-6
Chapters 7-12
Chapters 13-17
Chapters 18-19
Chapters 20-24
Chapters 25-28
Chapters 29-39
Chapters 40-45
Chapters 46-51
Chapters 52-59



Mystery solved

(Chapters 46 to 51)


Pip goes to see Magwitch where he meets Clara, Herbert’s fianc'e and her father, who is close to death. Magwitch is now using the name Campbell and occupies two rooms at the top of the house. For some reason, Pip views Magwitch as a more amiable man and is warming to the convict.

When the time is right, Pip and Magwitch will head for France and the best way to do this is to meet with a boat in the river, so it is agreed that they get into the routine of rowing on the river, so that they will not draw attention to themselves.  In this way they can board a ship without involving anyone else.

Wemmick will advise them of the best time to leave, but after a few weeks there is still no word from him.

Pip is starting to struggle for money and he is forced to sell his jewelry in order to pay the bills.

To break the monotony, he decides to go to the theatre to see one of Mr. Wopsle’s theatrical failures.  At the theatre he realizes that he is being watched, and the man is Compeyson. Pip recognizes him from the fighting on the marshes years earlier. Pip manages to send a note to Wemmick saying that he is being followed by Compeyson.

A week later Jaggers invites Pip to dine with him and Wemmick. Jaggers says he has received a note from Miss Havisham requesting to see Pip and informing him that Drummle has married Estella.  Jaggers makes the remark that Drummle is the type of person who either beats or cringes and wonders who will win in the battle between Estella and Drummle.

Jaggers’ maid, Molly, enters the room and Pip notices her fingers moving strangely, and it reminds him of Estella’s fingers when she was knitting.  He suddenly realizes that Molly is Estella’s mother.

Wemmick and Pip depart and Wemmick explains that Molly was on trial for murdering an older, stronger woman who was having an affair with Molly’s husband. Jaggers was her lawyer and this was one of the cases that made him famous and successful.  He cleverly dressed Molly to look weaker than she was and made no comment about her strong hands. He also proved that bramble bushes made the scratches on her hands.  It was also suggested that Molly had murdered her child to get even with her husband, but Jaggers was able to sway the jury away from that opinion. Molly was found to be innocent and has worked for Jaggers ever since.

Pip visits Miss Havisham the next day and she regrets that she has caused so much pain and sorrow. Pip feels sorry for her, as she is now quite alone in her large house.  She agrees to help Herbert and gives Pip a note for Jaggers authorizing Pip to receive money for Herbert.  She also offers to help Pip financially, but he refuses.  Miss Havisham now needs forgiveness and she drops down on her knees crying out ‘what have I done?’ Pip had made it clear to her the evil that she had committed.  She had initially intended to adopt Estella in order to save her from the hurts of the world.  She now realizes that she stole the girl’s heart and put ice in its place. Pip asks Miss Havisham if she knows who Estella’s mother was, but she only knows that Jaggers brought the girl to her.  Before he leaves Pip decides to walk around the grounds of the house once more. He then goes back upstairs to check on Miss Havisham and discovers that her dress has caught fire. He saves her, but she is seriously hurt and in doing so, he has badly burned his arms.

Pip eventually returns to London and Herbert cares for his wounds.

Herbert has been in conversation with Magwitch who related that he had been married, but his wife had killed another woman and their child in a jealous rage.  Pip realizes that Magwitch must be Estella’s father.  Magwitch had gone into hiding to avoid testifying at his wife’s trial. Compeyson had blackmailed Magwitch with this information, thus causing him to go deeper into crime.

Pip goes to Jaggers’ office and is received with much kindness to his surprise.  Herbert’s money for his business is resolved without his knowledge and Pip tells Jaggers that he knows who Estella’s parents are. Jaggers wishes to change the subject, but Pip demands that Jaggers and Wemmick tell him the truth.  The best Pip can obtain from Jaggers is a ‘theoretical’ story. Jaggers states that he was charged by a rich woman to find a girl child for her to adopt. At the very same time, he was involved in a court case where a child was thought to have been murdered.  Certainly, the father thought this was the situation. Jaggers decided to keep this situation secret for he knew that children suffered sorely under the legal system. He had the opportunity to save a child from this, and he took it. Jaggers then says that nobody would benefit from knowing about this theoretical story and Pip agrees to keep it a secret.



Dickens felt that he was abandoned as a child and this theme is seen throughout all of his works. Pip was an orphan, Estella, Clara and Herbert have living parents, but they are either unknown or useless to them.

The evil elements start to close in around Pip, this time in the form of Compeyson who is following him.

Molly’s story provides another piece of the jigsaw, when Pip realizes that she is Estella’s mother.

Miss Havisham is now suffering from her life of hatred and revenge.  She wishes to make amends and willingly offers to help Herbert and Pip.  Pip shows his continued change by refusing to accept any aid from Miss Havisham. Whatever is in store for him in the future will be of his own making.  This is a clear indication that his character has now matured. 

Pip is now in charge of his own life, standing up to Miss Havisham and speaking his mind. He has now lost his infatuation for Estella and shows that he is unselfish by pleading with her to marry someone she can love, not Drummle.

Again he demands that Jaggers and Wemmick tell him the full story concerning Estella’s background and a final demonstration of Pip’s growth is that he now does not look down his nose at Magwitch, but can sympathize with him.

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