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Great Expectations

Charles Dickens

Chapters 8–10

Chapters 4–7

Chapters 11–13

Summary: Chapter 8

Over breakfast the next morning, Pumblechook sternly grills Pip on multiplication problems. At ten, he is taken to Miss Havisham’s manor, Satis House. The gate is locked, and a small, very beautiful girl comes to open it. She is rude to Pumblechook and sends him away when she takes Pip inside. She leads him through the ornate, dark mansion to Miss Havisham’s candlelit room, where the skeletal old woman waits by her mirror, wearing a faded wedding dress, surrounded by clocks stopped at twenty minutes to nine.

The girl leaves, and Miss Havisham orders Pip to play. He tells her earnestly that he is too affected by the newness and grandeur of the house to play. Miss Havisham forces him to call for the girl, whose name is Estella. Estella returns, and Miss Havisham orders her to play cards with Pip. Estella is cold and insulting, criticizing Pip’s low social class and his unrefined manners. Miss Havisham is morbidly delighted to see that Pip is nonetheless taken with the girl. Pip cries when he leaves Satis House.

Summary: Chapter 9

When Pip returns home, he lies to Joe, Mrs. Joe, and Pumblechook about his experience at Satis House, inventing a wild story in which Estella feeds him cake and four immense dogs fight over veal cutlet from a silver basket. He feels guilty for lying to Joe and tells him the truth in the smithy later that day. Joe, who is astonished to find out that Pip has lied, advises Pip to keep company with his own class for the present and tells him that he can succeed someday only if he takes an honest path. Pip resolves to remember Joe’s words, but that night, as he lies in bed, he can’t help but imagine how “common” Estella would find Joe, and he falls into a reverie about the grandeur of his hours at Satis House.

Summary: Chapter 10

Pip continues to suffer through his schooling, but a new desire for education and social standing makes him agree to take extra lessons from his sensible friend Biddy. Later the same day, when Pip goes to the pub to bring Joe home, he sees a mysterious stranger stirring his drink with the same file Pip stole for the convict. The stranger gives Pip two pounds, which Pip later gives to Mrs. Joe. He continues to worry that his aid to the convict will be discovered.

Analysis: Chapters 8–10

With the introduction of Miss Havisham and Estella, the themes of social class, ambition, and advancement move to the forefront of the novel. Pip’s hopes (encouraged by Mrs. Joe’s and Pumblechook’s suggestive comments) that Miss Havisham intends to raise him into wealth and high social class are given special urgency by the passionate attraction he feels for Estella. His feelings for the “very pretty and very proud” young lady, combined with the deep impression made on him by Satis House, with its ornate grandeur, haunted atmosphere, and tragic sense of mystery, raise in Pip a new consciousness of his own low birth and common bearing. When he returns from Satis House in Chapter 9, he even lies about his experience there, unwilling to sully his thoughts of it with the contrasting plainness of his everyday world: Estella and Miss Havisham must remain “far above the level of such common doings.”

Pip’s romantic sensibility, first visible in his tendency to linger around his parents’ gravestones, is powerfully attracted to the enigmatic world of Satis House. His desire for self-improvement compels him to idealize Estella. Her condescension and spite match Pip’s feelings about himself in the world of Satis House. He accepts her cruelty—“Why, he is a common labouring-boy!”—without defending himself because he sorrowfully believes her to be right. In fact, he only cries when he is forced to leave her. The differences between their social classes manifest themselves even in small things; while playing cards in Chapter 8, Estella remarks disdainfully, “He calls the knaves, jacks, this boy!”

Though the introduction of Satis House and Miss Havisham seem to have little to do with the early plotline of the convict and the marshes, Dickens keeps the earlier story in the reader’s mind with the appearance of the mysterious figure in Chapter 10, who stirs his drink with the file Pip gave to the convict and gives Pip a small sum of money. This foreshadows not only the eventual return of the convict, but also the major plot twist of the novel, when Pip discovers that the source of his mysterious fortune (which he has not yet received in this section) is not Miss Havisham, as he thought, but the convict Magwitch.

Like the earlier chapters, this section abounds in mystery and foreshadowing, particularly relating to Miss Havisham’s character: what is the reason behind her bizarre appearance, her behavior, and her home decor, with its stopped clocks and crumbling relics of an earlier time? At this stage of the novel, Dickens does not answer questions, only raises them. The reader’s natural curiosity will help propel the book forward.

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The Ending

by mdd07c, September 16, 2012

So do Pip and Estella end up marrying each other? The language seems ambiguous and there is no mention of whether they do or not in this sparknotes!

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53 out of 75 people found this helpful

To answer your question..

by shoomate, September 18, 2012

In the original ending, they did not get together. Estella got remarried after Dummle died, and thought Joe and Biddy's son was Pip's son, and Pip didn't correct her. In the second and final ending, Estella and Pip reunite in the garden, and it says "there was no shadow of another parting from her", basically meaning they got together. It doesn't tell the reader 100% that they got married or anything, but it is highly likely they did in this ending.

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38 out of 54 people found this helpful

great expectations

by nthuteng, September 25, 2012

so what is the significance of Newgate for Pip's development from childhood to the end of the novel? and how does the narrator uses manners to comment on moral awareness

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22 out of 57 people found this helpful

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