Great Expectations

by: Charles Dickens

Chapters 8–10

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.