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Great Expectations

Charles Dickens

Chapters 20–26

Chapters 17–19

Chapters 20–26, page 2

page 1 of 2

Summary: Chapter 20

Jaggers takes Pip to London, where the country boy is amazed and displeased by the stench and the thronging crowds in such areas as Smithfield. Jaggers seems to be an important and powerful man: hordes of people wait outside his office, muttering his name among themselves. Pip meets Jaggers’s cynical, wry clerk, Wemmick.

Summary: Chapter 21

Wemmick introduces Pip to Herbert Pocket, the son of Pip’s tutor, with whom Pip will spend the night. Herbert and Pip take an immediate liking to one another; Herbert is cheerful and open, and Pip feels that his easy good nature is a contrast to his own awkward diffidence. Whereas Pip’s fortune has been made for him, Herbert is an impoverished gentleman who hopes to become a shipping merchant. They realize, surprised, that they have met before: Herbert is the pale young gentleman whom Pip fought in the garden at Satis House.

Summary: Chapter 22

Pip asks Herbert to help him learn to be a gentleman, and, after a feast, the two agree to live together. Herbert subtly corrects Pip’s poor table manners, gives him the nickname “Handel,” and tells him the whole story of Miss Havisham. When she was young, her family fortune was misused by her unruly half brother, and she fell in love with—and agreed to marry—a man from a lower social class than her own. This man convinced her to buy her half brother’s share of the family brewery, which he wanted to run, for a huge price. But on their wedding day, the man never appeared, instead sending a note which Miss Havisham received at twenty minutes to nine—the time at which she later stopped all her clocks. It was assumed that Miss Havisham’s lover was in league with her half brother and that they split the profits from the brewery sale. At some later point, Miss Havisham adopted Estella, but Herbert does not know when or where.

Summary: Chapter 23

The next day, Pip visits the unpleasant commercial world of the Royal Exchange before going to Matthew Pocket’s house to be tutored and to have dinner. The Pockets’ home is a bustling, chaotic place where the servants run the show. Matthew is absentminded but kind, and his wife is socially ambitious but not well born; the children are being raised by the nurse. Pip’s fellow students are a strange pair: Bentley Drummle, a future baronet, is oafish and unpleasant, and a young man named Startop is soft and delicate. At dinner, Pip concentrates on his table manners and observes the peculiarities of the Pockets’ social lives.

Summary: Chapter 24

Pip returns to Jaggers’s office in order to arrange to share rooms with Herbert. There Pip befriends the lively Wemmick, who invites him to dinner. Pip sees Jaggers in the courtroom, where he is a potent and menacing force, frightening even the judge with his thundering speeches.

Summary: Chapter 25

Pip continues to get to know his fellow students and the Pockets, attending dinners at both Wemmick’s and Jaggers’s. Wemmick’s house is like something out of a dream, an absurd “castle” in Walworth that he shares with his “Aged Parent.” Pip observes that Wemmick seems to have a new personality when he enters his home: while he is cynical and dry at work, at home he seems jovial and merry.

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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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56 out of 80 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 55 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 58 people found this helpful

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