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Great Expectations

Charles Dickens

Important Quotations Explained

Quotes Important Quotations Explained

Quote 4

“Look’ee here, Pip. I’m your second father. You’re my son—more to me nor any son. I’ve put away money, only for you to spend. When I was a hired-out shepherd in a solitary hut, not seeing no faces but faces of sheep till I half-forgot wot men’s and women’s faces wos like, I see yourn. . . . I see you there a many times plain as ever I see you on them misty marshes. ‘Lord strike me dead!’ I says each time—and I goes out in the open air to say it under the open heavens—‘but wot, if I gets liberty and money, I’ll make that boy a gentleman!’ And I done it. Why, look at you, dear boy! Look at these here lodgings of yourn, fit for a lord! A lord? Ah! You shall show money with lords for wagers, and beat ’em!”

Magwitch makes this speech to Pip in Chapter 39, when he dramatically reveals himself as Pip’s secret benefactor and the source of all his wealth. This revelation is crucially important to the plot of the novel, as it collapses Pip’s idealistic view of wealth and social class by forcing him to realize that his own status as a gentleman is owed to the loyalty of a lower-class criminal. The quote is also important for what it reveals about Magwitch’s character: previously, the convict has seemed menacing, mysterious, and frightening; with this quote, we receive our first glimpse of his extraordinary inner nobility, manifested through the powerful sense of loyalty he feels toward Pip.