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by Charles Dickens
Great Expectations Chapter 16 Summary
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There's a general consensus that one of the escaped convicts is to blame, since there's a convict's leg iron found at the scene of the crime. But it's weird. The attacker struck Mrs. Joe from the back and didn't take anything in the house. And it gets weirder: a prison ship guard says that the leg-iron wouldn't have been worn by a recent convict, since it's totally last year's model. Pip suspects either Orlick or the mysterious man who gave him the two one-pound notes. Sure, Orlick has the alibi of being out and about around town, but there was the little matter of him hiding out by the road. Plus, if the mysterious man were to have asked Mrs. Joe for his money, she would have given to him, since she tried to give it to him in the first place. In any case, the leg-iron is the one that his convict severed and left on the marshes those many years before. Pip feels REALLY guilty, like an accessory to his sister's assault. Mrs. Joe has lost her hearing and can hardly see, and she can't move or talk without great difficulty. The family gives her a chalk board, but they have a hard time figuring out what she writes/draws. Fortunately, Biddy comes to live with the Gargerys, and she understands Mrs. Joe really well. One day, Mrs. Joe draws a picture of a hammer, and Biddy eventually realizes that she's asking for Orlick. Orlick is brought to Mrs. Joe, and she's just delighted to see him. Orlick feels super awkward about the whole thing, but she asks for him every day.
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