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Great Expectations

Great Expectations


by Charles Dickens

Great Expectations Chapter 17 Quotes

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Quote 4

And now, because my mind was not confused enough before, I complicated its confusion fifty thousand-fold, by having states and seasons when I was clear that Biddy was immeasurably better than Estella, and that the plain honest working life to which I was born, had nothing in it to be ashamed of, but offered me sufficient means of self-respect and happiness. (17.74)

Pip is divided here between the familiar and the, well, sexy. Biddy is familiar, which makes her common in a literal sense: it's common for Pip to see her, because she basically lives with him. Estella is uncommon not because she's beautiful and well-education but because he doesn't spend a lot of time in close contact with her. Learning to value the common is part of Pip's growing up.


Quote 5

At those times, I would decide conclusively that my disaffection to dear old Joe and the forge, was gone, and that I was growing up in a fair way to be partners with Joe and to keep company with Biddy—when all in a moment some confounding remembrance of the Havisham days would fall upon me, like a destructive missile, and scatter my wits again. Scattered wits take a long time picking up; and often, before I had got them well together, they would be dispersed in all directions by one stray thought, that perhaps after all Miss Havisham was going to make my fortune when my time was out. (17.74)

Mo' money, mo' problems—or, "mo' thinking about money, mo' problems." Just when Pip begins to warm up to his destined trade and life, the prospect of money throws everything into chaos.

Pip > Biddy

Quote 6

"If I could only get myself to fall in love with you—you don't mind my speaking so openly to such an old acquaintance?"

"Oh dear, not at all!" said Biddy. "Don't mind me."

"If I could only get myself to do it, that would be the thing for me."

"But you never will, you see," said Biddy. (17.53-56)

Oh, Pip, you are such a charmer. We just love it when someone tells us that he wishes he could force himself to fall in love with us in order to solve all of his problems—it makes us feel just like cough medicine or extra-strength Advil. In this moment, Pip identifies his inability to control love as well as the way in which he's been blinded by love, but he's still so blind that he can't see that Biddy is TOTALLY IN LOVE WITH HIM. For now.

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