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Great Expectations

Great Expectations


by Charles Dickens

Great Expectations Chapter 17 Quotes

How we cite the quotes:


Quote 1

"[…] see how I am going on. Dissatisfied, and uncomfortable, and—what would it signify to me, being coarse and common, if nobody had told me so!" (17.33)

Pip seems to associate ignorance with innocence—but that's probably not going to work as an excuse when you don't want to study for your econ test.

Quote 2

So unchanging was the dull old house, the yellow light in the darkened room, the faded spectre in the chair by the dressing-table glass, that I felt as if the stopping of the clocks had stopped Time in that mysterious place, and, while I and everything else outside it grew older, it stood still. (17.2)

Satis House may show the passage of time, but somehow it seems untouched by time—weird. Like Miss Havisham, it's both stuck in time and destroyed by time.

Pip > Biddy

Quote 3

"Biddy," said I, after binding her to secrecy, "I want to be a gentleman." (17.24)

Almost all of the people Pip knows have specific societal roles with specific societal functions: the tailor, the blacksmith, the clerk, the lawyer, the seedsman, the shipping agent, and all of these people seem content in their lives of earning profit and creating things. Not Pip. His goal is much more vague: a gentleman. What is a gentleman? What does a gentleman do? How will Pip know when he becomes a gentleman? And isn't that vagueness kind of the point? If you can't define it, it's easy for someone else to tell you that you're not one.

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