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Great Expectations

Great Expectations


by Charles Dickens

Great Expectations Chapter 20 Quotes

How we cite the quotes:


Quote 1

The journey from our town to the metropolis, was a journey of about five hours. It was a little past mid-day when the four-horse stage-coach by which I was a passenger, got into the ravel of traffic frayed out about the Cross Keys, Wood-street, Cheapside, London. (20.1)

Okay, five hours is probably more like twenty minutes today. But just because you can get to London in a day doesn't mean that the two places have much in common: to Pip, this is like moving all the way across the continent for college.


Quote 2

As I declined the proposal on the plea of an appointment, he was so good as to take me into a yard and show me where the gallows was kept, and also where people were publicly whipped, and then he showed me the Debtors' Door, out of which culprits came to be hanged: heightening the interest of that dreadful portal by giving me to understand that "four on 'em" would come out at that door the day after to-morrow at eight in the morning, to be killed in a row. This was horrible, and gave me a sickening idea of London: the more so as the Lord Chief Justice's proprietor wore (from his hat down to his boots and up again to his pocket-handkerchief inclusive) mildewed clothes, which had evidently not belonged to him originally, and which, I took it into my head, he had bought cheap of the executioner. Under these circumstances I thought myself well rid of him for a shilling. (20.19)

Pip's (and our) first introduction to London life appropriately (or inappropriately) involves a tour of the yard where criminals are publicly tortured or executed. Fun, fun, fun. But these aren't necessarily horrible, heinous, bloody crimes that would induce such public punishment (in our 21st century minds)—we hear about the "Debtors' Door" suggesting that people are often punished for issues of money and debt (not exactly the bloodiest crimes ever). There's close relationship between crime, money, and survival.

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