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Great Expectations

Great Expectations


by Charles Dickens

Great Expectations Herbert Pocket Quotes

Herbert Pocket > Pip

Quote 1

"Then the time comes," said Herbert, "when you see your opening. And you go in, and you swoop upon it and you make your capital, and then there you are! When you have once made your capital, you have nothing to do but employ it." (22.90)

Herbert's concept of money and wealth involves usability. He doesn't want to own things just to own them; he wants his money to lead him to new ventures and to expose him to new places and ideas. Not Pip. Pip's concept of wealth and fortune is tied to an image of Miss Havisham's world, but her world is a stagnant one in which time has stopped and nothing grows. It's no coincidence that Herbert's capitalist concept of wealth made England so powerful in the nineteenth century. (And Dickens totally knew it.)

Herbert Pocket > Pip

Quote 2

"The marriage day was fixed, the wedding dresses were bought, the wedding tour was planned out, the wedding guests were invited. The day came, but not the bridegroom. He wrote her a letter—"

"Which she received," I struck in, "when she was dressing for her marriage? At twenty minutes to nine?"

"At the hour and minute," said Herbert, nodding, "at which she afterwards stopped all the clocks." (22.55)

It's easy to roll your eyes at Miss Havisham for being way dramatic—it's just a wedding, get over it, lady—but it really does effectively end her life. In nineteenth-century England, being dumped like this is social homicide.

Herbert Pocket > Pip

Quote 3

"Her father was a country gentleman down in your part of the world, and was a brewer. I don't know why it should be a crack thing to be a brewer; but it is indisputable that while you can't possibly be genteel and bake, you may be as genteel as never was and brew. You see it every day." (22.42)

Huh. So, you can use yeast to make beer and still be considered a gentleman, but you can't use yeast to make bread and be considered a gentleman? With rules like that, no wonder Pip constantly feels lost.