* Site-Outage Notice: Our engineering elves will be tweaking the Shmoop site from Monday, December 22 10:00 PM PST to Tuesday, December 23 5:00 AM PST. The site will be unavailable during this time.
© 2014 Shmoop University, Inc. All rights reserved.
Great Expectations

Great Expectations

by Charles Dickens

Great Expectations Pip Quotes Page 16

Quote #46

I consumed the whole time in thinking how strange it was that I should be encompassed by all this taint of prison and crime; that, in my childhood out on our lonely marshes on a winter evening I should have first encountered it; that, it should have reappeared on two occasions, starting out like a stain that was faded but not gone; that, it should in this new way pervade my fortune and advancement. (2.33.43)

Again and again, Pip aids in the breaking of laws. And not just in little ways like double parking or jays-walking, but in big ways like harboring an escaped and exiled convict. However, do we ever feel in our guts like Pip is doing something morally wrong when he takes in Magwitch or steals food for Magwitch? Do we ever say to ourselves, "Oh Pip, we really wouldn't do that. You should definitely kick Magwitch out into the stormy night"? Not really. If Magwitch is deemed by society to be representative of everything corrupt and rotten within it, then how do we feel about society? You think maybe society doesn't really know what's going on?

Quote #47

While my mind was thus engaged, I thought of the beautiful young Estella, proud and refined, coming towards me, and I thought with absolute abhorrence of the contrast between the jail and her. (33.46)

Estella is pretty, the jail is not. Estella wears perfume, the jail doesn't. Estella has nice clothes, the jail doesn't, etc., etc., etc. We get it. They're different. But when we think about it, Estella and the jail would probably hit it off pretty well on a blind date. Remember how Estella was always the gatekeeper when Pip was little? Remember how inaccessible and untouchable Estella is to Pip? Remember how Pip wants to become a gentleman and to be accepted by society in order to please Estella?

Quote #48

I cautioned him that I must hear no more of that; that he was not at all likely to obtain a pardon; that he was expatriated for the term of his natural life; and that his presenting himself in this country would be an act of felony, rendering him liable to the extreme penalty of the law. (40.96)

Jaggers, who is a beacon of truth and lawfulness, lays out very clearly the reasons why Magwitch should not return to England. And the way he phrases it, we have to agree: Magwitch should definitely not ever return to England. The problem? The legal system is broken. Why should Magwitch have to obey a corrupt system?

Noodle's College Search