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Great Expectations

Great Expectations


by Charles Dickens

Great Expectations Pip Quotes


Quote 52

She said the word often enough, and there could be no doubt that she meant to say it; but if the often repeated word had been hate instead of love—despair—revenge—dire death—it could not have sounded from her lips more like a curse. (29.88)

Well, love is kind of a curse in Great Expectations. Literally the only people who end up together who actually seem to be in love are Clara and Herbert—and they have to go to Cairo for their happy ending.

Pip > Estella Havisham

Quote 53

"Out of my thoughts! You are part of my existence, part of myself. You have been in every line I have ever read, since I first came here, the rough common boy whose poor heart you wounded even then. You have been in every prospect I have ever seen since - on the river, on the sails of the ships, on the marshes, in the clouds, in the light, in the darkness, in the wind, in the woods, in the sea, in the streets. You have been the embodiment of every graceful fancy that my mind has ever become acquainted with. The stones of which the strongest London buildings are made, are not more real, or more impossible to be displaced by your hands, than your presence and influence have been to me, there and everywhere, and will be. Estella, to the last hour of my life, you can't choose but remain part of my character, part of the little good in me, part of the evil. But, in this separation I associate you only with the good, and I will faithfully hold you to that always, for you must have done me far more good than harm, let me feel now what sharp distress I may. O God bless you, God forgive you!" (44.70)

Sigh. This is pretty much one of the best love speeches ever, right? And notice that Pip grounds his description of love in images of nature and of the landscape that surrounds him: Estella isn't even human, she's so much a part of the particles around him. But—and this is just a thought—maybe this is part of the reason that Dickens didn't want Estella and Pip to end up together: his love isn't exactly selfless. In fact, it's still all about himself.


Quote 54

All other swindlers upon earth are nothing to the self-swindlers, and with such pretences did I cheat myself. Surely a curious thing. That I should innocently take a bad half-crown of somebody else's manufacture, is reasonable enough; but that I should knowingly reckon the spurious coin of my own make, as good money! An obliging stranger, under pretence of compactly folding up my bank-notes for security's sake, abstracts the notes and gives me nutshells; but what is his sleight of hand to mine, when I fold up my own nutshells and pass them on myself as notes! (28.1)

Actually, the way Pip describes this self-swindling, it sounds pretty impressive—like when you lie so hard about where you were after curfew that you even convince yourself.