Study Guide

Great Expectations Chapter 11

By Charles Dickens

Chapter 11

  • It's Miss Havisham day!
  • Pip arrives at the gate, and again Estella disdainfully lets him in and guides him down the dark passages.
  • Today, however, he waits in a different room with three ladies and gentleman. These are Miss Havisham's relatives, and they're all just sick with worry about her. They talk dismissively of a one "Matthew Pocket."
  • When they finally notice Pip, they look at him like he were a piece of moldy meat.
  • We're pretty sure we don't like these people.
  • Estella takes Pip up to Miss Havisham's room. He says he doesn't feel like playing, but he's totally down to work.
  • Miss Havisham takes Pip across the hall to another big room. There's a long table with some kind of blob sticking out of the middle of it. Little speckled spiders are running every which way, but mostly into the blob, like there's a spider convention going on inside the blob.
  • There are slower moving beetles chilling by the fireplace, and Pip can hear mice running behind the walls.
  • So, Dickens has basically just described Shmoop's worst nightmare.
  • Miss Havisham tells Pip that this is her wedding feast, and that the blob is her bride-cake. Ew. When she dies, she wants to be laid on that very same table where her beyond-rotting wedding feast lies.
  • Miss Havisham grabs hold of Pip's shoulder and tells him to walk, and so he walks her around and around the room.
  • Pretty soon, Estella and the relatives come traipsing into the room, but Miss Havisham is so not interested in them, even though they spend a lot of time telling her how they're all worried about her (and how dumb they think some guy named Matthew Pocket is).
  • Miss Havisham has had about enough of this, and she bangs her cane on the ground and insists that Matthew Pocket will stand at the head of the table. This shuts the visitors up, and they all head out.
  • Apparently, it's Miss Havisham's birthday, and they visit her every year on her birthday.
  • Estella comes back into the room after having escorted the guests out, and the three of them stand in silence as Miss Havisham imagines her dead body on the table.
  • After some more card-playing, Pip is wandering through the garden and greenhouse looking at all of the deformed, overgrown vegetables when he sees another (totally random) little boy studying. The little boy is very pale and has red eye-lids.
  • After playing twenty questions, the little boy asks Pip to fight. Pip, not wanting to be rude, accepts.
  • The boys find a little protected nook, and the little boy brings over a sponge and bucket of water and vinegar. Pip is a little worried he's gotten in over his head, especially when the little boy starts fancy footing around, balling up his fists and going over the rules.
  • As you can guess, it's not much of a fight. Pip basically knocks the kid out in ten seconds, but it's all very friendly.
  • When Pip heads out, Estella appears out of nowhere, and she's kind of flushed. She tells Pip that he can kiss her on the cheek, and he immediately accepts.
  • It is really dark when Pip finally arrives home, and he can see the glow of Joe's forge fire reflected on the marshes.