Study Guide

Great Expectations Chapter 18

By Charles Dickens

Chapter 18

  • Pip has been apprenticing for four years when, one Saturday night at the Three Jolly Bargemen, something happens.
  • Pip and the boys are sitting around the fire listening to Mr. Wopsle give a dramatic reading about a recent murder when a mysterious man butts in and asks the group who they believe to be the murderer.
  • After some very lawyerly cross-examination, the man says that he wants to speak with a blacksmith named Joe Gargery and his apprentice, Pip. Whaaaa?
  • Pip, Joe, and the strange man walk home, where we find out that Mr. Mystery #2 is Mr. Jaggers, a London lawyer, who has come to tell Pip about his "great expectations."
  • He's about to inherit a huge fortune and will be made into a London gentleman.
  • !!!
  • Mr. Jaggers offers Joe money to compensate for losing an apprentice, but he refuses—and he's not too happy about being offered it, either.
  • Pip's benefactor will remain unknown to him until he/she chooses to reveal himself/herself, but in the meantime, Pip needs an education. How about Mr. Matthew Pocket, Miss Havisham's estranged relative, as a potential tutor?
  • Pip accepts.
  • Pip and Joe are speechless throughout this entire encounter.
  • Mr. Jaggers gives Pip twenty pounds to buy new clothes, offers Joe money again, gets rejected—quite violently—again, and then heads off.
  • Everyone is kind of blown away by this whole thing, but they try to be happy for Pip.
  • In bed, he overhears Joe and Biddy saying nice things about him, and, for some reason, he's lonelier than he's ever been before in his entire life.

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