Study Guide

Great Expectations Chapter 34

By Charles Dickens

Chapter 34

  • Pip can't stop thinking about Estella. Yeah, yeah, yeah. What's new? He also feels pretty bad about the way he's been treating Joe, neglecting him and all.
  • He even wishes he'd never met Miss Havisham so he could be working in the forge with Joe this very minute, without all these anxieties and worries.
  • Pip is living the life of a London playboy, meaning that he's spending money that he doesn't have (yet). The debts are piling high, and, what's worse is that he's had a negative influence on Herbert, his best friend in the world.
  • We all know Herbert is pretty awesome. If he weren't Pip's friend, he wouldn't be drawn to the high life and he wouldn't be spending so much money.
  • How are the boys spending so much money? On booze, jewelry, food, and the Finches.
  • Oh yes, the Finches. The Finches eat dinner every two weeks and get really, really drunk. They're a society of men, kind of like a fraternity but not associated with college. When Pip first encounters them, guess who he sees? Bentley "the spider" Drummle, who likes to get so drunk that he runs into streetlamps. He's a charmer.
  • Pip and Herbert start having to eat less and less, and, while Herbert keeps a positive attitude about his career, things just aren't looking good.
  • So the boys resort to the age-old stand by that always makes them feel better: they calculate their debts.
  • Herbert's not so good at staying on task, but Pip helps him. They order a delicious dinner and a good bottle of wine, and they add up all of their debts. Afterwards, Pip arranges the bills in neat little piles, and he feels really good about himself. He feels like he's accomplished something, he feels smart, and he feels like he's helped his good friend.
  • Suddenly, a note is slipped through the door. Pip opens it and discovers that his sister, Mrs. Joe, has died and that her funeral will be on Monday. Guilt-city, here we come.

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