Study Guide

Great Expectations Chapter 57

By Charles Dickens

Chapter 57

  • Pip realizes that he's now completely alone and that he has a heap of debts, and no money.
  • He puts his bills in the windows, and lets his landlord know that he'll be heading out soon.
  • But then he gets sick. Really sick. Feverishly sick. He starts hallucinating and sleepwalking. He finds himself grappling for a boat by the river, lighting a lamp for Magwitch. He thinks Miss Havisham is roasting in a furnace in the corner of his room. He talks to himself.
  • His creditors show up one day, but Pip only vaguely remembers them. They tell him he's arrested and make him get up and get dressed, and the next thing he knows, people are trying to help him.
  • These "people" become Joe. Joe has come to take care of him.
  • Pip feels super guilty, because Joe is wonderful as ever and showers him with love.
  • Eventually, Pip gets better and realizes that Biddy has taught Joe how to write.
  • There's some other news: Miss Havisham has died and divided up her wealth appropriately, not forgetting Mr. Pocket or Herbert.
  • Also, Orlick robbed Mr. Pumblechook, tied him to a bedpost, slapped him around, and stuffed flowers in his mouth. Orlick is now in jail.
  • Well, that took long enough.
  • Joe and Pip go on a field trip into the country one Sunday, just like old times. Pip is eternally grateful to Joe. He tries to tell Joe about Magwitch and about the last few years, but Joe just tells him that what's past is past.
  • Joe apologizes to Pip for never having been able to stop Mrs. Joe from beating him as a little boy. See, when he did try to stop her, she just beat Pip more severely.
  • As Pip gets better, Joe starts to act differently around him. Joe starts to call Pip "sir" again which basically rips Pip's heart out.
  • One Sunday night before bed, Joe asks Pip how he's feeling. Pip replies that he's feeling quite nice.
  • When he wakes up the next morning, he finds a note from Joe saying goodbye. Joe includes a receipt to show that all of Pip's debts have been paid off.
  • Pip is devastated. So are we.
  • But he has a plan. He'll follow Joe home, he'll propose to Biddy, and he'll work side by side with Joe in the forge.
  • Three days later, he heads home.