Great Expectations


Chapter 1 to Chapter 10

Chapter One

The first chapter of Great Expectations introduces the narrator and protagonist of the novel, Philip Pirrip, who goes by the nickname “Pip.” Pip’s mother and father are dead, so he lives with his sister, Mrs. Joe Gargery. Pip never met his mother or father, but he imagines that his father was a “square, stout, dark man, with curly black hair.” He pictures his mother as weak and “freckly.” Five brothers of Pip are buried next to his parents.

Pip describes the setting of his homeland as a bleak marsh near the sea. After his description of the setting, Pip notes that he is standing near gravestones. Pip is afraid because he is accompanied by an escaped prisoner who threatens that if Pip moves, he will cut his throat. The prisoner is muddy and still has “a great iron” attached to his leg. The prisoner demands that Pip tell him his name and where he lives. The prisoner turns Pip upside down to empty his pockets, but all he finds is a piece of bread. The prisoner hungrily eats the bread as Pip tries to keep from crying.

After learning that Pip lives with his sister and her husband, who is a blacksmith, the prisoner asks Pip for a file and some “wittles,” which was a colloquial word for food. The prisoner demands that Pip bring the items to the Battery by the next morning. Agreeing, Pip watches the prisoner escape over the church wall.

Chapter Two

Chapter Two opens with Pip noting that his sister is 20 years older than he is. Because both of the parents are deceased, his sister has brought Pip up “by hand,” which means that she uses physical force to discipline him. Pip suspects that his sister uses the same force upon her husband. Tall and rough, Mrs. Joe Gargery always wears an apron. In stark contrast to his wife, Joe is pale and sweet. Although he is physically strong, Joe has an easygoing personality.

When Pip arrives home from the churchyard, Joe relays to him that his sister has been...

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Essays About Great Expectations