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Great Expectations | Quotes

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1.

My sister's bringing up had made me sensitive. In the little world in which children have their existence, whosoever brings them up, there is nothing so finely perceived and so finely felt, as injustice.


Pip, Chapter 8

This quotation shows how Mrs. Joe's unfair treatment of Pip strongly affects the formation of Pip's character. Pip becomes sensitive to unfair treatment, such as by Estella and Miss Havisham, and wants to change this by becoming an "oncommon" person in the eyes of society.

2.

If you can't get to be oncommon through going straight, you'll never get to do it through going crooked. So don't tell no more on 'em, Pip, and live well and die happy.


Joe Gargery, Chapter 9

Joe Gargery follows a simple but wise principle: a person cannot become exceptional by telling lies. The act of lying contradicts being exceptional. Because Joe lives by this principle, he is an exceptional person, a man of integrity.

3.

Further, that it is the desire of the present possessor of that property, that he be immediately removed from his present sphere of life and from this place, and be brought up as a gentleman—in a word, as a young fellow of great expectations.


Mr. Jaggers, Chapter 18

Mr. Jaggers conveys one of the main plot points of the novel. Pip's dreams of becoming a gentleman have now become a reality.

4.

We changed again, and yet again, and it was now too late and too far to go back, and I went on. And the mists had all solemnly risen now, and the world lay spread before me.


Pip, Chapter 19

Although this quotation literally deals with changing coaches, it can also be read as a metaphor for the changes in a person's life. Pip's attitude toward Joe and his home village has changed and, because of this, Pip feels he must move forward with this change to what lies ahead of him, instead of going back.

5.

I loved her against reason, against promise, against peace, against hope, against happiness, against all discouragement that could be.


Pip, Chapter 29

Pip conveys his obsessive love for Estella. Even though Pip is aware that this love makes him miserable and is probably futile, he still cannot prevent himself from loving Estella.

6.

Love her, love her, love her! If she favors you, love her. If she wounds you, love her. If she tears your heart to pieces—and as it gets older and stronger, it will tear deeper—love her, love her, love her!


Miss Havisham, Chapter 29

Miss Havisham expresses her obsession of having Estella break men's hearts. Miss Havisham knows what Pip is feeling; she felt this herself. However, in her bitterness, Miss Havisham wants to inflict her pain on Pip by having him go through the same torment she suffered.

7.

I must be taken as I have been made. The success is not mine, the failure is not mine, but the two together make me.


Estella, Chapter 38

Estella matter-of-factly absolves herself of all responsibility for her actions and places the blame on Miss Havisham. Estella has become the puppet of the puppet master, Miss Havisham. It is the puppet master who must take responsibility for the puppet's actions.

8.

Take nothing on its looks; take everything on evidence. There's no better rule.


Mr. Jaggers, Chapter 40

Mr. Jaggers conveys the basic principle on which he bases his life. For Jaggers, facts and evidence should be emphasized. As a result he often cross-examines people to make them convey the basic facts of a situation, without any ambiguity. In contrast Pip often ignores hard facts and jumps to too many conclusions.

9.

So fur as I could find, there warn't a soul that see young Abel Magwitch, with us little on him as in him, but wot caught fright at him, and either drove him off, or took him up. I was took up, took up, took up, to that extent that I reg'larly grow'd up took up.


Magwitch, Chapter 42

This passage reveals that Magwitch became a criminal because of the situation he grew up in. The term took up refers to being arrested. So as a child Magwitch was constantly arrested, thereby branding him a criminal at an early age.

10.

[S]uffering has been stronger than all other teaching, and has taught me to understand what your heart used to be. I have been bent and broken, but—I hope—into a better shape.


Estella, Chapter 59

Estella expresses how the hardships of her life taught her to sympathize with the sufferings of others, such as Pip. Because of this she has become a better person. The same could be said for Pip.

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