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Great Expectations | Study Guide

Charles Dickens

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Great Expectations | Chapter Summaries

See Chapter Summaries Chart

Timeline of Events

  • December 1812

    Pip accidentally meets an escaped convict who orders Pip to get him food and a file.

    Chapter 1
  • Next day

    Pip sees soldiers catch the convict; he claims he stole food from a blacksmith.

    Chapter 5
  • Several years later

    Pip meets Miss Havisham and falls in love with Estella, even though she treats him cruelly.

    Chapter 8
  • Four years later

    Jaggers, a lawyer, tells Pip an anonymous benefactor wants to make Pip a gentleman.

    Chapter 18
  • A week later

    In London Pip befriends Herbert Pocket, who aids Pip's education as a gentleman.

    Chapter 22
  • Several days later

    Pip meets the brutish Drummle, who becomes Pip's rival for Estella.

    Chapter 23
  • Several years later

    Pip meets Estella in London and continues to love her, even though she does not return this love.

    Chapter 33
  • Two years later

    The convict, Magwitch, tells Pip he is Pip's benefactor.

    Chapter 39
  • Days later

    Pip confronts Miss Havisham for implying she is his benefactor. Estella will marry Drummle.

    Chapter 44
  • Weeks later

    Miss Havisham asks Pip to forgive her, and her dress catches fire. Pip puts out the flames.

    Chapter 49
  • A few months later

    Pip fails to get Magwitch out of the country. Magwitch is arrested.

    Chapter 54
  • Eleven years later

    Pip meets Estella, who has developed a loving heart, and plans to stay with her.

    Chapter 59

Chapter Summaries Chart

Chapter Summary
Chapters 1–2 A boy named Philip Pirrip, nicknamed Pip, gazes at the graves of his parents in a church cemetery situated on a stark ... Read More
Chapters 3–4 Pip carries his handkerchief bundle filled with food and a file into the marsh. Pip comes upon a man whom he assumes i... Read More
Chapters 5–6 The sergeant in charge of the soldiers asks Joe if he could repair handcuffs and then explains they are tracking down ... Read More
Chapters 7–8 Pip becomes Joe's "odd-boy," or one who does odd jobs. The money Pip earns goes into Mrs. Joe's cash box and, therefor... Read More
Chapters 9–10 After Pip returns home from Miss Havisham's, Mrs. Joe and Pumblechook grill the boy about his experience at Satis Hous... Read More
Chapters 11–12 Pip visits Satis House, and Estella escorts him to a room where three women (Mrs. Camilla, Sarah Pocket, and Georgiana... Read More
Chapters 13–14 Mrs. Joe, Joe, and Pip walk to Pumblechook's shop, where Mrs. Joe stays. Joe and Pip continue on to Satis House. Estel... Read More
Chapters 15–16 Pip leaves school after learning as much from Biddy as he can. Pip tutors Joe, trying to make him more worthy in the e... Read More
Chapters 17–18 Pip visits Miss Havisham on his birthday. He finds the situation at Satis House identical to his previous visits: Miss... Read More
Chapters 19–20 Pip and Joe spend their last time together at the Battery. Later Pip asks Biddy to improve Joe's education and manners... Read More
Chapters 21–22 Wemmick leads Pip to his lodgings at Barnard's Inn. Instead of being a hotel, Barnard's Inn proves to be collection of... Read More
Chapters 23–24 Pip meets Mr. Matthew Pocket, his tutor. Pip soon learns that Mrs. Pocket was raised with the expectation of marrying ... Read More
Chapters 25–26 Pip describes Drummle as a sluggish snob who is not intelligent and keeps to himself. In contrast Startop is a person ... Read More
Chapters 27–28 A letter from Biddy to Pip announces that Joe is coming to London to visit Pip. Pip prepares for the visit, feeling wo... Read More
Chapters 29–30 On his way to Miss Havisham's, Pip daydreams about Estella being chosen for him and rescuing her from Satis House. Pip... Read More
Chapters 31–32 Pip and Herbert attend a performance of Hamlet, in which Mr. Wopsle plays the title role. The performance is so bad th... Read More
Chapters 33–34 Pip meets Estella as she gets out of her coach. She is more beautiful than ever. As she talks to Pip, Estella gives th... Read More
Chapters 35–36 Pip admits he has no tenderness for Mrs. Joe but does feel a hint of regret, which softens his memories of their relat... Read More
Chapters 37–38 Pip visits Wemmick's house, crossing the drawbridge and entering the castle. The Aged P. pulls up the drawbridge and i... Read More
Chapters 39–40 Two years after the end of the previous chapter, Pip is now 23 years old, and he and Herbert have moved to nicer rooms... Read More
Chapters 41–42 Magwitch explains everything to an astounded Herbert. Pip takes Magwitch to his apartment and then returns to his own ... Read More
Chapters 43–44 Pip becomes concerned about Compeyson finding out that Magwitch has returned. Also Pip realizes Estella has gone to Sa... Read More
Chapters 45–46 Pip goes to a hotel in Covent Garden, where he spends a restless night wondering why he should not go home and whether... Read More
Chapters 47–48 Pip avoids reading the newspaper because he doesn't want to learn that Estella has married Drummle. He remains anxious... Read More
Chapters 49–50 Pip goes to Satis House and visits Miss Havisham in the room with the decaying wedding cake. Miss Havisham asks Pip to... Read More
Chapters 51–52 Pip, with his arm in a sling, goes to Mr. Jaggers's office and interrupts Jaggers and Wemmick as they are checking off... Read More
Chapters 53–54 Pip heads onto the marshes to the limekiln, where he sees the old sluice-house. Pip knocks at the door but doesn't hea... Read More
Chapters 55–56 Pip tells Mr. Jaggers not to let Magwitch know that his fortune will not be inherited by Pip but instead will be forfe... Read More
Chapters 57–58 Pip reveals he has accrued large debts. Also Pip becomes so ill that he is unable to leave his bed. Officials visit hi... Read More
Chapter 59 Chapter 59 begins with Pip, after working 11 years for Clarriker's, visiting Joe and Biddy at their home. There Pip meet... Read More
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