Chapter 18 (Volume 1, Chapter 18) (Instalment 11):

The strange Gentleman / Under examination by Mr. Jaggers / The examination proceeds / Biddy is informed that I am a Gentleman

Synopsis of Chapter 18 (Volume 1, Chapter 18) (Instalment 11)

The Temptation of ChristPip is now in the fourth year of his apprenticeship. A stranger arrives asking for Pip, who has seen the man before at Satis House. He is Mr.Jaggers, the agent of an anonymous benefactor from whom Pip has ‘Great Expectations' and Pip must now be brought up as a gentleman. Assuming that Miss Havisham is the benefactor, Pip has visions of being made worthy of Estella. Pip will have to keep his name and never try to find out his benefactor's identity. Money is already available and Mr.Jaggers is appointed Pip's guardian.
Mr.Jaggers three times offers Joe money to compensate him for the loss of his apprentice, but Joe is offended, asserting his love for Pip and his pleasure at his good fortune. The scene is an echo of the temptation of Christ by Satan (Luke 4:1-13).

Pip feels gloomy as his departure approaches, and mopes in his bedroom as Joe inarticulately expresses his sadness to Biddy in the garden outside.

Commentary on Chapter 18 (Volume 1, Chapter 18) (Instalment 11)

A highly popular murder had been committed i.e. one that attracted great attention and comment.

the strange gentleman … occasionally bit the side of his finger Dickens' technique of fixing character partly through mannerism is clear here. (See also Characterisation: Creation of character).

as if he considered him a fool for his disinterestedness Joe has declared he wants no compensation for the loss of his apprentice. Mr.Jaggers, as a lawyer, finds this incomprehensible.

‘I don't recommend him, observe; because I never recommend anybody. Mr.Jaggers keeps a dry businesslike distance between himself and any responsibility.

but there was a certain touch … that I rather resented Pip can see things only from his own perspective. Anything in the minds of others is beyond him.

it seemed to hint … for some reason or other Pip sees only his own sadness. This is also, perhaps, the first hint of the later marriage of Joe and Biddy.

Investigating Chapter 18 (Volume 1, Chapter 18) (Instalment 11)
  • Look at the early part of the chapter and make notes about how the gathering at the inn reacts to the arrival of the stranger
  • How does Pip react to Mr. Jaggers?
  • What are your own thoughts on who Pip's benefactor is?
    • Do you find yourself agreeing with Pip's logic?
Related material
Scan and go

Scan on your mobile for direct link.