Chapter 27 (Volume 2, Chapter 8) (Instalment 17):

Joe comes to Barnard's Inn / Joe's message from Miss Havisham

Synopsis of Chapter 27 (Volume 2, Chapter 8) (Instalment 17)

Pip receives a letter from Biddy announcing Joe is coming to London and wishes to meet him. Pip is embarrassed at the prospect, and when Joe arrives he is awkward and ill at ease, recalling his behaviour at Satis House (see Chapter 13).

Joe tells Pip that Mr. Wopsle has begun a career on the stage in London. Joe mistakes the servant for a friend of Pip's, and his behaviour becomes increasingly embarrassing, so that Pipis relieved when Herbert leaves for the office. Miss Havisham has asked Joe to inform Pip that Estella would like to see him.

Joe leaves after making a dignified speech in which he declares that he does not belong out of the forge and that Pip would not think so badly of him if he were to see him there. Pip is both moved and guilty.

Commentary on Chapter 27 (Volume 2, Chapter 8) (Instalment 17)

and with both of these horrible requirements he haunted my existence Pip knows he is being tyrannized by his servant, whom he feels as a burden.

there certainly were a peck of orange-peel Joe is being cautious: the orange peel was thrown at the stage by a dissatisfied audience. Mr. Wopsle's Hamlet was evidently as bad as Pip imagines. A peck was a measure of weight.

Miss A, or otherwise Havisham Joe drops his aitches, and assumes Miss Havisham's name begins with A. Presumably Pip also dropped his aitches until shortly before this moment.

I felt my face … more encouragement He acknowledges that he did not want to see Joe, but would have been more eager to do so if he had known that Joe had a message about Estella.

Diwisions among such must come, and must be met as they come Joe is fully aware of the social distance that now lies between him and Pip.

Investigating Chapter 27 (Volume 2, Chapter 8) (Instalment 17)
  • Look for evidence in this chapter of Pip's understanding of Joe's difficulties and his failure to help Joe
  • How does Dickens use Joe's behaviour at Pip's lodgings to carry the narrative forward and to develop character?


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