Chapter 35 (Volume 2, Chapter 16) (Instalment 21):

My sister's funeral / I take Biddy to task

Synopsis of Chapter 35 (Volume 2, Chapter 16) (Instalment 21)

Pip is shocked by the news of his sister's death. He is aware that he feels little grief because he did not love his sister, but feels great anger against her assailant, whom he assumes is Orlick. When he returns to the forge he experiences a gentler memory of his earlier days. Mr. Trabb has taken over the funeral arrangements.

Joe, Pip and Biddy eat a very constrained dinner, with Joe on his best behaviour, and they relax a little afterwards, especially when Pip asks to sleep in his old room. Pip and Biddy have a conversation which reveals Pip's insensitivity to her feelings. Pip is incensed when he realizes they are being watched by Orlick, but Biddy calms him down and they talk of Joe's gentle character and his love for Pip. Pip tells Biddy that he will visit Joe, but she gently suggests that this might not happen. He later admits to himself that Biddy was right to suggest he would not visit Joe in the future.

Commentary on Chapter 35 (Volume 2, Chapter 16) (Instalment 21)

remind[ing] humanity how it brought nothing into the world and can take nothing out Words from the Order for the Burial of the Dead in The Book of Common Prayer. They have an extra level of meaning at this stage of the novel, given Pip's preoccupation with worldly goods and status.

and I was pleased too ... making the request Pip seems to feel no regret about the time he stayed at the Blue Boar, failing even to visit Joe, but he feels that he is doing Joe a favour by asking to stay.

I reflected what … Biddy had done to me Pip's blindness about his behaviour is made worse by his indignant self-pity.

Investigating Chapter 35 (Volume 2, Chapter 16) (Instalment 21)
  • Re-read the last paragraph of this chapter
    • Is this Pip talking as he walks away that morning, or the older Pip reflecting on the event?


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