Chapter 44 (Volume 3, Chapter 5) (Instalment 27):

I speak to Miss Havisham and Estella / My love is unintelligible to Estella / I receive a warning

Synopsis of Chapter 44 (Volume 3, Chapter 5) (Instalment 27)

Pip's unexpected arrival puzzles Miss Havisham and Estella. His main purpose is to ask Miss Havisham to continue his secret help for Herbert now that he can no longer accept money from Magwitch.

Pip declares his love for Estella and reveals his hope that Miss Havisham had intended them to marry. Pip shows maturity and enhanced powers of moral perception. He no longer sees people's motives and actions only in relation to himself, but in the context of their own circumstances and difficulties. Estella coolly tells Pip that she is as incapable of loving Pip as she is of loving Drummle, whom she plans to marry. Pip sees Miss Havisham's triumphant reaction to this and in vain begs Estella not to be influenced by her.

Pip walks back to London but as he reaches the Temple the porter gives him a message from Wemmick, telling him not to go home.

Commentary on Chapter 44 (Volume 3, Chapter 5) (Instalment 27)

They both raised their eyes … the look they interchanged The testing new circumstances have brought about visible changes in Pip. His observations and perceptions have also begun to grow more reliable.

I fancied that I read … my real benefactor Pip's knowledge changes his approach to life and his manner of dealing with people; it means Miss Havisham has lost her hold over him.

Miss Havisham motioning me … which I had often seen her occupy Pip would never have needed more than one invitation before, and he would never have sat in a chair which he thought of as hers.

I am as unhappy as you could ever have meant me to be This conversation, observed silently by Estella, recalls the earlier conversation (in Ch. 33; Vol. 2, Ch. 14) when, before a silent Pip, Estella points out that in being hardhearted she has merely been following Miss Havisham's instruction.

‘They made themselves my friends … were not my friends, I think.' Pip makes clear the depth of his admiration for Matthew and Herbert Pocket and the moral difference between them and Miss Havisham's other relatives.

Should I fling myself away … took nothing to him? Estella is telling Pip that it would be a greater cruelty to marry him, precisely because he does love her, and would therefore be more hurt by her incapacity to return love.

But ever afterwards … pity and remorse The strength of Pip's feelings are a mystery to Estella, but Miss Havisham seems touched.

Investigating Chapter 44 (Volume 3, Chapter 5) (Instalment 27)
  • Look carefully at the language used by Pip in this chapter, and compare it to the language he used in, e.g., Ch. 8; Vol. 1, Ch. 8, when he was talking to Miss Havisham
    • How would you describe Pip as he is presented here?
  • Re-read the paragraph beginning ‘She gradually withdrew her eyes from me'.
    • What do you think might be going through Miss Havisham's mind in this pause in the conversation?
  • Re-read the three paragraphs beginning ‘Out of my thoughts! You are part of my existence …' and ending ‘… I could do nothing half so good for myself as tire myself out.'
    • How does Dickens present Pip's feelings?
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