Chapter 59 (Volume 3, Chapter 20) (Instalment 36):

The figure in the Ruin

Synopsis of Chapter 59 (Volume 3, Chapter 20) (Instalment 36)

Eleven years after leaving, Pip comes quietly back to the forge, peeps in and sees a slightly grey Joe sitting by the fire with a child who looks exactly like Pip. Pip and his nephew, also called Pip, get on well together and visit the churchyard, where the family's tragedies now seem much further away. Pip has heard that Estella was miserably unhappy in her marriage to Drummle, who beat her, and that she had separated from him before his death. He thinks she might have remarried.

Pip goes that evening to the site of Satis House, and finds it cleared except for the wall of the garden. He meets Estella: it is the first time each has returned to the scene since their last meeting there. Estella explains that most of her property was lost during her marriage, but the site of Satis House is her last possession, soon to be sold for building, and she has returned to see it for the last time. Estella speaks as if she thinks this is their final parting, and asks Pip's forgiveness for her cruelty; but Pip hopes for a happier outcome.

Commentary on Chapter 59 (Volume 3, Chapter 20) (Instalment 36)

‘Dear Pip,' said Biddy, ‘you are sure you don't fret for her?' Pip clearly has not forgotten Estella, and Biddy is unlikely to be deceived by his denial.

the day had quite declined when I came to the place Pip has perhaps delayed his visit to arrive at Satis House as the sun sets, but this is also a scene in which Dickens again uses light and weather to establish a mood.

I have been bent and broken but - I hope - into a better shape Like Pip, Estella has learned from her sufferings and now sees life differently.

Investigating Chapter 59 (Volume 3, Chapter 20) (Instalment 36)
  • Re-read the last paragraph
    • What do you think it suggests?
Related material
Scan and go

Scan on your mobile for direct link.