Great Expectations

Great Expectations

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Great Expectations Book 2, Chapter 20 Summary & Analysis

Summary
Analysis
Pip arrives in gritty, dirty London and goes to Mr. Jaggers' office in Little Britain. The office is greasy and run-down, gloomily decorated with weapons and casts of swollen faces. Mr. Jaggers is in court and Wemmick, Jaggers' clerk, shows Pip in. While waiting, Pip takes a walk through filthy, bloody neighborhood of Smithfield, passing the black-domed Saint Paul's and Newgate Prison where a dirty, drunken minister of justice shows Pip the gallows, public whipping posts, and debtors' door, and tries to sell Pip a spectator's seat at a trial. Back at Mr. Jaggers' office, Pip sees a rag-tag group of poor, dirty, miserable clients waiting for Jaggers as well.
London's prisons during Victorian times were notoriously dirty and chaotic, full of raucous lower-class prisoners who were brutalized by the inhumane conditions.
Themes
Social Class Theme Icon
Justice Theme Icon
Mr. Jaggers returns and sharply dismisses each of his clients, checking to make sure they have paid Wemmick and threatening to drop their cases if they try to involve themselves any further. Mr. Jaggers refuses to take on the case of a Jewish man. He disgustedly dismisses another client who has brought a falsely disguised, dishonest witness.
Mr. Jaggers is strictly professional, taking only money, no personal stories or perspectives. Dickens' portrayal of the Jewish man is evidence of the Anti-Semitism of his era.
Themes
Justice Theme Icon
Mr. Jaggers tells Pip he will stay at Barnard's Inn with Matthew Pocket's son. He reveals Pip's generous allowance, informing Pip that he'll be keeping an eye on Pip's spending though he's sure Pip will manage to "go wrong somehow."
Mr. Jaggers knows that wealth can't be equated with self-improvement, that getting more money can easily lead one to make more mistakes.
Themes
Ambition and Self-Improvement Theme Icon