Great Expectations

Great Expectations

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Great Expectations Book 3, Chapter 57 Summary & Analysis

Summary
Analysis
Pip is deep in debt. In the days after Provis' death, Pip falls deliriously ill. Two creditors come to his apartment to arrest him for debt but Pip, too sick to move, suffers feverish hallucinations. When he next gains consciousness, weeks have passed and Joe is at his side, having nursed him through his sickness. Pip is ashamed, feeling he doesn't deserve Joe's kindness, but Joe is warm and loving and holds no grudge. Biddy has taught Joe to write and he updates her on Pip's state by letter.
Joe's generosity is boundless. Unlike so many other characters, he holds no grudges. Though Pip spurned Joe when he was rich, Joe has rescued him when his fortune fell away.
Themes
Parents Theme Icon
Generosity Theme Icon
Joe updates Pip on the village news: Miss Havisham has died and left a large sum of money to Matthew Pocket, crediting Pip's account of Matthew's character. She has left insultingly small amounts of money to all her other relatives, leaving the bulk of her fortune to Estella. Orlick is in jail for robbing and torturing Uncle Pumblechook.
Miss Havisham's generosity towards Matthew Pocket complements Pip's towards Herbert. Orlick also reaps what he sowed, while Pumblechook is also punished (though the punishment seems rather harsh).
Themes
Generosity Theme Icon
Pip and Joe spend the days of Pip's recovery in tender companionship. Pip has lost all pretense around Joe and is wholly loving. When Pip, not knowing how much Joe knows of his recent affairs, broaches the subject of Provis, Joe brushes it off, telling Pip that Biddy has convinced him not to dwell on "unnecessary subjects" and emphasizes that he and Pip are "ever the best of friends."
Joe's belief that Pip need not come clean about all the details of the past presents a parallel Mr. Jaggers' lecture that complete honesty is not, ultimately, the measure of compassion and generosity. Instead, following one's conscience in order to protect and help those you love is.
Themes
Integrity and Reputation Theme Icon
As Pip grows stronger, Joe becomes less comfortable around him. While Pip was weak, Joe called him "old Pip, old chap," as he had in Pip's childhood, but the day Pip is strong enough to walk on his own again, Joe calls him "sir." Pip is ashamed that his behavior in the past has warranted Joe's wariness. When Joe is certain that Pip is nearly well, he leaves without warning and Pip wakes up to a note explaining that Joe doesn't wish do "intrude." Enclosed in the note is a receipt for Pip's debts, which Joe has paid off unbeknownst to Pip, who thought Joe didn't know about them.
While Pip was sick, he reverted to his childhood dependency on Joe. Pip and Joe's relationship likewise reverted to the old familiarity and comfort. Yet, once Pip gets well, he again becomes the independent adult who abandoned Joe, and the two reenter the fraught relationship they've had in the recent past. Joe meanwhile, generously paid off the debts Pip was too ashamed to ever mention.
Themes
Integrity and Reputation Theme Icon
Generosity Theme Icon
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Pip is eager to thank Joe and to apologize to him. He is also eager to propose to Biddy, whose goodness he wants hereafter to be guided by. Pip resolves to work in the forge or at any trade Biddy sees fit. After a few days, he makes a trip to the village.
Pip's moral development is complete. He is finally able to recognize his own errors and to value internal rather than superficial worth.
Themes
Ambition and Self-Improvement Theme Icon
Integrity and Reputation Theme Icon