Great Expectations

Great Expectations

by

Charles Dickens

Teachers and parents! Struggling with distance learning? Our Teacher Edition on Great Expectations can help.

Great Expectations: Book 2, Chapter 26 Summary & Analysis

Summary
Analysis
That morning, Mr. Jaggers invites Pip along with Drummle, Startop, and Herbert to dinner the next day. Mr. Jaggers house is dark and serious, and they have a lavish dinner of fine fish, meat, sauces, and wine. Mr. Jaggers is most interested in Drummle, whom he calls "the Spider," because he likes that Drummle looks "blotchy, sprawly, [and] sulky."
Mr. Jaggers seems to be drawn to people like Drummle who are rough around the edges rather than upright and proper, which could explain his affinity for working with criminals.
Themes
Integrity and Reputation Theme Icon
Justice Theme Icon
Mr. Jaggers only servant is his housekeeper, Molly, whom Wemmick has urged Pip to take note of. She is a quiet, witch-like woman with streaming hair, completely submissive to Mr. Jaggers. Pip imagines her face above a cauldron. The adult Pip narrator alludes to a vision he will have of her face years later by fire in a dark room. When the boys bicker about who is strongest, Mr. Jaggers forces her to show the boys her wrists, which are scarred and disfigured and, Mr. Jaggers claims, the strongest he's ever seen.
Each boy wants to win the reputation for being strongest, but Molly wins it instead. Her scarred and disfigured wrists are evidence of some struggle in her past.
Themes
Integrity and Reputation Theme Icon
Mr. Jaggers toasts to Drummle, and Drummle becomes increasingly condescending toward Pip, Herbert, and Startop. The boys all have too much to drink. Pip and Drummle get into an argument about Startop lending Drummle money, and he accuses Drummle being selfish and snobbish. Startop tries to lighten the mood by making everyone laugh, which Drummle resents. He prepares to throw a glass at Startop’s head, but Mr. Jaggers stops him just in time.
Drummle feels superior to the other boys because of his wealth, and he's jealous of Startop's ability to amuse others. His pride is portrayed as a destructive and hurtful trait rather than a positive one.
Themes
Social Class Theme Icon
Ambition and Self-Improvement Theme Icon
Mr. Jaggers announces that it’s half-past nine, time for the boys to leave. Startop and Drummle begin walking home, and Herbert waits while Pip goes back inside to apologize to Mr. Jaggers for causing a scene at dinner. Mr. Jaggers assures him that he isn’t angry. He says that he likes Drummle, who is “one of the true sort,” though he advises Pip to stay away from him. They say goodnight. Pip notes that a month after this dinner, Drummle leaves Mr. Pocket’s for good.
Again, Mr. Jaggers is fascinated by human traits that are the opposite of integrity and uprightness. Though he does not advise Pip to associate with the people who possess those negative traits, he is delighted to watch those people in action.
Themes
Integrity and Reputation Theme Icon
Justice Theme Icon
Get the entire Great Expectations LitChart as a printable PDF.
Great Expectations PDF