Great Expectations – Complete Summary

Pip, a young orphan who lives in the marshes of Kent with his sister and her husband, spends an evening in the graveyard looking at the tombstones of his parents. Pip and his sister’s husband live in the marshes of Kent. Suddenly, an escaped convict emerges from behind a gravestone, grabs Pip, and instructs him to fetch him food and a file for his leg irons. Pip complies with the escaped criminal’s demands. Pip complies, but the terrifying prisoner is apprehended very immediately regardless. Pip is shielded from harm by the convicted thief’s assertion that he committed the thefts himself.

Pip is escorted by his Uncle Pumblechook to play at Satis House, the home of the wealthy dowager Miss Havisham. Miss Havisham is highly eccentric, as evidenced by the fact that she always wears an ancient wedding dress and ensures that all of the clocks in her house are always stopped at the same time. During the course of his trip, he comes face to face with a stunning young woman named Estella, who reacts to him with disdain and disdain. Despite this, he finds himself falling in love with her and fantasises of one day becoming a wealthy gentleman in order to prove that he is deserving of her. He even has hopes that Miss Havisham intends to make him a gentleman and marry him to Estella, but his hopes are dashed when, after months of regular visits to Satis House, Miss Havisham decides to help him become a common labourer in his family’s business. This decision causes him to lose faith in Miss Havisham’s ability to fulfil his dreams.

Pip receives instruction from Miss Havisham as he begins his apprenticeship with Joe, his brother-in-law and the blacksmith in the community. Pip is miserable while working at the forge. He is attempting to improve his schooling with the help of the simple and generous Biddy, but he also comes into contact with Joe’s spiteful day labourer, Orlick. After a disagreement with Orlick one night, Pip’s sister, also known as Mrs. Joe, is savagely abused, and as a result, she becomes an invalid who cannot speak. Pip has reason to believe that Orlick was the one who carried out the assault based on the signals she received.

One day, a lawyer by the name of Jaggers shows up with some unexpected news: Pip has been granted a great wealth by an unknown benefactor, but he must travel to London immediately to begin his education as a gentleman. Jaggers is a lawyer. Pip is overjoyed because he believes that his earlier expectations have been fulfilled. He believes that Miss Havisham is his anonymous donor and that the elderly woman wants him to marry Estella.

While in London, Pip strikes up a friendship with a young gentleman named Herbert Pocket as well as Wemmick, who works as Jaggers’ law clerk. Even though he has a lot of bad things to say about his old friends and loved ones, particularly Joe, he still can’t stop thinking about Estella. In order to advance his education, he studies under the tutelage of Matthew Pocket, who is Herbert’s father. Pip receives instruction directly from Herbert on how to conduct oneself in a gentlemanly manner. When Pip reaches the age of twenty-one and is able to start drawing an income from his money, he will covertly assist Herbert in purchasing a position in the industry that Herbert has decided to pursue for himself. But for the time being, Herbert and Pip continue to live in London in a manner that is not particularly disciplined. Instead, they focus on having fun while continually accumulating debt. Orlick reappears in Pip’s life, this time working as Miss Havisham’s porter; however, once Pip tells Jaggers about Orlick’s shady history, Jaggers swiftly fires Orlick from his position. Mrs. Joe passes away, and Pip travels back to his hometown to attend her funeral while experiencing overwhelming sorrow and guilt. A number of years pass, and then, one evening, a recognisable figure storms into Pip’s room. It is the convicted felon Magwitch, and he stuns Pip by proclaiming that he, and not Miss Havisham, is the source of Pip’s money. He tells Pip that he was so inspired by Pip’s acts of compassion when he was a youngster that he devoted his life to moulding Pip into a gentleman and that he acquired a fortune in Australia for the express purpose of achieving this goal.

Pip is shocked, but he feels obligated to assist Magwitch in evading capture in London because the convicted felon is being chased by the authorities as well as by Compeyson, a previous associate in criminal activity. When Pip learns that Compeyson was the man who deserted Miss Havisham at the altar and that Estella is Magwitch’s daughter, the pieces of a puzzling enigma begin to fit together. As a form of retribution for the anguish that Miss Havisham’s personal heartbreak caused her, she has been brought up to make men’s hearts break. Pip was nothing more than a boy for the young Estella to experiment on, and Miss Havisham took great pleasure in Estella’s skill to manipulate Pip’s feelings.

Pip comes to see Magwitch’s positive qualities and develops a profound fondness for him as time goes on. Before Magwitch makes his attempt to go, Estella weds a snob of a higher social class whose name is Bentley Drummle. Pip pays a visit to Satis House, and while there, Miss Havisham apologises to him for the way that she has previously treated him, and he is able to forgive her for her actions. Later on that day, as she is bending over the fireplace, her dress ignites, and she soon finds herself engulfed in flames. She manages to survive, but she is rendered unable to function. She will spend her remaining days trying to make amends for her wrongdoing and beg Pip’s forgiveness for her transgressions.

Soon enough, it will be time for Pip and his companions to smuggle Magwitch out of London. Pip is summoned to a mysterious gathering in the marshes shortly before he makes his effort to flee, and it is there that he comes face to face with the vindictive and malevolent Orlick. When Herbert and a bunch of Pip’s friends show up, just as Orlick is about to execute Pip, Herbert intervenes and saves Pip’s life. Pip and Herbert make a hasty return in order to facilitate Magwitch’s getaway. They board a rowboat in an effort to transport Magwitch covertly down the river, but the police, who were tipped off by Compeyson, find them and arrest them. After a battle in the river between Magwitch and Compeyson, Compeyson ends up drowning. Pip’s riches is taken from him, and Magwitch is executed for his crimes. Magwitch has the conviction that the punishment he is receiving from God is an act of forgiveness, and he passes away content. Pip gets sick, and Joe travels to London to take care of him. During this time, the two of them are able to make amends. Joe tells him the news from home, which includes the following: Orlick has been arrested after robbing Pumblechook, Miss Havisham has passed away, and the most of her fortune has been left to the Pockets, and Biddy has taught Joe how to read and write. After Joe has left, Pip makes the decision to rush home and marry Biddy, but when he goes there, he finds that she and Joe have already wed. Pip is devastated by this news.

Pip makes the decision to follow Herbert to another country in order to pursue a career in the mercantile trade. When he went back to Satis House many years later, he saw Estella talking in the garden that had been destroyed. Her spouse, Drummle, was abusive toward her, but he is no longer alive to do so. Pip discovers that Estella’s iciness and malice have been replaced by a heartbreaking tenderness, and the two of them walk out of the garden hand in hand with Pip feeling that they would never be apart again. (It should be noted that Dickens’s Great Expectations had a different conclusion from the one that is depicted in this description.) A description of the original ending, as well as an explanation of why Dickens decided to rewrite it, may be found in this SparkNote’s concluding Summary and Analysis section.



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