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Great Expectations > GE, Chapters 09-10

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Tristram Shandy Dear Pickwickians,

I’ll give a quick recap of Chapters 9 and 10 here, which also include important moments in Pip’s life. In Chapter 9, we are told that Mrs. Joe and Mr. Pumblechook are waiting for Pip to come home and to tell them everything that went on at Miss Havisham’s. Our hero is so troubled by their incessant questions that he starts telling them blatant lies of wondrous things, such as velvet coaches, dogs eating veal-cutlets and other things. Which brings me on to a question:

What do you think of this instance of lying on the part of Pip? Does it affect, in your eyes, his reliability as a narrator?

I was asking myself this question because he tells that when Joe comes in, Mrs. Joe tells her husband everything she learned from Pip, “more for the relief of her own mind than for the gratification of his”. When reading this, it struck me that Pip could hardly know the real motives for Mrs. Joe’s communication; do we have, here at least, a sign of Pip’s interpretations of things being unfavourable to Mrs. Joe?

Later, Pip has a bad conscience about all his fibs with regard to Joe, and he makes a clean breast of it all to his friend. Joe is greatly concerned and tells him something so wise that I’m going to give it as a quotation:

”If you can’t get to be oncommon through going straight, you’ll never get to do it through going crooked.”


Maybe, this bit of advice will become important in the course of the novel. Up in his room, Pip again is haunted by feelings of social inferiority and he cannot help thinking that Joe and his sister would be looked down upon by Estella and Miss Havisham. The chapter ends with the following words, which again show the more mature narrator commenting on his life:

”That was a memorable day to me, for it made great changes in me. But it is the same with any life. Imagine one selected day struck out of it, and think how different its course would have been. Pause you who read this, and think for a moment of the long chain of iron or gold, of thorns or flowers, that would never have bound you, but for the formation of the first link on one memorable day.“



Chapter 10 tells us of a meaningful encounter: When Pip one Saturday night goes to pick up Joe from the Three Jolly Bargemen, where he is smoking his pipe, he finds his friend seated at a table together with Mr. Wopsle and a stranger, who continually cocks his eye at Pip as though he were pointing an invisible gun at him. The stranger has his head all on one side – which, again, reminded me of a hanging (and of Mr. Flintwinch from Little Dorrit) – and he has tied a handkerchief around his neck, just like Pip’s convict. In the course of the conversation, the stranger asks a lot of questions as to how Pip and Joe are related, and he stirs his rum with a file – in a way that is only visible to Pip. When Joe and Pip leave, the stranger gives him some coins enveloped in paper, and to the Gargeries’ surprise they later find out that this paper is

”[n]othing less than two fat sweltering one-pound notes that seemed to have been on terms of the warmest intimacy with all the cattle-markets in the county.”


Was it the convict who had sent Pip those two bank notes? And why are they described as “fat” and “sweltering”?


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Lynne Pennington (bluemoonladylynne) Interesting choice of descriptors for the notes. The image conjured up in my mind was of bills that are sort of soggy like they get if gripped in a sweaty hand for a long time. They are sort of damply and puffy creepy to the touch. I couldn't help but think this was indeed Pip's convict, except that if it was, wouldn't he have been recognized? More likely this is one of the convict's cronies come to deliver the money and the file is the clue as to whom it is from? I dunno. It rather flummoxed me.


message 3: by Lynne (last edited Jan 25, 2017 11:45AM) (new) - added it

Lynne Pennington (bluemoonladylynne) Context is everything, and I did not feel that Pip's lies to Mrs Joe and Mr P were indicative of his veracity on the whole. I am not sure why he felt goaded into it---it would have been more interesting had he described the situation honestly. I would have loved to hear his listeners' reactions to the truth of the decay.


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Xan  Shadowflutter (shadowflutter) Well, if you keep getting your face pushed into the wall, perhaps you lie just to get even. Is that called passive-aggressive?


Tristram Shandy Lynne wrote: "Interesting choice of descriptors for the notes. The image conjured up in my mind was of bills that are sort of soggy like they get if gripped in a sweaty hand for a long time. They are sort of dam..."

At any rate, those banknotes show that they have seen the ways of common workers and traders, thus the reference to the cattle market. They also seem to indicate that money does stink after all. Like you say, I don't think that the man in the pub was Pip's convict, because otherwise Pip and maybe also Joe would have recognized him - but it was probably a chum of his, and if Pip's convict is able to send money to Pip, does that not mean that he must have escaped again, or been released?

Not many years have passed since the first escape, and so I don't think they would have released the prisoner. Another thing I cannot get my head around is that he still had the file. Would the guards not have searched him and taken the file off him?


Tristram Shandy Lynn and Xan,

it is definitely understandable that Pip lied to Mrs. Joe and Mr. P., given all their badgering. His honesty also becomes obvious when he starts having a bad conscience about the lies being passed on to Joe and so confesses the truth to him.

Another thing comes to my mind: Pip is so afraid of losing Joe as a friend that he never tells him that he knew the convict before and that the convict made him loot the larder. That's not strictly lying, but also a kind of not telling the truth. Don't get me wrong: I don't mean to vituperate Pip but I am thinking about his reliability as a narrator.


Mary Lou | 392 comments Tristram wrote: "His honesty also becomes obvious when he starts having a bad conscience about the lies being passed on to Joe and so confesses the truth to him. "

I think the fact that Pip tells us of his lies, and also that he 'fessed up to Joe indicates that he is, indeed, reliable... at least as he remembers things. But as my husband and I were discussing the other day, three people can witness the same event and give three different accounts. All may well be true, but just from different vantage points or seen through the lens of one's own experiences.

I kind of hate Estella for giving Pip such an inferiority complex and making him ashamed of Joe.

As to the stranger with the file.... this will be my fourth reading of GE, and I'm still flummoxed. I can't remember who he is or how he's explained, and have no guess that answers most of the questions that have been raised here. (This is the only benefit to losing one's memory.... getting to read books again as if one's reading them for the first time. :-) )


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Xan  Shadowflutter (shadowflutter) I'm not convinced Pip is an unreliable narrator. I would think he would make himself look better than he does if he were unreliable.

Pip cannot have much self-esteem the way his sister physically and verbally badgers him. Easy pickings for Estelle. She needs more cunning game.


Tristram Shandy Mary Lou wrote: "(This is the only benefit to losing one's memory.... getting to read books again as if one's reading them for the first time. :-) )"

Absolutely, Mary Lou. I am talking from my own experience. The good thing is that you remember you liked a particular book very much, but you can still re-discover much of its plot and mystery as though it were for the first time.

As to Pip as an unreliable narrator - frankly speaking, I don't think that Dickens wanted us to distrust Pip's accuracy the way that Poe or Henry James did when they used first person narrators. But still, it's interesting to ask the what if question for me.

As to different accounts of the same event, I can only recommend one of Akira Kurosawa's masterpieces to you: "Rashomon". Don't miss it!


Peter Truth and lies. Chapter 9 certainly presents us with both. As for Pip and his "lies" I'm going to give him some space. What he experienced at Miss Havisham's would have been unreal. How to explain those circumstances? At Satis house he had been made aware of his shortcomings and inferiority. His mind must have been shaken. To spin or alter or even change the truth is not too far-fetched for a young boy who visits graveyards and tries to visualize his dead parents and siblings. An active, healthy young mind.

To me, as Tristram has pointed out, a key in this chapter is the relationship between Pip and Joe. Pip does tell Joe the truth; Pip admits his lies to Joe and calls them lies. The key, I believe, resides in Joe's responses. Joe is the calm sage. Joe's advice of how to be "oncommon" clearly resonates with the young Pip. But will Pip take Joe's words to heart?

The end of the chapter that Tristram pointed out is essential to reflect upon as well. "That was a memorable day for me, for it made great changes in me ..." and "Pause you who read this" com from the adult voice of Pip. This adult narrative voice points out that we all have keystone days in our lives that have been engendered with "the first link on one memorable day." Now that is a powerful ending!

To me, the ending of this chapter is the critical beginning of Pip's life and his Great Expectations. As readers we first experience the calm and insightful voice of Joe and then move to the voice of Dickens, who seems to speak directly to his readers. The reliability of Pip as a narrator should not be a moot point in our discussions, but I believe the voice of Joe and the interpolations of the writer's voice need to be listened to very closely.


Peter Well, chapter 10 does present us with more questions, but, at the same time, offers us some plot clues as well. The file, which Pip identifies as Joe's file, stokes the fire of our memory. Pip's convict has certainly not faded from the narrative. Where does the "fat sweltering one-pound notes come from? The man then disappears into the night.

Pip tells us that "I was haunted by the file ... . A dread possessed me that when I least expected it, the file would reappear ... and in my sleep I saw the file coming at me out a door, without seeing who held it, and I screamed myself awake." One advantage of the weekly publication of GE is the fact that there will be more cliffhanger, suspense -filled chapter endings. The pace of the novel will also be sharper and faster. So what can we infer from this ending?

First, it appears that one of Pip's over-riding emotions is guilt. Second, the file is connected to his prisoner, so the prisoner is being kept in the narrative for some reason. Third, Pip tells us that he "coaxed [himself] to sleep by thinking of Miss Havisham's next Wednesday" and yet waked screaming with thoughts of the file and "who held it." Thus, Miss Havisham is what Pip is looking forward to in the future, the convict haunts his young past, and his guilt of both his actions towards his past by stealing food and a file from his home and his present by telling lies to his sister about his experience at Satis House all swirl within his mind.

There is much yet to come.


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Lynne Pennington (bluemoonladylynne) I am loving the slow pace of the read. This is my virgin reading of GE, so I am very much getting the feeling that must have resided with the Victorians who were reading installments. I did lose discipline once and read ahead (for which E-Man took me to task!) He was right---to do this "right", I need to stay with the schedule, which is every bit as nail-biting as any TV cliff-hanger!


message 13: by Kim (new) - rated it 5 stars

Kim Tristram wrote: "Don't get me wrong: I don't mean to vituperate Pip but I am thinking about his reliability as a narrator."

Vituperate! How long does it take you to find words that no one has never heard before, at least I haven't. I already looked it up and now know the meaning, for about one more day that is, then it will be gone.


message 14: by Xan (last edited Jan 27, 2017 11:31AM) (new) - added it

Xan  Shadowflutter (shadowflutter) I'm unsure how Pip is made to feel inferior. Sure, Estella criticizes his clothes and where he comes from, but she does so right in front of her aunt who has been wearing the same dress so long it's yellow. And she wears one shoe. The other is on or under the table, where it's been for, oh, I don't know, years. And everyone lives in the dark. They're playing cards in the dark because Estella's aunt is a Cuckoo Clock. So who's looking better? Hey, Estella, you're living in an asylum, and you're attendant #1, and I know this because you walk around the grounds with a set of keys unlocking and locking again doors to keep the inmate who is your aunt from escaping.

It has to have more to do with Estella's haughtiness, the fact she is about his age when Pip is just about the age to start being interested in girls, and all the self-confidence his sister instills in him.

If Pip had told his sister what had really happened she would have knocked him around the house for an hour. Something she could have easily done because their house lets the light in. By lying he only got knocked around for about 5 minutes, a net plus no matter how you count. So go ahead, Pip, lie all you want. Practice in the mirror.


message 15: by Kim (new) - rated it 5 stars

Kim Chapter 9



"Leave this lad to me, Ma'am; leave this lad to me"

chapter 9

John McLenan

1860

Harper's Weekly 4 (22 December 1860)

T. B. Peterson single-volume edition of 1861 used as the frontispiece in the volume.

Text Illustrated:

“Well, boy,” Uncle Pumblechook began, as soon as he was seated in the chair of honor by the fire. “How did you get on up town?”

I answered, “Pretty well, sir,” and my sister shook her fist at me.

“Pretty well?” Mr. Pumblechook repeated. “Pretty well is no answer. Tell us what you mean by pretty well, boy?”

Whitewash on the forehead hardens the brain into a state of obstinacy perhaps. Anyhow, with whitewash from the wall on my forehead, my obstinacy was adamantine. I reflected for some time, and then answered as if I had discovered a new idea, “I mean pretty well.”

My sister with an exclamation of impatience was going to fly at me,—I had no shadow of defence, for Joe was busy in the forge,—when Mr. Pumblechook interposed with “No! Don’t lose your temper. Leave this lad to me, ma’am; leave this lad to me.” Mr. Pumblechook then turned me towards him, as if he were going to cut my hair, and said,—

“First (to get our thoughts in order): Forty-three pence?”

I calculated the consequences of replying “Four Hundred Pound,” and finding them against me, went as near the answer as I could—which was somewhere about eightpence off. Mr. Pumblechook then put me through my pence-table from “twelve pence make one shilling,” up to “forty pence make three and fourpence,” and then triumphantly demanded, as if he had done for me, “Now! How much is forty-three pence?” To which I replied, after a long interval of reflection, “I don’t know.” And I was so aggravated that I almost doubt if I did know.

Mr. Pumblechook worked his head like a screw to screw it out of me, and said, “Is forty-three pence seven and sixpence three fardens, for instance?”

“Yes!” said I. And although my sister instantly boxed my ears, it was highly gratifying to me to see that the answer spoilt his joke, and brought him to a dead stop.

“Boy! What like is Miss Havisham?” Mr. Pumblechook began again when he had recovered; folding his arms tight on his chest and applying the screw."


Oh, I don't know what the joke is, I guess because I see there is math involved.


message 16: by Kim (new) - rated it 5 stars

Kim

And then they both stared at me

Chapter 9

H. M. Brock

Test Illustrated:

“Why, don’t you know,” said Mr. Pumblechook, testily, “that when I have been there, I have been took up to the outside of her door, and the door has stood ajar, and she has spoke to me that way. Don’t say you don’t know that, Mum. Howsever, the boy went there to play. What did you play at, boy?”

“We played with flags,” I said. (I beg to observe that I think of myself with amazement, when I recall the lies I told on this occasion.)

“Flags!” echoed my sister.

“Yes,” said I. “Estella waved a blue flag, and I waved a red one, and Miss Havisham waved one sprinkled all over with little gold stars, out at the coach-window. And then we all waved our swords and hurrahed.”

“Swords!” repeated my sister. “Where did you get swords from?”

“Out of a cupboard,” said I. “And I saw pistols in it,—and jam,—and pills. And there was no daylight in the room, but it was all lighted up with candles.”

“That’s true, Mum,” said Mr. Pumblechook, with a grave nod. “That’s the state of the case, for that much I’ve seen myself.” And then they both stared at me, and I, with an obtrusive show of artlessness on my countenance, stared at them, and plaited the right leg of my trousers with my right hand."



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Kim Chapter 10


F. W. Pailthorpe




A Stranger at the Jolly Bargemen

Chapter 10

F. W. Pailthorpe

c. 1900

Garnett Edition

Text Illustrated:

"There was a bar at the Jolly Bargemen, with some alarmingly long chalk scores in it on the wall at the side of the door, which seemed to me to be never paid off. They had been there ever since I could remember, and had grown more than I had. But there was a quantity of chalk about our country, and perhaps the people neglected no opportunity of turning it to account.

It being Saturday night, I found the landlord looking rather grimly at these records; but as my business was with Joe and not with him, I merely wished him good evening, and passed into the common room at the end of the passage, where there was a bright large kitchen fire, and where Joe was smoking his pipe in company with Mr. Wopsle and a stranger. Joe greeted me as usual with “Halloa, Pip, old chap!” and the moment he said that, the stranger turned his head and looked at me.

He was a secret-looking man whom I had never seen before. His head was all on one side, and one of his eyes was half shut up, as if he were taking aim at something with an invisible gun. He had a pipe in his mouth, and he took it out, and, after slowly blowing all his smoke away and looking hard at me all the time, nodded. So, I nodded, and then he nodded again, and made room on the settle beside him that I might sit down there.

But as I was used to sit beside Joe whenever I entered that place of resort, I said “No, thank you, sir,” and fell into the space Joe made for me on the opposite settle. The strange man, after glancing at Joe, and seeing that his attention was otherwise engaged, nodded to me again when I had taken my seat, and then rubbed his leg—in a very odd way, as it struck me.

“You was saying,” said the strange man, turning to Joe, “that you was a blacksmith.”



message 18: by Kim (new) - rated it 5 stars

Kim

"At The Three Jolly Bargemen"

Chapter 10

Harry Furniss

1910

Charles Dickens Library Edition

Text Illustrated:

"And here I may remark that when Mr. Wopsle referred to me, he considered it a necessary part of such reference to rumple my hair and poke it into my eyes. I cannot conceive why everybody of his standing who visited at our house should always have put me through the same inflammatory process under similar circumstances. Yet I do not call to mind that I was ever in my earlier youth the subject of remark in our social family circle, but some large-handed person took some such ophthalmic steps to patronize me.

All this while, the strange man looked at nobody but me, and looked at me as if he were determined to have a shot at me at last, and bring me down. But he said nothing after offering his Blue Blazes observation, until the glasses of rum and water were brought; and then he made his shot, and a most extraordinary shot it was.

It was not a verbal remark, but a proceeding in dumb-show, and was pointedly addressed to me. He stirred his rum and water pointedly at me, and he tasted his rum and water pointedly at me. And he stirred it and he tasted it; not with a spoon that was brought to him, but with a file.

He did this so that nobody but I saw the file; and when he had done it he wiped the file and put it in a breast-pocket. I knew it to be Joe’s file, and I knew that he knew my convict, the moment I saw the instrument. I sat gazing at him, spell-bound. But he now reclined on his settle, taking very little notice of me, and talking principally about turnips.

There was a delicious sense of cleaning-up and making a quiet pause before going on in life afresh, in our village on Saturday nights, which stimulated Joe to dare to stay out half an hour longer on Saturdays than at other times. The half-hour and the rum and water running out together, Joe got up to go, and took me by the hand.

“Stop half a moment, Mr. Gargery,” said the strange man. “I think I’ve got a bright new shilling somewhere in my pocket, and if I have, the boy shall have it.”

He looked it out from a handful of small change, folded it in some crumpled paper, and gave it to me. “Yours!” said he. “Mind! Your own.”

I thanked him, staring at him far beyond the bounds of good manners, and holding tight to Joe. He gave Joe good-night, and he gave Mr. Wopsle good-night (who went out with us), and he gave me only a look with his aiming eye,—no, not a look, for he shut it up, but wonders may be done with an eye by hiding it."



message 19: by Lynne (new) - added it

Lynne Pennington (bluemoonladylynne) Xan Shadowflutter wrote: "I'm unsure how Pip is made to feel inferior. Sure, Estella criticizes his clothes and where he comes from, but she does so right in front of her aunt who has been wearing the same dress so long it'..."

To quote Eleanor Roosevelt, "No one can make you feel inferior without your consent." The fact is, poor Pip has no way to see the things you are talking about---as an adult recounting the experience, he knows what he saw. But as a child, he is not equipped to refute what Havisham and Estella are trying to accomplish with him. They act with confidence and condescension so he takes them at their assessment since he has no other way to measure his worth. The only person in his life thus far to show him that he has value is Joe. People believe lies everyday in the face of better information---the old "Do you believe me or your lying eyes?"


message 20: by Kim (new) - rated it 5 stars

Kim I spent many school years feeling inferior, having seizures and really amazing headaches doesn't make you very popular. At least not where I went to school. Almost everyone was better than me, until I got tired of it and decided they are the ones with the problem not me, it was fine after that. Too bad it took me until I was in high school to figure it out.


message 21: by Lynne (new) - added it

Lynne Pennington (bluemoonladylynne) Kim wrote: "I spent many school years feeling inferior, having seizures and really amazing headaches doesn't make you very popular. At least not where I went to school. Almost everyone was better than me, unti..."

It took me until I was in my 40's----no joke. Hope your doctor appt was successful and you are feeling better!


message 22: by Kate (last edited Jan 28, 2017 02:57AM) (new) - rated it 5 stars

Kate The "fat" and sweltering" notes - well that conjured up a few ideas in my head.

"Fat", I imagine as describing the heaviness, in terms of value. Clearly, two pounds was an awful lot of money to give away to a stranger in those days. I don't think it's the convict, but obviously someone who knows the convict and the story involving Pip and the file.

"Sweltering" could obviously refer to its literal meaning which could indicate the place where it came from. I'll say no more on that at this stage.

The other way I read "sweltering" is that the money has been received by the stranger through criminal activity. If it's sweltering it's hot. If something is hot, it's been stolen. I wonder if that is just an English use of the word "hot"?

Edit - also "hot" off the press could be a way of reading it


message 23: by Kate (new) - rated it 5 stars

Kate I hope you're feeling better too, Kim.


Tristram Shandy Kate wrote: "If something is hot, it's been stolen. I wonder if that is just an English use of the word "hot"?"

No, you also use the German "heiß" (= hot) in the same sense, e.g. in the expression "heiße Ware", which means "stolen goods".

I really appreciate your in-depth analysis of the word "sweltering" here. When I read the passage in the book, I had a lot of associations, but I could not just get them into words.


Tristram Shandy Kim wrote: "Tristram wrote: "Don't get me wrong: I don't mean to vituperate Pip but I am thinking about his reliability as a narrator."

Vituperate! How long does it take you to find words that no one has neve..."


As a non-native speaker, I am naturally attentive to any new words I pick up when reading a novel or another text, and unless I forget them, I try to use them whenever a situation offers itself. I am now reading Hardy's "Tess" (something I should have done a long while ago, but for some reason I have always failed to realize just what a marvellous writer Hardy is) , and it has the word "kine" in it. I found the word very interesting, looked it up but then I am afraid, I will never come into a situation when to use it.


Tristram Shandy Thanks again for those illustrations, Kim! Here’s my tuppence about them:

John MacLenon’s idea of Mrs. Joe and Mr. Pumblechook badgering poor Pip with their questions strikes me as impressive because there seem to be invisible lines going from the two adults’ eyes directly to Pip’s head, and the movement of the arms also underlines this. We have the idea of Pip being under constant fire. Speaking of fire, the fireplace in the background gives us an idea of how hot and uncomfortable Pip must feel under the barrage of their questions, and one can read the fire as the visual illustration of the phrase “to grill somebody”. Mrs. Joe looks too old, though, and I asked myself why Mr. Pumblechook’s nose is so red. There must be an explanation for this latter fact, mustn’t there? ;-)

H.M. Brock’s rendition of the same situation occurred less effective to me even though it deftly puts us into the same perspective as Pip and has the two objectionable characters stare at us. I think that Brock hit Mrs. Joe much better than MacLenon by making her less old, but at the same time, Uncle Pumblechook seems too weak to me although he looks like a carp. I think that Uncle P. is a bully, though, and MacLenon’s P. looks more like a bully to me.

Pailthorpe’s scene of the Three Jolly Bargemen made me feel jolly myself because it reminded me a lot of Phiz’s style, what with the fine lines, the richness in detail and the homeliness of the whole situation. Mark how Joe puts his arm around his friend Pip and how his eyes are turned skywards, which shows he is into a talkative and easy mood, and how the mysterious stranger is bending forward, keen on worming the information out of old Joe.

As to Harry Furniss’s illustration, I have no idea who is who. Where is Pip, by the way? The person on the very left looks to me like a very tipsy Mr. Pecksniff with extremely bushy eyebrows having somehow escaped from the pages of Martin Chuzzlewit.


message 27: by Mary Lou (last edited Jan 28, 2017 06:47AM) (new) - rated it 4 stars

Mary Lou | 392 comments I like Brock's illustration, if only because it depicts Mrs. Joe as a younger woman instead of a wasted, old shrew. And I love the Pailthorpe picture of the Jolly Bargeman, which must have been an Eden for Joe and Pip when compared to their own home under the thumb of Mrs. Joe.

Tristram - in Furniss's picture, Pip is nearest to us on the right bench. His torso follows the curve of the bench, and he almost blends into Joe's clothing, except his face. Easy to overlook!

Tristram - I'm in awe of your mastery of the English language. You put many native speakers to shame. Case in point, I had occasion to do some traveling last week and popped into a consignment shop in a small town, where I saw this sign: "Walt Disnay Taps collectiable 5.00". Aside from the fact that no one in their right mind would pay more than 50 cents for a Disney VHS even if they still have a VCR, there are so many problems with that sign it makes me ashamed of our education system. So when you, a non-native speaker, come out with words like "vituperate" it gives me great hope for the human race. :-)


message 28: by Lynne (new) - added it

Lynne Pennington (bluemoonladylynne) Mary Lou wrote: "I like Brock's illustration, if only because it depicts Mrs. Joe as a younger woman instead of a wasted, old shrew. And I love the Pailthorpe picture of the Jolly Bargeman, which must have been an ..."

I also have been stunned by your facility with English, Tristram. It is so much better than many (most?) Americans, at least. I am afraid to ask what else you speak---and do you do it so fluently? Where did you learn?


message 29: by Natalie (last edited Jan 28, 2017 12:38PM) (new) - rated it 5 stars

Natalie Tyler (doulton) Others have mentioned this but I wanted to write out more of the quotation from the novel:
"There's one thing you may be sure of, Pip," said Joe, after some rumination, "namely, that lies is lies. Howsever they come, they didn't ought to come, and they come from the father of lies, and work round to the same. Don't you tell no more of 'em, Pip. That ain't the way to get out of being common, old chap. And as to being common, I don't make it out at all clear. You are oncommon in some things. You're oncommon small. Likewise you're a oncommon scholar."

I stress these words of Joe's because for him the world is not full of alternate facts, the way it is for some in this novel. Joe is very grounded and does not get impressed by wealth. He is, however, impressed by the scholarship that Pip has thus achieved. 09y


Natalie Tyler (doulton) Chapter 11: Tristram asked:

Was it the convict who had sent Pip those two bank notes? And why are they described as “fat” and “sweltering”?

I cannot think of a logical explanation aside from the convict, for whom Pip procured a file. The money is reimbursement for the file and the food, I am guessing.
I think that we know Pip to exaggerate his perceptions at times. The bank notes may seem "fat" and "sweltering" if they remind Pip of the anxieties he had about the convict and about obeying him and getting the contraband to him.

A bank note from Miss Havisham would perhaps be thin and ethereal and cold...


message 31: by Lynne (new) - added it

Lynne Pennington (bluemoonladylynne) Natalie wrote: "Others have mentioned this but I wanted to write out more of the quotation from the novel:
"There's one thing you may be sure of, Pip," said Joe, after some rumination, "namely, that lies is lies. ..."


Alternate facts are not just for some in this novel!! they have been made famous by our Quilp-in-Chief.


message 32: by Kate (new) - rated it 5 stars

Kate Tristram wrote: "Kate wrote: "If something is hot, it's been stolen. I wonder if that is just an English use of the word "hot"?"

No, you also use the German "heiß" (= hot) in the same sense, e.g. in the expression..."


Now I wonder if "hot" meant the same in Dickens' day, because "sweltering" is a hyperbole of "hot" and we all know how Dickens loved to exaggerate (otherwise he wouldn't have been able to create so many amazing characters).


message 33: by Kim (new) - rated it 5 stars

Kim Tristram wrote: "it has the word "kine" in it. I found the word very interesting, looked it up but then I am afraid, I will never come into a situation when to use it."

Here's one:

Tristram, please don't use the word "kine" in a sentence, I don't want to have to go look it up.

How's that.


message 34: by Lynne (new) - added it

Lynne Pennington (bluemoonladylynne) Don't ask me how I know this except I love animals. Kine is cattle.
Tristram, How about----"The placid kine stood tolerantly in the shade of the only tree in the pasture on the sweltering day."


Tristram Shandy Mary Lou wrote: "Tristram - in Furniss's picture, Pip is nearest to us on the right bench. His torso follows the curve of the bench, and he almost blends into Joe's clothing, except his face. Easy to overlook! "

Thanks a lot, Mary Lou: Now that I have taken another look at the picture, I see him, too. It's a bit like at home when my wife asks me to get the butter out of the refrigerator and I just can't find it. Maybe that's because I tend to look straight and would never put myself to the trouble of looking left or right? ;-)


message 36: by Tristram (last edited Jan 29, 2017 03:08AM) (new) - rated it 5 stars

Tristram Shandy Lynne wrote: "Don't ask me how I know this except I love animals. Kine is cattle.
Tristram, How about----"The placid kine stood tolerantly in the shade of the only tree in the pasture on the sweltering day.""


Sounds like a sentence taken from "Tess" :-) this book taught me another interesting word I didn't know: "lea"


Tristram Shandy Kim wrote: "How's that. "

See, we are both very practically-minded people.


Tristram Shandy Mary Lou and Lynne, you make me blush about my English. The fact is that I have always liked English best (next to my native language, of course) but that I like English-speaking literature best in the world and so was motivated to read and to learn the language, also apart from our school system (which, at my day and age, was not as bad as it is today). I also lived for a year in England - to be more precise, in Hartlepool, where they have their own special variety of the language - and it's been one of the happiest years in my life - apart, of course!!!, from all the years I have lived as a married man. (view spoiler)

As you asked it, Lynne, I also learned French and Russian at school but am most comfortable with English. Since my wife is from Argentina, I also pick up more and more Spanish.

I always tell my son that Foreign Languages, Maths, Sciences and Music are the most important subjects at school because they really have to do with life.


Tristram Shandy Natalie wrote: "A bank note from Miss Havisham would perhaps be thin and ethereal and cold..."

Natalie, that is definitively a point we should keep an eye on: If ever any money comes from Miss Havisham, how is it described?


message 40: by Kim (new) - rated it 5 stars

Kim Tristram wrote: "Mary Lou and Lynne, you make me blush about my English. The fact is that I have always liked English best (next to my native language, of course) but that I like English-speaking literature best in..."

German shouldn't be very hard to learn, there aren't that many words in it, you just make everything one very, very long word.


Everyman | 2034 comments Tristram wrote: "What do you think of this instance of lying on the part of Pip? Does it affect, in your eyes, his reliability as a narrator?"

That's a great question. But in my mind, no. If anything, slightly the contrary, because it clearly shows that he is very conscious of at least one instance of when in the past he was lying.


Everyman | 2034 comments Tristram wrote: "Another thing I cannot get my head around is that he still had the file. Would the guards not have searched him and taken the file off him? "

Good point. There we must submit to the willing suspension of disbelief. Dickens does have a somewhat habit of excessive use of coincidences or unlikely situations.


Everyman | 2034 comments Peter wrote: "Pause you who read this" com from the adult voice of Pip. This adult narrative voice points out that we all have keystone days in our lives that have been engendered with "the first link on one memorable day." "

Very nice point.


Everyman | 2034 comments Xan Shadowflutter wrote: "I'm unsure how Pip is made to feel inferior. Sure, Estella criticizes his clothes and where he comes from, but she does so right in front of her aunt who has been wearing the same dress so long it'..."

I think it's partly, or perhaps mostly, the age thing. Estella is a peer, and we know all about the difference between comparing oneself to an adult vs. a peer. Miss Havisham is so far from his world that any comparison with her state is meaningless to a young boy, and any criticism would be adult criticism, which he is totally used to. Estella he wants to impress, I think, or at least to look acceptable in front of, so when she criticizes him, it comes from one who he can reasonably compare himself (his hands, his footwear, his pronunciation, his calling card names) against, and it stings.


Everyman | 2034 comments Tristram wrote: "I am now reading Hardy's "Tess" (something I should have done a long while ago, but for some reason I have always failed to realize just what a marvellous writer Hardy is)"

You'll learn lots of words from Hardy. He has an amazing, and a very precise, vocabulary, particularly for natural features and also architectural features (he was trained as an architect). He's the one author I most need a dictionary by my side when I read him.


Natalie Tyler (doulton) I wanted to bring up the end of Chapter 10--first I will cite the final paragraph of the chapter:

"I had sadly broken sleep when I got to bed, through thinking of the strange man taking aim at me with his invisible gun, and of the guiltily coarse and common thing it was, to be on secret terms of conspiracy with convicts - a feature in my low career that I had previously forgotten. I was haunted by the file too. A dread possessed me that when I least expected it, the file would reappear. I coaxed myself to sleep by thinking of Miss Havisham's, next Wednesday; and in my sleep I saw the file coming at me out of a door, without seeing who held it, and I screamed myself awake."


Think of Pip's anxiety and fear! Look at those words he's using: "coarse", "common," "secret conspiracy with convicts", "low," "haunted," "dread".

In his sleep he has a nightmare of the file attacking him and he screams himself awake.

Pip clearly is having a dreadful time reconciling what he thinks of as his criminal career in contrast with life at Satis House.

Once again the adult narrator very well captures the frights and fears of his childhood self.


Tristram Shandy Kim wrote: "German shouldn't be very hard to learn, there aren't that many words in it, you just make everything one very, very long word."

:-D


Tristram Shandy Everyman wrote: "Good point. There we must submit to the willing suspension of disbelief. Dickens does have a somewhat habit of excessive use of coincidences or unlikely situations. "

These coincidences happen in real life, all the time. I met a teacher who is teaching Russian at the school I attended as a kid; in the course of the conversation, we found out that the school I am teaching at right now is the school he went to as a child.

Now if a writer had come up with that, we would say, "Come on! What a contrived coincidence! You can do better!" Real life, though, gets away with this.


Tristram Shandy Everyman wrote: "Tristram wrote: "I am now reading Hardy's "Tess" (something I should have done a long while ago, but for some reason I have always failed to realize just what a marvellous writer Hardy is)"

You'll..."


My problem once was, and maybe still is, that I read so much Victorian literature that native speakers told me my English was like 19th century English. I heeded that warning and commenced my perusal of Fielding, Smollett and Sterne.


Tristram Shandy Natalie wrote: "Pip clearly is having a dreadful time reconciling what he thinks of as his criminal career in contrast with life at Satis House."

Well observed, Natalie! What we should probably keep in mind is the question as to social classes and class consciousness. It was one of our issues when reading Oliver Twist and it might be useful to address this topic again against the background of GE. I think that Dickens's attitude has changed here.


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