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Great Expectations > GE, Chapter 18

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message 1: by Kim (new) - rated it 5 stars

Kim | 3027 comments Hello all,

This week we begin with Chapter 18 and it is now the fourth year of Pip's apprenticeship to Joe. I'm still trying to figure out how old he is, but I'm still not sure. My guess is that he is about 18 or 19 by now, but I don't know for sure, I'm guessing. Whatever his age his he is at the Jolly Bardgeman among a "group" which include Joe and Mr. Wopsle. It seems like it has been quite a while since we've seen Mr. Wopsle. Mr. Wopsle is entertaining the group by reading outloud a story from the newspaper.

"A highly popular murder had been committed, and Mr. Wopsle was imbrued in blood to the eyebrows. He gloated over every abhorrent adjective in the description, and identified himself with every witness at the Inquest. He faintly moaned, “I am done for,” as the victim, and he barbarously bellowed, “I’ll serve you out,” as the murderer. He gave the medical testimony, in pointed imitation of our local practitioner; and he piped and shook, as the aged turnpike-keeper who had heard blows, to an extent so very paralytic as to suggest a doubt regarding the mental competency of that witness. The coroner, in Mr. Wopsle’s hands, became Timon of Athens; the beadle, Coriolanus. He enjoyed himself thoroughly, and we all enjoyed ourselves, and were delightfully comfortable. In this cosey state of mind we came to the verdict Wilful Murder."

They now notice a stranger who has been leaning over the back of the settle looking on. This stranger was biting the side of a his forefinger as he watched the group. I mention his biting his forefinger, because it seems to be brought up quite a lot in this chapter. I'm trying to remember a book we read that had someone in the story also having his or her finger mentioned quite often. I can't remember what the book is, but I'm pretty sure I saw some fingers in the illustrations. Either that or I'm going crazy.

Once Wopsle is finished the stranger begins questioning him about the legal details of the case:

The “Well!” said the stranger to Mr. Wopsle, when the reading was done, “you have settled it all to your own satisfaction, I have no doubt?”

Everybody started and looked up, as if it were the murderer. He looked at everybody coldly and sarcastically.

“Guilty, of course?” said he. “Out with it. Come!”

“Sir,” returned Mr. Wopsle, “without having the honor of your acquaintance, I do say Guilty.” Upon this we all took courage to unite in a confirmatory murmur.

“I know you do,” said the stranger; “I knew you would. I told you so. But now I’ll ask you a question. Do you know, or do you not know, that the law of England supposes every man to be innocent, until he is proved—proved—to be guilty?”

“Sir,” Mr. Wopsle began to reply, “as an Englishman myself, I—”

“Come!” said the stranger, biting his forefinger at him. “Don’t evade the question. Either you know it, or you don’t know it. Which is it to be?”

He stood with his head on one side and himself on one side, in a bullying, interrogative manner, and he threw his forefinger at Mr. Wopsle,—as it were to mark him out—before biting it again.

“Now!” said he. “Do you know it, or don’t you know it?”

“Certainly I know it,” replied Mr. Wopsle.

“Certainly you know it. Then why didn’t you say so at first? Now, I’ll ask you another question,”—taking possession of Mr. Wopsle, as if he had a right to him,—“do you know that none of these witnesses have yet been cross-examined?”"


Finally he tells them he is there to see Joe and his apprentice, and Joe and Pip leave with him. Pip remembers him as being the man he had met on the stairway when he visited Miss Haversham long ago - his first or second visit, I can't remember which. The stranger tells them his name is Jaggers and he is a lawyer in London and he is the confidential agent of another. And here comes the name of the book:

“I am instructed to communicate to him,” said Mr. Jaggers, throwing his finger at me sideways, “that he will come into a handsome property. Further, that it is the desire of the present possessor of that property, that he be immediately removed from his present sphere of life and from this place, and be brought up as a gentleman,—in a word, as a young fellow of great expectations.”

Jaggers won't tell them who this benefactor is, that person will reveal his or her name to him when the time comes, although when this time will come we don't know. Pip is to be placed under a tutor, and there is a large amount of money given for his expenses. He should consider Jaggers his guardian and Jaggers will give him money when it is needed. The amount is sufficient for Pip's education and maintenance. I wonder how much money this is, and if there is a limit to it. I don't care much for Pip who doesn't seem to care much about anyone but himself - and those he thinks are great already - and I'm wondering if he will be able to control himself in his spending to maintain what he will consider his "great expectations." But for now it is decided Pip will go to London in a week. Enough time to get new clothing ordered. While I don't like the young Pip at least the old one has thoughts like this to show me that now he is looking back and seeing how awful he was.

"I never could have believed it without experience, but as Joe and Biddy became more at their cheerful ease again, I became quite gloomy. Dissatisfied with my fortune, of course I could not be; but it is possible that I may have been, without quite knowing it, dissatisfied with myself.

Any how, I sat with my elbow on my knee and my face upon my hand, looking into the fire, as those two talked about my going away, and about what they should do without me, and all that. And whenever I caught one of them looking at me, though never so pleasantly (and they often looked at me,—particularly Biddy), I felt offended: as if they were expressing some mistrust of me. Though Heaven knows they never did by word or sign."



Mary Lou | 1306 comments Kim wrote: " I'm trying to remember a book we read that had someone in the story also having his or her finger mentioned quite often. I can't remember what the book is, but I'm pretty sure I saw some fingers in the illustrations. Either that or I'm going crazy.."

I believe you're thinking of Bleak House, and the painting on Tulkinghorn's office ceiling.


Mary Lou | 1306 comments And whenever I caught one of them looking at me, though never so pleasantly (and they often looked at me,—particularly Biddy), I felt offended: as if they were expressing some mistrust of me. Though Heaven knows they never did by word or sign.

More guilt!


Peter | 1732 comments Kim

I think your estimate of Pip's age is correct. We are told at the beginning of the chapter that Pip has been an apprentice for four years. Apprenticeships in the early-mid 19C usually started around the age of 14 and were 7 years in length. So you see, your math skills are perfect. Top of the class!

I've counted at least 7 references to the finger of the mysterious gentleman. On four occasions Dickens mentions the man "throws" his finger and on three occasions he "bits" his finger. A busy finger indeed.

I found the chapter very clearly demonstrated the gulf that now separates Pip from Joe and the forge. How pleased Pip must be to learn that he will indeed have the ability to become a gentleman. There will be no cost to him except leaving the forge.

The chasm that has been initiated between Pip and Joe is clearly seen in their separate reactions to the news. Joe, for his part, says that "Pip is that hearty welcome ... to go free with his services, to honour and fortun' " while Pip, in his reflective narrative voice, comments "O dear good Joe, whom I was so ready to leave and so unthankful to ... . O dear good faithful tender Joe, I feel the loving tremble of your hand upon my arm, as solemnly this day as if it had been the rustle of an angel's wing!"

There is so much revealed in these few lines, and yet there is far more mystery in them as well. As we read through GE we are experiencing two narrative voices. The first is Pip as a mature adult who is looking back on the entire scope of his life. The second Pip is the one who is in the narrative present of the chapter which is being read. In this manner Dickens is able to both be reflective and immediate. As readers we realize that Pip knows what we as readers do not know. As the mature narrator, Pip is thus able to signal what will come, what might come and even what will not occur in the future. This point of view creates curiosity, wonder and frustration all at the same time.

What does Pip know that we do not? When will we as readers find out? All we do know is that Pip is telling the story so he has survived the narrative of his life. What his life has been is still a mystery to the reader.


Everyman | 829 comments Kim wrote: ""A highly popular murder had been committed, and Mr. Wopsle was imbrued in blood to the eyebrows. He gloated over every abhorrent adjective in the description, and identified himself with every witness at the Inquest...."

I loved this passage, though frankly I don't think it fits with Mr. Wopsle's character as I thought of it up to now. But I'll gladly overlook that in my reveling in the image of Wopsle acting in the capacity of Timon of Athens (one of Shakespeare's bloodiest characters). "He enjoyed himself thoroughly, and we all enjoyed ourselves, and were delightfully comfortable." As did I.


Everyman | 829 comments At this stage of their lives, Joe is a much better person than Pip is. And I grieve to believe that this may always be true. Pip may be wealthy, and may go for a gentleman, but I suspect that Joe is a better true gentleman than Pip will ever be.


Bionic Jean (BionicJean) | 965 comments Everyman wrote: "At this stage of their lives, Joe is a much better person than Pip is. And I grieve to believe that this may always be true..."

I agree, and wonder whether Dickens was writing out his inner sense of shame with Pip. There are echoes of Steerforth for me too; the character who knew he was a bad egg, but wished he weren't.

Mr. Wopsle is someone I'd totally forgotten until this reread :) Dickens is such a joy to read with new details spotted every time.


Bionic Jean (BionicJean) | 965 comments Peter - your post, as always, is full of so many insights. Thank you!

Dickens really seems to enjoy mentioning fingers, doesn't he? I expect it's because they can be literal, and also metaphorical. A "finger of doom" or a "finger of fortune". Fingers on signs, and pointing, represent a way to follow.

I'm also thinking of fingers as instructions and commands. Waggling a finger at a child to tell it off. Poking a finger at at someone - Pip will have had a lot of this from his sister! And insults. I'm put in mind of William Shakespeare "'Do you bite your thumb at me, sir?' 'No but I bite my thumb'" A dire insult from one gentleman to another was putting the fleshy part of one's thumb behind the top teeth, and flicking it out again. It was a little like throwing down the gauntlet for a duel, or slapping one's glove against the other's cheek.

What we know of Mr. Jaggers so far is that he keeps his own counsel, and as he keeps telling Pip, never does anything out of kindness, but only because "I am paid to do it". He seems dispassionate, cynical and world-weary.

Does him biting his finger so often indicate that he is biting his thumb at the world, and all its antics? Or is it just another shorthand pointer by Dickens; helpfully telling us that whenever there is a stranger in the room who is biting his finger, it is likely to be Mr. Jaggers?


Peter | 1732 comments Jean wrote: "Peter - your post, as always, is full of so many insights. Thank you!

Dickens really seems to enjoy mentioning fingers, doesn't he? I expect it's because they can be literal, and also metaphorical..."


My guess is that all the aggressive finger actions are part of the wider concept of violence that is being developed in the novel. Jaggers' finger is an agressive, assertive one. It seems designed to put people on notice, put people in their place, and put its owner in a position of authority and superior knowledge.

To me, the early indications from the Three Jolly Bargemen are that Jaggers certainly sees the world as a hostile place and it is his intent to poke and prod the world into a form of his own choosing.

I liked your listing of all the ways fingers can be seen, utilized and incorporated. Rest assured, however, that when we meet someday we will intertwine or pinky fingers and pledge allegiance to the Old Curiosity Club.


message 10: by Kim (new) - rated it 5 stars

Kim | 3027 comments I'm narrowing it down. I think it was a man (with one special finger) and in Bleak House. I'll get it some day.


message 11: by Kim (new) - rated it 5 stars

Kim | 3027 comments

"Saturday night at the Three Jolly Bargemen"

Chapter 18

John McLenan

1861

Dickens's Great Expectations,

Harper's Weekly 5 (9 February 1861)

Text Illustrated:

The strange gentleman, with an air of authority not to be disputed, and with a manner expressive of knowing something secret about every one of us that would effectually do for each individual if he chose to disclose it, left the back of the settle, and came into the space between the two settles, in front of the fire, where he remained standing, his left hand in his pocket, and he biting the forefinger of his right.

“From information I have received,” said he, looking round at us as we all quailed before him, “I have reason to believe there is a blacksmith among you, by name Joseph—or Joe—Gargery. Which is the man?”

“Here is the man,” said Joe.

The strange gentleman beckoned him out of his place, and Joe went.

“You have an apprentice,” pursued the stranger, “commonly known as Pip? Is he here?”

“I am here!” I cried.



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Kim | 3027 comments

"Pip's a gentleman of fortune, then" said Joe, "and God bless him in it!"

Chapter 18

John McLenan

1861

Dickens's Great Expectations,

Harper's Weekly 5 (9 February 1861)

Text Illustrated:

I thanked him and ran home again, and there I found that Joe had already locked the front door and vacated the state parlor, and was seated by the kitchen fire with a hand on each knee, gazing intently at the burning coals. I too sat down before the fire and gazed at the coals, and nothing was said for a long time.

My sister was in her cushioned chair in her corner, and Biddy sat at her needle-work before the fire, and Joe sat next Biddy, and I sat next Joe in the corner opposite my sister. The more I looked into the glowing coals, the more incapable I became of looking at Joe; the longer the silence lasted, the more unable I felt to speak.

At length I got out, “Joe, have you told Biddy?”

“No, Pip,” returned Joe, still looking at the fire, and holding his knees tight, as if he had private information that they intended to make off somewhere, “which I left it to yourself, Pip.”

“I would rather you told, Joe.”

“Pip’s a gentleman of fortun’ then,” said Joe, “and God bless him in it!”

Biddy dropped her work, and looked at me. Joe held his knees and looked at me. I looked at both of them. After a pause, they both heartily congratulated me; but there was a certain touch of sadness in their congratulations that I rather resented.



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

Kim | 3027 comments

"At the Jolly Bargemen"

Chapter 18

Charles Green

Dickens's Great Expectations, Gadshill Edition

The Annotated Dickens provides the following caption, which is not in the original Gadshill Edition: "He bit the side of a great forefinger as he watched the group"

Text Illustrated:

It was in the fourth year of my apprenticeship to Joe, and it was a Saturday night. There was a group assembled round the fire at the Three Jolly Bargemen, attentive to Mr. Wopsle as he read the newspaper aloud. Of that group I was one.

A highly popular murder had been committed, and Mr. Wopsle was imbrued in blood to the eyebrows. He gloated over every abhorrent adjective in the description, and identified himself with every witness at the Inquest. He faintly moaned, “I am done for,” as the victim, and he barbarously bellowed, “I’ll serve you out,” as the murderer. He gave the medical testimony, in pointed imitation of our local practitioner; and he piped and shook, as the aged turnpike-keeper who had heard blows, to an extent so very paralytic as to suggest a doubt regarding the mental competency of that witness. The coroner, in Mr. Wopsle’s hands, became Timon of Athens; the beadle, Coriolanus. He enjoyed himself thoroughly, and we all enjoyed ourselves, and were delightfully comfortable. In this cosey state of mind we came to the verdict Wilful Murder.

Then, and not sooner, I became aware of a strange gentleman leaning over the back of the settle opposite me, looking on. There was an expression of contempt on his face, and he bit the side of a great forefinger as he watched the group of faces.

“Well!” said the stranger to Mr. Wopsle, when the reading was done, “you have settled it all to your own satisfaction, I have no doubt?”

Everybody started and looked up, as if it were the murderer. He looked at everybody coldly and sarcastically.

“Guilty, of course?” said he. “Out with it. Come!”

“Sir,” returned Mr. Wopsle, “without having the honor of your acquaintance, I do say Guilty.” Upon this we all took courage to unite in a confirmatory murmur.



message 14: by Kim (new) - rated it 5 stars

Kim | 3027 comments

"At The Three Jully Bargemen"

Chapter 18

Harry Furniss

1910

Text Illustrated:

It was in the fourth year of my apprenticeship to Joe, and it was a Saturday night. There was a group assembled round the fire at the Three Jolly Bargemen, attentive to Mr. Wopsle as he read the newspaper aloud. Of that group I was one.

A highly popular murder had been committed, and Mr. Wopsle was imbrued in blood to the eyebrows. He gloated over every abhorrent adjective in the description, and identified himself with every witness at the Inquest. He faintly moaned, “I am done for,” as the victim, and he barbarously bellowed, “I’ll serve you out,” as the murderer. He gave the medical testimony, in pointed imitation of our local practitioner; and he piped and shook, as the aged turnpike-keeper who had heard blows, to an extent so very paralytic as to suggest a doubt regarding the mental competency of that witness. The coroner, in Mr. Wopsle’s hands, became Timon of Athens; the beadle, Coriolanus. He enjoyed himself thoroughly, and we all enjoyed ourselves, and were delightfully comfortable. In this cosey state of mind we came to the verdict Wilful Murder.

Then, and not sooner, I became aware of a strange gentleman leaning over the back of the settle opposite me, looking on. There was an expression of contempt on his face, and he bit the side of a great forefinger as he watched the group of faces."


Commentary:

Harry Furniss, son of an English engineer but born in Wexford, having trained and worked as an artist and draughtsman in his native Ireland, in 1873 went to London to look for artistic work. After seven years of free-lance work which included pen-and-ink caricatures published in The Illustrated London News, at the age twenty-six, he began what would become a life-time career as a magazine illustrator when in October 1880 Punch published his parodic drawing of the Temple Bar dragon as his first staff commission. He continued with that magazine for fourteen years, and by his own calculation produced for that celebrated journal of metropolitan humour "over two thousand six hundred designs, from the smallest to the largest (the latter were published in the Christmas numbers, 1890 and 1891)" (Hammerton 38). His series The Essence of Parliament contained caricatures of the leading Whig and Tory politicians of the day, most notably Sir William Gladstone, whom the artist habitually depicted in large collars. An ardent Unionist, he took issue in print and illustrations with the Irish Nationalists in Parliament, satirizing one Nationalist Member of Parliament, Swift MacNeill, as a gorilla.

Hot-tempered, brash, and occasionally mendacious, Furniss could not have been an easy man to work with, and it is not surprising that his visual criticisms of Irish politicians in Punch resulted in threats and even an assault upon his person. Simon Houfe has described his sketches of members from both sides of the House as "sometimes severe, generally humorous, and always well-observed" (The Dictionary of British Book Illustrators and Caricaturists, as cited in Cohen and Wakeling, p. 104). Furniss also wrote articles, jokes, and dramatic criticism for Punch during his time as a staffer. Moreover, his drawings appeared in The Illustrated London News from 1876 to 1884. In 1894, Furniss left Punch under an artistic cloud after the magazine's publishers discovered that he had sold Pears Soap the copyright to one of his drawings for advertising.

By the time that he struck out on his own to edit and illustrate his own magazine of cartoons and humour, Like Joka in 1894, he had illustrated Lewis Carroll's Sylvie and Bruno (1889) and Sylvie and Bruno Concluded (1893). However, when his magazine failed, he moved to the United States where he joined Thomas Alva Edison in the fledgling film industry from 1912 through 1913, acting in early films, and in 1914 pioneering the first animated cartoon film. His artistic work on Dickens's novels in 1910's The Charles Dickens Library (18 volumes) was the culmination of a life devoted to the novelist, about whom (among other topics) he had lectured all over England. He also illustrated an edition of the works of William Makepeace Thackeray and wrote Confessions of a Caricaturist.



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

Kim | 3027 comments

"And the communication I have got to make is, that he has Great Expectations"

Chapter 18

H. M. Brock

1901

Text Illustrated:

It began with the strange gentleman’s sitting down at the table, drawing the candle to him, and looking over some entries in his pocket-book. He then put up the pocket-book and set the candle a little aside, after peering round it into the darkness at Joe and me, to ascertain which was which.

“My name,” he said, “is Jaggers, and I am a lawyer in London. I am pretty well known. I have unusual business to transact with you, and I commence by explaining that it is not of my originating. If my advice had been asked, I should not have been here. It was not asked, and you see me here. What I have to do as the confidential agent of another, I do. No less, no more.”

Finding that he could not see us very well from where he sat, he got up, and threw one leg over the back of a chair and leaned upon it; thus having one foot on the seat of the chair, and one foot on the ground.

“Now, Joseph Gargery, I am the bearer of an offer to relieve you of this young fellow your apprentice. You would not object to cancel his indentures at his request and for his good? You would want nothing for so doing?”

“Lord forbid that I should want anything for not standing in Pip’s way,” said Joe, staring.

“Lord forbidding is pious, but not to the purpose,” returned Mr. Jaggers. “The question is, Would you want anything? Do you want anything?”

“The answer is,” returned Joe, sternly, “No.”

I thought Mr. Jaggers glanced at Joe, as if he considered him a fool for his disinterestedness. But I was too much bewildered between breathless curiosity and surprise, to be sure of it.

“Very well,” said Mr. Jaggers. “Recollect the admission you have made, and don’t try to go from it presently.”

“Who’s a going to try?” retorted Joe.

“I don’t say anybody is. Do you keep a dog?”

“Yes, I do keep a dog.”

“Bear in mind then, that Brag is a good dog, but Holdfast is a better. Bear that in mind, will you?” repeated Mr. Jaggers, shutting his eyes and nodding his head at Joe, as if he were forgiving him something. “Now, I return to this young fellow. And the communication I have got to make is, that he has great expectations.”

Joe and I gasped, and looked at one another.

“I am instructed to communicate to him,” said Mr. Jaggers, throwing his finger at me sideways, “that he will come into a handsome property. Further, that it is the desire of the present possessor of that property, that he be immediately removed from his present sphere of life and from this place, and be brought up as a gentleman,—in a word, as a young fellow of great expectations.”


Commentary:

Henry Matthew Brock (1875-1960), the son of a specialist reader in oriental languages for Cambridge University Press, was the brother of the better-known artist Charles Edmund Brock (1870-1938), with whom he shared a studio. Like his brother, he contributed to the great magazine of Victorian humour, Punch, but unlike Charles Edmund, who painted in oils and was elected a member of the British Institution, the younger Brock worked in advertising. In addition to illustrating Great Expectations, he did four colour plates for the 1935 A Christmas Carol, and he was one of seven artists who contributed illustrations to Conan Doyle's His Last Bow (1909).


message 16: by Peter (last edited Feb 20, 2017 08:57AM) (new) - rated it 5 stars

Peter | 1732 comments Thanks for the illustrations Kim.

The John McLenan "Dickens's Great Expectations" shows a very aged and faded Mrs. Joe. It is interesting how McLenan places her in the back of the scene. Her great energy, strength and domination of Joe and Pip is clearly shown as being at an end.


Bionic Jean (BionicJean) | 965 comments The more I see of Charles Green's work the more photographic I think his style is. Thanks Kim.

Yes indeed Peter, Mr. Jaggers clearly views himself as authoritative, and keeping people in their place.


Tristram | 2570 comments Kim,

Was it not Mr. Bucket's finger that played a prominent role in Bleak House? What Mr. Bucket and Mr. Jaggers have in common is that both of them are men who seem to be very successful in their respective profession and that their profession and their personality have somehow blended. Jaggers, for instance, attaches a lot of importance to make sure that no one ever puts words into his mouth that he has not uttered. I am thinking of his underlining the fact that he just brought Mr. Pocket up as a possible instructor and has not exactly recommended him. He is very non-committal, like a typical lawyer.

I like him for stressing that whatever he does he does because he is being paid for it. That way, he precludes people from underlying his actions with motives that might not be actually at the bottom of his actions. This may come over as cynical, but it certainly is not hypocritical, and it is probably very hard to make friends with a man of Mr. Jaggers's nature.

The smell of soap that adheres to his hands might indicate that it may be part of his profession to whitewash people, i.e. to make somebody seem innocent who is actually guilty of a crime. This may be disturbing but then it is also part of his job and he makes no secret of it. In a way, Jaggers is a counterpoint to the motif of guilt that pervades those early chapters, and this is also shown in the way he is introduced into this scene: Everyone present in the Wopsle group seems to have no doubts as to the guilt of the person accused in the murder case, but Mr. Jaggers rightly points out that the English law is based on the principle that a man or woman has to be assumed innocent unless their guilt be proven beyond a doubt. Maybe, Mr. Jaggers is not such a sinister person after all - although his bullying ways and his dominating finger may, pardon the pun, point in a different direction.


message 19: by Kim (new) - rated it 5 stars

Kim | 3027 comments Tristram wrote: "Kim,

Was it not Mr. Bucket's finger that played a prominent role in Bleak House? What Mr. Bucket and Mr. Jaggers have in common is that both of them are men who seem to be very successful in their..."



Yes! That's it!!!!! Thank you Tristram.

I was wondering when Mr. Jaggers points out that a man or woman has to be assumed innocent until proved guilty. Do you think this really happens? It always seems to me that the opposite is true. It's not right, but it's true.


Tristram | 2570 comments This is where Mr. Jaggers points out that every person has to be assumed innocent until proved guilty:

“I know you do,” said the stranger; “I knew you would. I told you so. But now I’ll ask you a question. Do you know, or do you not know, that the law of England supposes every man to be innocent, until he is proved—proved—to be guilty?”


As to Pip's becoming less likeable with the advent of his great expecations, I also noted that he is all of a sudden very eager to leave the forge for London. In fact, he'd be willing to leave on the spur of the moment, and then we have Jaggers's very ungracious comment, "Well, Mr. Pip, I think the sooner you leave here - as you are to be a gentleman - the better."

I also find it very interesting that he is supposed to retain his name of Pip instead of sticking to the more formal "Philip Pirrip". After all, the latter name would be more in line with a gentleman's lifestyle. Is there any deeper significance of Pip's having to retain his rather humble name?


Peter | 1732 comments Tristram wrote: "This is where Mr. Jaggers points out that every person has to be assumed innocent until proved guilty:

“I know you do,” said the stranger; “I knew you would. I told you so. But now I’ll ask you a ..."


Regarding Pip not now becoming Philip as would become a gentleman - or gentleman in training. Could it be that it is a signal from Dickens that Pip may be trained to be a gentleman, he may dress like a gentleman and may even learn to speak like a gentleman, but he will never become a gentleman. His shortened and trunkaded name is what Pip really will always be. Pip will always be a Pip, never a Philip.


Bionic Jean (BionicJean) | 965 comments Tristram said, "The smell of soap that adheres to his hands might indicate that it may be part of his profession to whitewash people, i.e. to make somebody seem innocent who is actually guilty of a crime." I particularly like this idea!


Everyman | 829 comments Jean wrote: "Peter - your post, as always, is full of so many insights.
...
Dickens really seems to enjoy mentioning fingers, doesn't he? I expect it's because they can be literal, and also metaphorical. A "finger of doom" or a "finger of fortune". Fingers on signs, and pointing, represent a way to follow. "


You don't do half bad on insights yourself, Jean. I really enjoyed that post.


message 24: by Everyman (last edited Feb 20, 2017 03:31PM) (new) - rated it 4 stars

Everyman | 829 comments Kim wrote: ""At the Jolly Bargemen"

Chapter 18... Then, and not sooner, I became aware of a strange gentleman leaning over the back of the settle opposite me, looking on.."


Wait a minute. In the illustration (the Charles Green one) Laggers is leaning on the back of the settle that Pip is sitting on, not the one opposite.


Everyman | 829 comments Kim wrote: "Biddy dropped her work, and looked at me. Joe held his knees and looked at me. I looked at both of them. After a pause, they both heartily congratulated me; but there was a certain touch of sadness in their congratulations that I rather resented. "

I found this immensely sad. They both know that they can have no place in the future life of Pip the gentleman. Already he's expressed to Biddy his shame at being ordinary. Now he can become non-ordinary, and she (and Joe) know that it's going to take him permanently out of their lives.


Everyman | 829 comments Tristram wrote: "He is very non-committal, like a typical lawyer."

So you consider me non-committal?????


Everyman | 829 comments It just occurred to me to wonder why Jaggers seeks Joe and Pip out at the Jolly Bargemen rather than at the forge where he would be most likely to find them. Yes, it makes for a more dramatic scene, but would Jaggers really hang around a pub hoping that at some point they'll show up? Seems out of character for him.


message 28: by Peter (last edited Feb 20, 2017 03:39PM) (new) - rated it 5 stars

Peter | 1732 comments Everyman wrote: "It just occurred to me to wonder why Jaggers seeks Joe and Pip out at the Jolly Bargemen rather than at the forge where he would be most likely to find them. Yes, it makes for a more dramatic scene..."

Perhaps Jaggers thought he would find us at the Three Jolly Bargemen. :-)


Bionic Jean (BionicJean) | 965 comments LOL Peter - I just come from giggling at Everyman's comment about Quilp elsewhere, to find this and E's nice mention of insights (even though I know I'm really just having meandering thoughts!)

I shall retire happy tonight! Bon nuit my friends :)


Natalie Tyler (Doulton) I hope I am not jumping ahead too far: I marked these two paragraphs as worthy of discussion: oh, what can ail Pip? Why is he dissatisfied with himself and a bit offended with Joe and Biddy?

"I never could have believed it without experience, but as Joe and Biddy became more at their cheerful ease again, I became quite gloomy. Dissatisfied with my fortune, of course I could not be; but it is possible that I may have been, without quite knowing it, dissatisfied with myself.

Anyhow, I sat with my elbow on my knee and my face upon my hand, looking into the fire, as those two talked about my going away, and about what they should do without me, and all that. And whenever I caught one of them looking at me, though never so pleasantly (and they often looked at me - particularly Biddy), I felt offended: as if they were expressing some mistrust of me. Though Heaven knows they never did by word or sign."


Everyman | 829 comments Natalie wrote: "I hope I am not jumping ahead too far: I marked these two paragraphs as worthy of discussion: oh, what can ail Pip? Why is he dissatisfied with himself and a bit offended with Joe and Biddy?

"I ne..."


Talk about foreshadowing! This being a serial publication, readers must have been anxious about what would happen in the next few episodes that they had to wait weeks to read.


message 32: by Tristram (last edited Feb 21, 2017 01:02AM) (new) - rated it 5 stars

Tristram | 2570 comments Peter wrote: "Tristram wrote: "This is where Mr. Jaggers points out that every person has to be assumed innocent until proved guilty:

“I know you do,” said the stranger; “I knew you would. I told you so. But no..."


That's exactly what I was thinking, Peter remembering how you once pointed out the meaning of the shortened "Pip" in connection with his quest for identity.

Apart from that, his unknown benefactor or benefactress could also have made this stipulation in order not to lose track of him. So this could be an example of how the reality of the novel and its deeper meaning go hand in hand.


Tristram | 2570 comments Everyman wrote: "Kim wrote: "Biddy dropped her work, and looked at me. Joe held his knees and looked at me. I looked at both of them. After a pause, they both heartily congratulated me; but there was a certain touc..."

This idea is very nicely illustrated when Pip is watching the two from his window, which is one storey above them so that he cannot really understand their conversation, although he catches his own name from time to time.


Tristram | 2570 comments Everyman wrote: "Tristram wrote: "He is very non-committal, like a typical lawyer."

So you consider me non-committal?????"


Well, you're not always a lawyer, but also an Everyman.


Tristram | 2570 comments Everyman wrote: "It just occurred to me to wonder why Jaggers seeks Joe and Pip out at the Jolly Bargemen rather than at the forge where he would be most likely to find them. Yes, it makes for a more dramatic scene..."

I didn't really find that strange because after his arrival, Jaggers might have refreshened himself with a meal at the inn and then blended with the village people in order to collect information on Pip and Joe.


Tristram | 2570 comments Everyman wrote: "This being a serial publication, readers must have been anxious about what would happen in the next few episodes that they had to wait weeks to read."

Like we do, and it's quite hard at times.


Tristram | 2570 comments Natalie wrote: "I hope I am not jumping ahead too far: I marked these two paragraphs as worthy of discussion: oh, what can ail Pip? Why is he dissatisfied with himself and a bit offended with Joe and Biddy?

"I ne..."


Pip's rather blurred sense of dissatisfaction is quite interesting here and definitely a good way of making the readers feel suspense in terms of foreshadowing. Just note that Pip rashly excludes the idea that the dissatisfaction could be with his fortune and his expectations, but for all that he feels that something is going awry in his life. It shows that one the one hand, there is a core of good nature in Pip but at the same time circumstances are developing in a way to change him for the worse. Even at the time, he is in two minds - and this is not just the more mature narrator commenting on the younger Pip.


message 38: by Bionic Jean (last edited Feb 21, 2017 07:03AM) (new) - rated it 5 stars

Bionic Jean (BionicJean) | 965 comments I too noticed the timbre of those two paragraphs, thanks Natalie, and had similar thoughts of foreshadowing. It also makes me realise how clever Dickens was to have an older narrator telling of his childhood, as the two views become slightly blurred here, with a third voice, the omniscient narrator pushing his way between them. I don't remember Dickens having such clear instances of multiple personalities in his writing before this novel. It also makes the reader sit up and pay attention in readiness for the next part. As, of course, we are ;)


Xan Shadowflutter (shadowflutter) | 615 comments Everyman wrote: "At this stage of their lives, Joe is a much better person than Pip is. And I grieve to believe that this may always be true. Pip may be wealthy, and may go for a gentleman, but I suspect that Joe i..."

Perhaps one of the (or the) major points of the story.


Xan Shadowflutter (shadowflutter) | 615 comments According to body language "experts" a finger rubbing underneath the nose or on the chin can be a sign of lying or deception.


Xan Shadowflutter (shadowflutter) | 615 comments Jaggers is a perfect name for Jaggers. I get the feeling I'm being shived the entire time he's talking, leaving jagged wounds all over my body. And a very opinionated (judgmental) man for a man of no opinion. He also represents, at least so far, the gentleman Pip so yearns to be. Miss Havisham, Estella, Jaggers -- and Pip sees none of it. Dickens has it in for the genteel here.


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Xan Shadowflutter (shadowflutter) | 615 comments I'm feeling darkness and gloom everywhere. They walk in the marshes at night and from the Three Jolly Bargemen to the forge at night; Miss Havisham's room is barely candlelit, Pip walks up the stairs at Satis House with but a candle, Estella always walks with a candle. So many candles. Everyone is an imprisoned looking for the light. Where's the sun?


Peter | 1732 comments Xan Shadowflutter wrote: "I'm feeling darkness and gloom everywhere. They walk in the marshes at night and from the Three Jolly Bargemen to the forge at night; Miss Havisham's room is barely candlelit, Pip walks up the stai..."

Xan

GE is a gloomy novel, isn't it? I have the feeling that the sun won't shine for a long, long time.

It does make for an interesting reading experience to track all the gloom and doom and see how each character is associated with it. Estella is a good example of a person associated with light - or the lack of it.

I always thought TTC and BH were gloomy. Both now seem to take second place to GE.


Mary Lou | 1306 comments Xan Shadowflutter wrote: "I'm feeling darkness and gloom everywhere. They walk in the marshes at night and from the Three Jolly Bargemen to the forge at night; Miss Havisham's room is barely candlelit, Pip walks up the stai..."

When I'm reading 19th century novels, I never know if the author is trying to set a mood, or if it's just an accurate portrayal of how things were in the evenings before electricity. But I suppose it's the latter -- Dickens made miserly Scrooge's apartments dimly lit, but Fezziwig's Christmas party, held in December after a day's work, certainly had a feeling of light and warmth.


message 45: by Kim (new) - rated it 5 stars

Kim | 3027 comments Xan Shadowflutter wrote: "I'm feeling darkness and gloom everywhere. They walk in the marshes at night and from the Three Jolly Bargemen to the forge at night; Miss Havisham's room is barely candlelit, Pip walks up the stai..."

I also thought of something regarding darkness and gloom, but I can't share it yet, not until Tristram opens our next thread. :-)

As to lying, now I'm going to have to pay attention to how often I rub my nose or chin. I have never figured out how not to lie even though the Bible clearly tells me not to, but if a friend of yours asks how you like her new, absolutely atrocious hair cut, what else am I supposed to do? :-)


message 46: by Bionic Jean (last edited Feb 25, 2017 02:01AM) (new) - rated it 5 stars

Bionic Jean (BionicJean) | 965 comments LOL Kim! Look over her shoulder and say in a startled way "Oh my goodness, look at that!!" The rest is down to you ...

I'd also heard that the way a person glances when they talk to you can tell a trained psychologist if they are lying. Apparently when someone is inventing something, they tend to look one way, and if they're remembering, they look in another. Something to do with which bit of the brain is in use. I think I'd rather not know though.


Xan Shadowflutter (shadowflutter) | 615 comments Though I posted the finger lying comment I'm a bit skeptical. Learn a particular person's body language and you can probably interpret what they're thinking, but generalizing from the specific? I've read that the finger on chin or near nose is a holdover from when the child would cover his or her mouth when lying -- that their parents or someone made them aware of it, so when lying as an adult they only use their finger. This sounds like a bunch of hooey to this untrained mind. If you remember to not cover your mouth why put your hand anywhere near it when lying or deceiving?


message 48: by Bionic Jean (last edited Feb 25, 2017 04:29AM) (new) - rated it 5 stars

Bionic Jean (BionicJean) | 965 comments Quite. Though children are funny when they try to lie. I remember one little boy who would open his eyes very wide and adopt an earnest expression - and I instantly knew he was lying! LOL

Perhaps these "tics" are a kind of displacement activity, so the theory is that the person lying is concentrating so hard on the lie that they become unaware of their body language?

Whatever the truth of it is, I like the observation about Mr. Jaggers. Perhaps Dickens noticed a tendency in someone he knew.


message 49: by Xan Shadowflutter (last edited Feb 25, 2017 04:51AM) (new) - added it

Xan Shadowflutter (shadowflutter) | 615 comments Displacement activity. That sounds possible, which leads to . . . Everyone knows you're lying when you cover your mouth, so you displace and use your finger, and after using your finger again and again everyone learns you are lying, so you displace again. No wonder as a species we've developed complex, layered behavior patterns.


Xan Shadowflutter (shadowflutter) | 615 comments For those interested, here are the Harvard classics (all the fiction) listed in alphabetic order. They are for your e-reader only. You can download them individually. Hope this helps someone.

http://www.openculture.com/free_ebooks


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