Chapters 3 – 7
2. Joe says, "We don't know what you have done, but we wouldn't have you starved to death
for it, poor miserable fellow-creature." What do we learn about Joe's character from this
7. "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." Explain the significance of this quote.
Chapters 13 – 19
Chapters 20 – 25
Chapters 26 – 28
2. Explain why Pip said, "If I could have kept him away by paying money, I certainly would
have paid money."
Chapters 29 – 34
4. ". . . I thought of the beautiful young Estella . . . with absolute abhorrence of the contrast
between the jail and her." Come back to this question later, after completing the novel, and
explain why this statement is ironic.
Chapters 35 – 39
Chapters 40 – 43
Chapters 44 – 48
3. "Don't be afraid of my being a blessing to him, I shall not be that." (Estella to Pip)
Explain what Estella means.
4. What does Pip find out from Wemmick?
5. What plans do Pip and Herbert make to get Magwitch out of the country?
Chapters 49 – 52
Chapters 53 – 59
5. Pip says, "I only saw him as a much better man than I had been to Joe." Explain how
this shows Pip's growth as a character.
6. How does Pip treat Magwitch after his capture?
ANSWER KEY SHORT ANSWER STUDY GUIDE QUESTIONS - Great Expectations
1. Identify Pip, Mrs. Joe and Joe.
Pip is a young, orphaned boy who lives with his sister (Mrs. Joe) and her husband (Joe),
2. Who does Pip meet in the graveyard?
Pip meets a convict in the graveyard.
3. What is Pip ordered to fetch under threat of losing his heart and liver?
The convict orders him to get a file and some food.
4. Explain how Pip and Joe were "brought up by hand."
Mrs. Joe, Pip's sister, has a bit of a temper and dominates over both Joe and Pip. She
frequently goes on a rampage at which time it is not uncommon for her to spank Pip and
5. What did Pip do which caused him to have a guilty conscience?
He took pork pie from Mrs. Joe (to give to the convict).
Chapters 3 - 7
1. Why does Joe give Pip more gravy during dinner?
He is trying to compensate for Mr. Pumblechook's sermonizing to Pip about his character.
2. Joe says, "We don't know what you have done, but we wouldn't have you starved to death for
it, poor miserable fellow-creature." What do we learn about Joe's character from this quote?
Joe is kind-hearted and cares about others' needs. He can overlook faults and see a person
as a fellow human being who should be treated with basic considerations.
3. Identify Mr. Wopsle and Mr. Pumblechook.
Mr. Wopsle is a church clerk with theatrical tendencies.
Mr. Pumblechook is Joe's uncle who is overbearing, pompous and hypocritical.
4. What happened when Pip met the convict in the marshes the second time?
He gave the convict the file and food and happened to mention that there was a second
convict on the loose in the marsh area, too.
5. At the end of chapter 4, why did Pip "run for his life," and why didn't he get very far?
He thought the fact that the pork pie was missing was about to be discovered (and he
knew Mrs. Joe would go on a rampage). He only got as far as the door because soldiers
6. About what were the two convicts arguing when they were captured?
7. What news did Mrs. Joe bring at the end of Chapter 7?
She said that Miss Havisham wanted Pip to go "play" at her house.
Chapters 8 - 12
1. Identify Miss Havisham, Estella, and Biddy.
Miss Havisham is an elderly spinster jilted on her wedding day. Estella is the young girl
Miss Havisham has taken to raise. Biddy is the young niece of Mr. Wopsle.
2. How does Pip describe Miss Havisham's house?
He lies and describes a velvet coach, huge dogs, and games with flags. He describes
extravagance and splendor.
3. Why doesn't Pip tell the truth about Miss Havisham?
He does not want to be misunderstood. Relating the gloom and decay she lives in seems
insulting or rude to Pip, so he tells tales that do not allow a glimpse into her true life.
4. How does Pip feel about himself after his first meeting at Miss Havisham's?
He feels coarse and common and no longer wants to be a blacksmith.
5. What does Pip want from Biddy?
He wants her to teach him reading and writing.
6. How is Pip reminded of "his convict" in the Jolly Bargemen?
Another convict uses Joe's file to stir his drink, and he gives Pip money, supposedly from
7. "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." Explain the significance of this quote.
Often, people's lives are totally changed (either for better or worse) by a single event, or a
single coincidence. In Pip's case, his whole life is changed by meeting the convict in the
8. Why do Camilla, Raymond and Sarah Pocket visit Miss Havisham?
They visit her each year on her birthday to stay in her good graces in hopes of having a
Chapters 13 - 19
She asked for him to come to discuss Pip's apprenticeship -- and to give him money as a
reward for Pip's days of service to her.
2. Why does Mrs. Joe get the twenty-five pounds?
Mrs. Joe was insulted because Miss Havisham did not invite her to come with Joe. Joe
lies to her (saying Miss Havisham sent regards, etc.) and gives her the money to help
keep her from going on a rampage.
3. For what purpose does Pip wish to return to Miss Havisham's after he is dismissed?
Pip wanted to see Estella again.
4. Why does Biddy come to live with the Gargerys?
Mrs. Joe is attacked and beaten senseless. Biddy comes to look after her and to take care
of Joe and Pip.
5. Explain "Brag is a good dog, but Holdfast is a better."
It is better to keep your word than to brag and make weak promises.
6. What is Pip's great expectation?
He is to be educated, made a gentleman, and will come into an inheritance from a
7. Who will be Pip's tutor?
Matthew Pocket will be Pip's tutor.
8. What did Pip want Biddy to do for Joe?
Pip wanted her to help educate Joe so Joe wouldn't embarrass him in his new station in
1. Identify Herbert Pocket.
Herbert Pocket is Pip's London flat-mate. Pip also discovers he is the "pale young
gentleman" he had beaten in a fistfight at Miss Havisham's house some years before.
2. Who are Jaggers and Wemmick?
Jaggers is a criminal lawyer and Pip's guardian. Wemmick is Jaggers' clerk.
3. Why does Pip describe the seven little Pockets as "tumbling up" instead of "growing up"?
Their parental supervision is limited. Mrs. Pocket spends her time reading books about
4. Who are Startop and Drummle?
Drummle is an arrogant, unpleasant person.
5. What did Herbert tell Pip about Estella?
He told Pip that Estella was adopted by Miss Havisham.
Chapters 26 - 28
1. Contrast the dinner party at Jaggers' house with the one at Wemmick's.
Dinner at Jaggers' is served by the mysterious Molly, whom Wemmick had described as a
tamed beast. Drummle is rude and nearly causes a fight. Dinner with Wemmick and the
"Aged P" is warm and friendly.
2. Explain why Pip said, "If I could have kept him away by paying money, I certainly would have
Pip has become a snob and is ashamed of his coarse and common roots, particularly Joe.
3. Why does Joe call Pip "Sir"?
Joe recognizes that Pip is bettering himself and that they are no longer on the same social
level. Calling Pip "Sir" is an outward sign of his respect for Pip's education.
4. Joe says, "I'm all wrong in these clothes." Explain why.
Joe is a blacksmith, a common, uneducated man. He is at home in his old clothes, his
common clothes. Dressing in "Sunday best" clothes not only makes him physically
uncomfortable, it symbolizes his discomfort in a different social class, pretending (so-topeak)
to be someone he is not.
5. With whom did Pip share his coach?
Pip shared his coach with two convicts -- one of whom had given him the two one-pound
6. Who claimed to be the founder of Pip's fortunes?
Chapters 29 - 34
1. Who was Miss Havisham's new porter? How did Pip feel about that?
Orlick was the new porter. Orlick had been Joe's helper at his smith's shop. He and Pip
never got along because Orlick was always jealous of Pip. Also, Orlick was suspected of
being the one who attacked Mrs. Joe. With this background, Pip was naturally dismayed
to find Orlick in a trusted position at Miss Havisham's house.
2. Why did Estella and Herbert warn Pip not to love her (Estella)?
They both are fond of him and know that she is not capable of returning his love.
3. Who is Mr. Waldengarver?
It is ironic because Estella's own father is a convict and much of her real history is
connected with jail. Also, she is in effect in a jail at Miss Havisham's house. True, she
can go out and about, but the surroundings are certainly as depressing as a jail. Finally,
the way Estella is raised by Miss Havisham puts her in an emotional jail, one in which
she remains alone, cold, and distant from others.
Chapters 35 - 39
1. How do Pip and Herbert attack the problem of their debts?
They sit down and make out a list of their expenditures.
2. What news did the letter from Trabb & Co. bring?
It told of Mrs. Joe's death.
3. Why does Pip say Biddy has hurt him?
He is hurt because she does not believe he will come more often to visit Joe now that
Mrs. Joe has died.
4. What did Pip receive on his birthday?
He got a 500 pound bonus plus a guarantee of 500 pounds per year.
5. What did Pip do for Herbert?
He bought him a position so Herbert would have a steady income.
6. Describe the two sides of Wemmick's character.
At Jaggers' office, Wemmick shows no humor and is strictly businesslike. His values are
of how to acquire and protect "portable property." At home he is friendly, generous, and
much more relaxed.
7. Estella says, "I am what you have made me." Explain.
Estella has been raised by Miss Havisham to revenge mankind for the injustice done to
her (Miss Havisham) on her wedding day. She has made Estella cold, unfeeling, and
almost machine-like in her relationships with others. When Estella is cold and unfeeling
towards Miss Havisham, Miss Havisham is taken aback, thinking Estella ungrateful for
the years of care she has given her.
8. Who is Pip's benefactor?
Magwitch, the convict, is Pip's benefactor.
Chapters 40 - 43
He will be tried, imprisoned and hanged.
2. Who is Compeyson?
Compeyson is the other convict Pip found in the marsh. Compeyson and Magwitch,
though both are convicts, are enemies.
3. Who is Provis?
Provis is the name Magwitch assumed to protect his life upon his return to England.
4. Why does Herbert advise Pip to get Provis out of England?
First of all, it will make it easier for Pip to break away from Magwitch without fearing for
his safety (should Magwitch be offended and seek revenge). Secondly, Magwitch would
really be safer out of England himself.
5. Of what did Drummle inform Pip?
He told Pip that he was going to dine with Estella that evening.
Chapters 44 - 48
1. Explain how Miss Havisham has used Pip.
Miss Havisham used him to make her relatives think that he would inherit a sizeable
portion of her estate. Also, she used him for Estella to "practice" her ways against men.
Finally, she knew he thought she was his benefactress but never told him she was not.
2. What two things does Pip ask of Miss Havisham?
He asks for her to consider that Matthew Pocket's nature is superior to the other Pocket
cousins (to remember that he is a finer person than the rest), and he asks her to give him
the money for Herbert to retain his position.
3. "Don't be afraid of my being a blessing to him, I shall not be that." (Estella to Pip) Explain
what Estella means.
She meant that she would be only a shell of a wife for Drummle that emotional cold war
against men had not changed; she intended to make Drummle miserable in the end.
4. What does Pip find out from Wemmick?
Wemmick tells him that Magwitch is being hunted and that Pip's rooms are being
They will buy a boat and row up and down the river daily in order to dispel suspicion.
When it is safe, they will include Magwitch on their boat and row him to a ship which
will take him out of the country.
6. What does Pip discover about Molly?
Chapters 49 - 52
1. Miss Havisham is softer and more kind when Pip visits her again. Why?
The suffering she has caused Pip and the cruelty she has done to Estella have made her
suffer and feel pity.
2. What tragedy happened at Miss Havisham's house?
Miss Havisham got set on fire. Pip came back to the house and saved her (put out the
fire), but she had been burned badly and so had he (on his arms and hands).
3. How does Pip come to realize Magwitch is Estella's father?
Herbert relates what Magwitch has told him about his "missis" being tried for murdering
another woman and that the case made Jaggers famous.
4. What message does Pip get from Wemmick?
He let Pip know that it was time to take Magwitch out of the country.
Chapters 53 - 59
1. Who met Pip at the "little sluice house by the limekiln"?
Orlick met him there.
2. Why did Orlick try to kill Pip?
Orlick was jealous of Pip. Also, Pip had cost him his job at Miss Havisham's house and
had come between him and Biddy.
3. Trabb's boy helped Herbert and Startop find Pip. Explain why that is significant.
Trabb's boy had earlier been the source of great embarrassment for Pip, mocking him in
public. It is therefore ironic that he should be one responsible for Pip's rescue. This turn
of events adds to Dickens' positioning of good people with bad traits and bad people with
4. What happened to Magwitch?
Magwitch was captured during the escape, sent to prison, and died there before he would
have been executed.
5. Pip says, "I only saw him as a much better man than I had been to Joe." Explain how this
shows Pip's growth as a character.
Pip finally realizes that there is more to being a gentleman, an honorable person, than
having money and education. He realizes and regrets that he treated Joe poorly, and he
shows that he recognizes Magwitch was a good man although he was a convict.
7. What happened to Pip's "great expectations"?
They vanished. His physical fortune of land and money from Magwitch was forfeited to
the state, and just as importantly, he realized that his expectations of being a gentleman
with money would make him better were false.
8. Who nurses Pip back to health?
9. Why does Joe begin calling Pip "Sir" as Pip gets better?
In his weakened state, Pip is once again at Joe's level; however, as Pip gets better, his
station in life as a gentleman comes back into play, and Joe feels it necessary to recognize
that difference between them.
10. What surprises Pip when he arrives at Joe's house?
Joe and Biddy were just married.
11. How does Pip carry on with his life without great expectations?
He gets a job with the company for which Herbert works.
12. Is the relationship between Pip and Estella resolved? If so, how? If not, how not?