Monday, May 04, 2009

Great Expectations: Chapters 13-23

Chapters 13-18

Ch. 13
It was quite in vain for me to endeavor to make him sensible that he ought to speak to Miss Havisham. The more I made faces and gestures to him to do it, the more confidential, argumentative, and polite, he persisted in being to Me.

Poor Joe. Not his place, Miss Havisham's. Miss H pays Pip's indenture, though Joe never expected one. Pumblechook takes the credit.

Finally, I remember that when I got into my little bedroom, I was truly wretched, and had a strong conviction on me that I should never like Joe's trade. I had liked it once, but once was not now.

Why Pip? Because you've been exposed to Miss H and Estella?

Ch. 14
Home had never been a very pleasant place to me, because of my sister's temper. But, Joe had sanctified it, and I had believed in it. ...I had believed in the forge as the glowing road to manhood and independence. Within a single year all this was changed. Now it was all coarse and common, and I would not have had Miss Havisham and Estella see it on any account.

Oh, Pip. How sad their lives are though. They have no Joe.

Ch. 15
Education: Pip outgrew Mr. Wopsle's great-aunt, Biddy, and Mr. Wopsle

Whatever I acquired, I tried to impart to Joe.
What a difference a year makes. At the beginning, it was simply for Joe's sake, for learning's sake. Now it is for shame's sake, the specter of Estella.

...and I must remark of my sister, what is equally true of all the violent women I have ever seen, that passion was no excuse for her, because it is undeniable that instead of lapsing into passion, she consciously and deliberately took extraordinary pains to force herself into it, and became blindly furious by regular stages...

Let's see if I can follow the karma: Miss H was jilted -> she set up Pip for an obsession -> Pip's longing was born -> Pip asks for 1/2 day off to see Miss H, longing to see Estella -> so then Old Orlick wants a 1/2 day too -> Mrs. Joe gets mad over the 1/2 day off.

So what does Pip get? "Malignant enjoyment" from Miss H, over Estella being out of Pip's reach. On the way back: Orlick sometimes growled, "Beat it out, beat it out,—Old Clem! With a clink for the stout,—Old Clem!" I thought he had been drinking, but he was not drunk.

This is so different than the surreal ethereal singing of the song by Miss H, Estella, and Pip. I thought that was creepy. Not about Pip, but the old woman and the girl-woman. They tainted it from Joe's pure intention. Could the song signify something? It's the blacksmith song, so of course Orlick would sing it, but is there something more to this? Is this another kind of tainting of the song? They come home to a wounded Mrs. Joe. Could it have been Old Orlick?

Ch. 16
More mysterious karma: it was the irons filed by that convict of long ago. Joe determined the filing was done long ago. And Pip: I suffered unspeakable trouble while I considered and reconsidered whether I should at last dissolve that spell of my childhood and tell Joe all the story. For months afterwards, I every day settled the question finally in the negative, and reopened and reargued it next morning.

If it was Orlick, is he somehow connected to Pip's convict? Or to the other convict?
It may have been about a month after my sister's reappearance in the kitchen, when Biddy came to us with a small speckled box containing the whole of her worldly effects, and became a blessing to the household.
She takes care of brain-damaged Mrs. Joe, as well as the rest. She just knows what to do.

They interpret Mrs. Joe's cryptic T to mean she wants Orlick, and her appeasement that she wants him near, wants to make up for her temper. But I wonder, was he the one who attempted her murder? Could she be protecting herself or others?

Ch. 17
Pip visits Miss H on his birthday every year.
So unchanging was the dull old house, the yellow light in the darkened room, the faded spectre in the chair by the dressing-table glass, that I felt as if the stopping of the clocks had stopped Time in that mysterious place, and, while I and everything else outside it grew older, it stood still. Daylight never entered the house as to my thoughts and remembrances of it, any more than as to the actual fact. It bewildered me, and under its influence I continued at heart to hate my trade and to be ashamed of home.
Again like a fairy hill. Beware all who fall into the fairy's lair. You'll fall under their spell, time stops, and you can never leave.

Pips wakes up to Biddy's merits. And even while he does, he must be cutting her to the quick, so blind to how she might feel about his prattling on about a rich girl.
"Instead of that," said I, plucking up more grass and chewing a blade or two, "see how I am going on. Dissatisfied, and uncomfortable, and—what would it signify to me, being coarse and common, if nobody had told me so!

"Biddy turned her face suddenly towards mine, and looked far more attentively at me than she had looked at the sailing ships.

"It was neither a very true nor a very polite thing to say," she remarked, directing her eyes to the ships again. "Who said it?"
Biddy is wise and rational, but it's too late for Pip. There is no reasoning with the spell he's under. He gets so close, gets comfortable in his place, appreciates Joe and Biddy... "when all in a moment some confounding remembrance of the Havisham days would fall upon me like a destructive missile, and scatter my wits again."

Ch. 18
Pip wins the lottery! Or rather comes into money, given mysteriously by the lawyer he met at Miss Havisham's. Pip assumes his benefactor is Miss H, but I wonder. The last time a stranger looked for him at the pub, he was connected to Pip's convict. The lawyer suggests Matthew Pocket, also connected to Miss H, as Pip's tutor.

Pip can't tell Biddy, has Joe do 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.
Such a poignant moment, and Pip misses it entirely. His purity is lost. Wicked wicked Miss Havisham.
Looking towards the open window, I saw light wreaths from Joe's pipe floating there, and I fancied it was like a blessing from Joe,—not obtruded on me or paraded before me, but pervading the air we shared together.
Hang on to that, Pip.

Chapters 19-23

Ch. 19

I promised myself that I would do something for them one of these days, and formed a plan in outline for bestowing a dinner of roast-beef and plum-pudding, a pint of ale, and a gallon of condescension, upon everybody in the village.
So now generosity must include elevation above others? Oh Pip. You weren't like this before.

Biddy jealous? Ha, not of money.
The last I saw of them was, when I presently heard a scuffle behind me, and looking back, saw Joe throwing an old shoe after me and Biddy throwing another old shoe.
sweet Joe, sweet Biddy.
Heaven knows we need never be ashamed of our tears, for they are rain upon the blinding dust of earth, overlying our hard hearts. I was better after I had cried than before,—more sorry, more aware of my own ingratitude, more gentle. If I had cried before, I should have had Joe with me then.
Breaking the spell, some.

Ch. 20
To the lawyer's office....
Mr. Jaggers's own high-backed chair was of deadly black horsehair, with rows of brass nails round it, like a coffin; and I fancied I could see how he leaned back in it, and bit his forefinger at the clients.
Hmmm, sounds like with fortune comes a certain amount of discomfort, like deadly black horsehair.

While waiting Pip pops in and out of the office, checking out the scenes of London. I am reminded of my first visit to New York City. I checked in to my hotel, and had no plan the first evening but to walk, wander, and be enveloped by it.

Ch. 21
Pip's first lodging:
A frowzy mourning of soot and smoke attired this forlorn creation of Barnard, and it had strewn ashes on its head, and was undergoing penance and humiliation as a mere dust-hole. Thus far my sense of sight; while dry rot and wet rot and all the silent rots that rot in neglected roof and cellar,—rot of rat and mouse and bug and coaching-stables near at hand besides—addressed themselves faintly to my sense of smell, and moaned, "Try Barnard's Mixture."
oooh. Didn't know what he had til he lost it. Got something worse than Miss H's decrepit house.

Pocket Jr. -> independent, making his own way -> The pale young gentleman!

Ch. 22
The pale young gentleman, Herbert Pocket, has the inside scoop on the bespelled mansion and its inhabitants.

"Pooh!" said he, "I didn't care much for it. She's a Tartar."

"Miss Havisham?"

"I don't say no to that, but I meant Estella. That girl's hard and haughty and capricious to the last degree, and has been brought up by Miss Havisham to wreak revenge on all the male sex."

Somehow Herbert escaped the spell. I wonder if it's important for the future that Pip can trust him.
Herbert Pocket had a frank and easy way with him that was very taking. I had never seen any one then, and I have never seen any one since, who more strongly expressed to me, in every look and tone, a natural incapacity to do anything secret and mean. There was something wonderfully hopeful about his general air, and something that at the same time whispered to me he would never be very successful or rich.
Ch. 23
Still, Mrs. Pocket was in general the object of a queer sort of respectful pity, because she had not married a title; while Mr. Pocket was the object of a queer sort of forgiving reproach, because he had never got one.
Matthew Pocket's house: flurry of kids and mother bred to do nothing, harangued father, but a light- and kind-hearted house, I think.
I was made very uneasy in my mind by Mrs. Pocket's falling into a discussion with Drummle respecting two baronetcies, while she ate a sliced orange steeped in sugar and wine, and, forgetting all about the baby on her lap, who did most appalling things with the nut-crackers.
Mmmm, must try that orange, sugar and wine sometime. Would that be red, white, blush, or sparkling? And hmmm. What appalling things did the baby do I wonder? Pinch mama in unmentionable places? Try to poke his own eyes/ears out?

Pip begins doing the things young gentlemen do, such as rowing on the river.
I at once engaged to place myself under the tuition of the winner of a prize-wherry who plied at our stairs, and to whom I was introduced by my new allies. This practical authority confused me very much by saying I had the arm of a blacksmith. If he could have known how nearly the compliment lost him his pupil, I doubt if he would have paid it.

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