Pip & Magwitch
My convict looked round him for the first time, and saw me . . . I looked at him eagerly when he looked at me, and slightly moved my hands and shook my head. I had been waiting for him to see me, that I might try to assure him of my innocence. It was not at all expressed to me that he even comprehended my intention, for he gave me a look that I did not understand, and it all passed in a moment. But if he had looked at me for an hour or for a day, I could not have remembered his face ever afterwards as having been more attentive
This quote from Chapter 5 describes Pip’s brief reunion with Magwitch after the latter has been captured by the police. Pip, who is always concerned with other people’s impressions of his behavior, is anxious for Magwitch to know that he is innocent—that he is not responsible for turning Magwitch in to the police. But when Magwitch looks at Pip, he seems to experience feelings that have nothing to do with Pip’s innocence or guilt, a look that Pip “did not understand” but which is the most “attentive” look Pip has ever received. This is an important moment of foreshadowing in the book, our first impression that Pip’s kindness has moved Magwitch to strong feelings of loyalty and love. It also an important moment of character development, our first glimpse of something in Magwitch’s character beyond the menace and bluster of his early scenes in the book.
Pip & Joe
“Pip, dear old chap, life is made of ever so many partings welded together, as I may say, and one man’s a blacksmith, and one’s a whitesmith, and one’s a goldsmith, and one’s a coppersmith. Diwisions among such must come, and must be met as they come.”
Joe says these words to Pip as a farewell in Chapter 27, after their awkward meeting in London. Pip, now a gentleman, has been uncomfortably embarrassed by both Joe’s commonness and his own opulent lifestyle, and the unpretentious Joe has felt like a fish out of water in Pip’s sumptuous apartment. With this quote, Joe tells Pip that he does not blame him for the awkwardness of their meeting, but he chalks it up instead to the natural divisions of life. The blacksmith concocts a metaphor of metalsmithing to describe these natural divisions: some men are blacksmiths, such as Joe, and some men are goldsmiths, such as Pip. In these simple terms, Joe arrives at a wise and resigned attitude toward the changes in Pip’s social class that have driven them apart, and he shows his essential goodness and loyalty by blaming the division not on Pip but on the unalterable nature of the human condition
“I begin to think,” said Estella, in a musing way, after another moment of calm wonder, “that I almost understand how this comes about. If you had brought up your adopted daughter wholly in the dark confinement of these rooms, and had never let her know that there was such a thing as the daylight by which she has never once seen your face—if you had done that, and then, for a purpose, had wanted her to understand the daylight and know all about it, you would have been disappointed and angry? . . .”
“Or,” said Estella, “—which is a nearer case—if you had taught her, from the dawn of her intelligence, with your utmost energy and might, that there was such a thing as daylight, but that it was made to be her enemy and destroyer, and she must always turn against it, for it had blighted you and would else blight her—if you had done this, and then, for a purpose, had wanted her to take naturally to the daylight and she could not do it, you would have been disappointed and angry? . . .”
“So,” said Estella, “I must be taken as I have been made. The success is not mine, the failure is not mine, but the two together make me.”
Estella makes this speech to Miss Havisham in Chapter 38, when Miss Havisham has complained that Estella treats her coldly and without love. Astonished that her adopted mother would make such an accusation after deliberately raising her to avoid emotional attachment and treat those who love her with deliberate cruelty, Estella responds with this analytical exploration of Miss Havisham’s attitude. Using sunlight as a metaphor for love (an appropriate metaphor, given Miss Havisham’s refusal to go into the sun), Estella first says that it is as if Miss Havisham raised her without ever telling her about sunlight, then expected her to understand it without having been taught. She then thinks of a better metaphor and says that it is as if Miss Havisham did tell her about sunlight, but told her that sunlight was her hated enemy, then reacted with disappointment and anger when Estella did not naturally love the sunlight.
Estella concludes this metaphor by reminding Miss Havisham that she made her as she is, and that Miss Havisham is responsible for her creation. Estella says that both Miss Havisham’s “success” (Estella’s coldness and cruelty) and her “failure” (Estella’s inability to express her emotions and inability to love) make her who she is. This quote is extremely important to Estella’s development as a character, because it indicates her gradual arrival at self-knowledge, which will eventually enable her to overcome her past. The speech is also one of the best descriptions of Estella’s character to be found in the book
Pip & Magwitch 2
“Look’ee here, Pip. I’m your second father. You’re my son—more to me nor any son. I’ve put away money, only for you to spend. When I was a hired-out shepherd in a solitary hut, not seeing no faces but faces of sheep till I half-forgot wot men’s and women’s faces wos like, I see yourn. . . . I see you there a many times plain as ever I see you on them misty marshes. ‘Lord strike me dead!’ I says each time—and I goes out in the open air to say it under the open heavens—‘but wot, if I gets liberty and money, I’ll make that boy a gentleman!’ And I done it. Why, look at you, dear boy! Look at these here lodgings of yourn, fit for a lord! A lord? Ah! You shall show money with lords for wagers, and beat ’em!”
Magwitch makes this speech to Pip in Chapter 39, when he dramatically reveals himself as Pip’s secret benefactor and the source of all his wealth. This revelation is crucially important to the plot of the novel, as it collapses Pip’s idealistic view of wealth and social class by forcing him to realize that his own status as a gentleman is owed to the loyalty of a lower-class criminal. The quote is also important for what it reveals about Magwitch’s character: previously, the convict has seemed menacing, mysterious, and frightening; with this quote, we receive our first glimpse of his extraordinary inner nobility, manifested through the powerful sense of loyalty he feels toward Pip.
“Dear Magwitch, I must tell you, now at last. You understand what I say?”
A gentle pressure on my hand.
“You had a child once, whom you loved and lost.”
A stronger pressure on my hand.
“She lived and found powerful friends. She is living now. She is a lady and very beautiful. And I love her!”
In this passage from Chapter 56, Pip tells the dying Magwitch about his daughter, Estella, whom he has not seen since she was a young girl. If the arrival of Magwitch collapses Pip’s idealistic view of the upper classes, then the subsequent revelation that Estella—Pip’s first ideal of wealth and beauty—is the daughter of the convict buries it for good. By consoling the dying Magwitch with the truth about Estella, Pip shows the extent to which he has matured and developed a new understanding of what matters in life. Rather than insisting on the idealistic hierarchy of social class that has been his guiding principle in life, Pip is now able to see hierarchy as superficial and an insufficient guide to character. Loyalty, love, and inner goodness are far more important than social designations, a fact that Pip explicitly recognizes by openly acknowledging the complications that have made his former view of the world impossible.