September 20

We Britons had at that time particularly settled that it was treasonable to doubt our having and our being the best of everything: otherwise, while I was scared by the immensity of London, I think I might have had some faint doubts whether it was not rather ugly, crooked, narrow, and dirty.

Read chapters 20-22 (ch. 1, 2, and 3 of Volume II) of Great Expectations and then compare Pip’s experience so far in London with his expectations of it.  What message might Dickens be trying to convey to the reader thereby?  Be sure to use specific details from the text to support your opinions.  Don’t forget that you need to follow the rules of standard written English in all your writing for English class, even your short comments on the Great Expectations blog!

Be sure also that you respond to at least one other comment in this thread.

Also, as you read, look for and mark with a sticky note any passages you think are discussion-worthy!

GE blog #7

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Posted September 20, 2018 by equinson in category Great Expectations

45 thoughts on “We Britons had at that time particularly settled that it was treasonable to doubt our having and our being the best of everything: otherwise, while I was scared by the immensity of London, I think I might have had some faint doubts whether it was not rather ugly, crooked, narrow, and dirty.

  1. mylesn

    Pip is sent to London in these chapters. He believes he will finally become a gentleman worthy of Estella. When he gets there London is far from what he had expected. He thinks it “rather ugly, crooked, narrow, and dirty.” Pip expects the city to make all his problems go away. He believes it will make him a gentlemen, become rich, move up in social class, and be worthy of Estella. When he gets there none of this happens, but Pip has money and still his problems are not solved. I believe Dickens is trying to get across the theme that money can’t buy happiness, and I agree even if Pip had all the money in the world it still wouldn’t solve his problems.

  2. Emma Garbowitz

    Throughout these chapters it is Pip’s first time in London and I believe that it is nothing like he expected. Pip expected all of his problems to go away while he was in London and expected his life to become completely better than before. However once he gets there he realizes London isn’t as perfect as he thought. For example, when he first arrives at Mr. Jaggers’ office he sees how it is dark and dreary and most definitely not what Pip expected. The text states,”I sat down in the cliental chair placed over against Mr. Jaggers’s chair, and became fascinated by the dismal atmosphere of the place.” Pip was shocked at how dark and dismal his office was and expected it to be very different. As well as this, when Pip went to Herbert’s Inn for the first time, he sees how dreary, gross, and sad looking the place is. He is beginning to realize that the way he pictured London is very different than the reality he is facing. The text states, “So imperfect was this realisation of the first or my great expectations, that I looked in dismay at Mr Wemmick.” This shows how Pip’s expectation was so much different than the reality of his new life.
    I think that Dickens is trying to convey the message that you can’t always get what you want and not everything you expect may be your reality. I think this because Dickens is portraying Pip to be shocked by everything he sees for the first time. Pip thought that what he saw was very different than how he thought it would be during his very first experience in the city of London. Therefore, Pip’s expectations were very different than the reality he is now living in.

    1. Laila Sayegh

      I agree that Dickens was trying to convey that message. It is definitely a message that I can relate to in my real life and I’m sure many other people can as well. That is why it is so important.

  3. Sunna

    In these chapters, Pip’s experience is completely different from his expectations. He thinks that London will be beautiful and full of wonder. However, when he arrives there, it is nothing like what he expects. He feels that the city is rather ugly and Mr. Jagger’s office is dark and gloomy. Pip clearly didn’t expect it to be so sullen. Hopefully, this experience will teach him that going to London won’t give him everything that he wants. I think that that’s exactly what Dickens is trying to convey through Pip’s experience. Money doesn’t buy you happiness and won’t make your life perfect.

    1. Brishti Sarkar

      I agree with you, and I think that Pip will have really low expectations set in his mind for the rest of the novel.

    2. jaclynl

      That’s what I was thinking. I really saw a theme that money doesn’t buy happiness in this part because of how Pip thought his life would be so much better with this money, but that’s not the reality

  4. Brishti Sarkar

    When Pip arrives in London, it is far less great than what he expects of it. He expects London to be grand and majestic, yet is left disappointed with what he sees. He says that he thinks that “London was decidedly overrated.”(p.174). Dickens does this to convey the theme that it is human nature to glorify the unknown. When Pip first hears that he is to study in London from Mr.Jaggers, he automatically puts it on a pedestal and thinks of it as an automatic “problem solver” and make him into a rich and noble gentleman. When he arrives, however, he realizes the harsh truth that London is not as good as he thought it was. Dickens is trying to show that London is a symbol of the unknown, and humans tend to glorify what they do not know enough about.

  5. Casey

    In the chapters I read tonight, Pip moves to London. It turns out that London is the complete opposite of what he expected. In London, he thought the city would be perfect and everything he would ever have hoped for. It turns out to be quite the opposite. London is dirty, crowded and smelly. He is very disappointed by this. Dickens chooses to include this to add to create the theme of the novel, that money and wealth isn’t everything. Whatever he was expecting obviously wasn’t going to happen. London won’t change Pip’s social status or his wealth. Pip still has a lot of conflicts in his life and going to London isn’t going to resolve any of them. He may have gotten the money, but his happiness is still lacking.

    1. Sophie

      I really like what you said about Pip having lots of problems, and London isn’t going to solve them. I think that will maybe be a key lesson or theme in the story

    2. trinityt

      I agree with what you said about Pip’s problems and how London won’t solve those problems nor will money. I think that the message, money or wealth isn’t everything, could be the main theme in the story.

  6. jaclynl

    In chapters 20-22, Pip goes to London and it is not at all what he had expected. When Pip thinks of going to London, he thinks of a perfect world where he is a gentleman and all of a sudden, life is so much better for him. But once he actually arrives in London, it is not what he expected at all. Mr. Jagger’s office, for example, is very dark and sad feeling. The city isn’t as full of joy and wonder as he thought it would be either. I think that through this, there is a lesson and Dickens conveys a theme that money doesn’t buy happiness. Even though he has what he’s always wanted, Pip isn’t as overjoyed as he thought he would be.

  7. janem

    In chapters 20-22, Pip takes a visit to London. This being his first time going to the city, he had expectations and ideas about how it was going to be. To his unpleasant surprise, London was dirty, cramped, and ugly. Pip was also disgusted when he heard about the public hangings of criminals. I think how Pip thought London would be versus how it actually was is symbolic for Pip’s journey becoming a gentleman. At first, Pip saw himself well-educated and wealthy, which may very well be Pip in the future, but he didn’t put thought into leaving Joe and Biddy,and into any possible conflicts that may come up later in the plot.

  8. Sophie

    In chapters 20-22, Pip starts his experience in London! This is the biggest change in Pip’s life so far! He now has money, he’s in a brand new city, and, well, basically he has money. I think that Dickens is continuing to convey the message he’s been delivering for a while now, money doesn’t buy happiness. The way he describes Pip’s inner thoughts about what he REALLY thinks of the city. For example, when he first gets there, (like the above quote says), “I think I might have had some faint doubts whether it was not rather ugly, crooked, narrow, and dirty.” Pips expectation was obviously a much more put together town than he saw. Also when Pip sees the hotel he’s going to stay in, he thinks extremely negatively of it and describes it with a very poor passion. Overall, I think that this is only the beginning of Pips learning experience, and his realization of what real happiness is will slowly start to come to him.

    1. Hannah Pitkofsky

      I agree and I hope that Pip learns that lesson quickly because I believe that the story will be much different if he learns it sooner rather than later.

    2. Mikayla Friedman

      I agree, I think Dickens is trying to say that money can’t buy happiness. I think Dickens will continue to develop this theme throughout the book.

  9. stephaniec

    In chapters 20-22, we see Pip’s first reactions on his journey to become a gentleman, in London. In previous chapters, Pip described London to be the destination where his dreams would come true and his problems and commonness would unravel. However, London was not all Pip made it out to be. Pip thought to himself “After this escape, I was content to take a foggy view of the Inn through the window encrusting dirt and to stand dolefully looking out, saying to myself that London was decidedly overrated.”(page 174). To Pip’s disappointment, his expectations of London, were the exact opposite of what he thought it was really like. I think he will rethink his decision in leaving home, Biddy, and Joe for going to London. In addition, I think the author is trying to send a message to Pip and the reader, that money does not equal happiness, because even though Pip has money, he is still not happy.

    1. Kate Ma.

      I agree that Pip’s living conditions will make him want to go home and that his richness won’t make him happy, but I think Pip is all caught up in earning money that he doesn’t realize.

  10. Kate Ma.

    At last Pip finally has money and is starting a new life in a grande city, but the city isn’t all that great. Pip thinks that he will be living in luxury as soon as he gets to London but he comes to realize that he’s living like a peasant. For instance on page, 174, Pip states, ” I had opened the staircase window and had nearly beheaded myself, for, the lines had rotted away, and it came down like a guillotine…saying to myself that London is decidedly overrated.” this shows how Pip had such high hopes of his new life in London, but it’s more of a dump than his own home, which he was so quick to leave. I think Pip will get extremely home-sick after living in an old, disgusting, run-down apartment. I also believe that getting to luxury is going to be a long and hard journey and Pip will have to work at it. The “luxury” Pip is living in has not solved any of his wishes to be happy with money, but put him in an even poorer living environment.

    1. Emma Garbowitz

      I totally agree with you how Pip expects such a great life in the city but it is nothing like he expected. Pip definitely had high hopes of the city but was greatly disappointed in what he saw.

    2. Maddie

      When Pip is on his way to London, he is expecting it to be a great big city of commotion and business. All the rich gentlemen live there, and he expects a large, beautiful place. He is also a little nervous about going to London because he has never been there before, and he just became a gentleman. He doesn’t know how people act in London, and he wants to fit in, and not look so much like an outsider. Supposedly, this journey is supposed to end his common life and put him on an upper scale. Pip is ready for a life of luxury and riches and happiness, but is not at all ready for what he sees.
      When Pip arrives in London, he say the city is “rather ugly, crooked, narrow, and dirty.” It is a grimy, filthy place where poor people roam the streets. All the buildings look old and worn down, as if they were 100 years old. Pip set his expectations way too high, and should realize that London isn’t all it was cracked up to be.
      This should teach Pip to lower his expectations a bit, so he is not so disappointed next time.

  11. Laila Sayegh

    In chapters 20-22 of Great Expectations, we get a view on Pips experience in London. Pip had very high expectations for his experience in London. He would finally get to be a gentleman and live a luxurious life. When he arrives in London for the first time, Pip notices that London wasn’t as incredible as he had expected it to have been. Right off the bat, he notices the filthy streets. When Pip enters Mr. Jaggers’ office, he observes how dark and gloomy it is. In Pip’s mind, London was supposed to be the place where he was to learn to be a gentleman and live just like Estella. Now, he thinks that London is overrated. I think he will eventually get sick of London.

  12. trinityt

    In chapters 20-22, Pip is send to London to become a gentleman. Pip expected London to be the place where his problems can be solve and everything he could ever hoped for. However, London was the opposite of what Pip had expected. “…I think I might have had some faint doubts whether it was not rather ugly, crooked, narrow and dirty.” (pg.163). Instead of London being the perfect place Pip thought it would be, it was “ugly, crooked, narrow and dirty”. To support the fact that London is opposite to what Pip expected, he described the hotel he was staying at negatively and poor. “So imperfect was this realisation of the first of my great expectations…” (pg.173). In addition, Pip also didn’t like it when he heard there were criminals that was to be executed and hanged. “This was horrible, and gave me a sickening idea of London…” (pg.166).
    The message that Dickens might be trying to convey is that money isn’t everything. Obviously what Pip thought of London wasn’t true. London won’t solve Pip’s problem, nor will money. It’s true that Pip will get money in London, but money won’t bring him true happiness.

  13. Hannah Pitkofsky

    In these chapters, Pip goes to London, hoping that this will make him a gentleman worthy of Estella, but things aren’t going so well. It is very crowded, narrow, and dirty and Pip is not happy about this. He expected London to be a grand city where all the wealthy people live, but he learns later on that the money that he has won’t buy his happiness. Even though he has money, which he wanted, he still isn’t happy. That is what I believe the lesson Dickens was trying to convey in these chapters. Overall, even though Pip went through a big change in his character AND was in London, which was a place where he wanted to go, with some money, he still isn’t happy because money doesn’t buy happiness!!

    1. mirandak

      I totally agree and like that you continuously bring up the recurring theme throughout the novel of money doesn’t buy happiness! Hopefully Pip will realized this soon and grow to at least somewhat appreciate his upbringing more than he had before!

    2. Hannah M.

      I agree with the lesson that Dickens is trying to point out has been conveyed many times in this novel. Pip DID go through a change in character! Nice job!!

  14. mirandak

    Throughout chapters 20-22, we follow Pip’s journey as he finally arrives in London, ready to “live out his dream” and completely change the course of his previously ordinary life. He shall finally begin to live a life of luxury and extravagance. Essentially, this is also at least partially the reasoning for the title of the book I should think, as Pip has great expectations for his new life in London. However, once he arrives there, he is filled with such a massive sense of disappointment. Where was the lavishness, the wealth, the high living? Nowhere to be found. In fact the famous city was quite the opposite. Pip described it has old, filthy, and run-down. There were hardly any such people who looked to be living a life of affluence. For instance, Pip’s description of the city is shown when in the text it states, “When I told the clerk that I would take a turn in the air while I waited, he advised me to go round the corner and I should come into Smithfield. So, I came into Smithfield; and the shameful place, being all asmear with filth and fat and blood and foam, seemed to stick to me. So, I rubbed it off with all possible speed by turning into a street where I saw the great black dome of Saint Paul’s bulging at me from behind a grim stone building which a bystander said was Newgate Prison.” (p.165)
    In short, the city did not live up to Pip’s presumptions, and perhaps made him wonder if London was so much better than his old life after all!
    Fundamentally, the take-away from this part of the novel and perhaps the message that Dickens is trying to convey throughout it is that not everything is what it seems. Pip became so discontent with his old life and began to long for grandeur, for wealth, for power, for all of his problems to vanish. However, even in London, that doesn’t happen for Pip. I believe that Dickens’s intention is for Pip to maybe start to kind of think of his old home in a new light: Perhaps it wasn’t as bad as I made it out to be. Then, he will eventually realize that this great life that he expected was not at all what he thought it would be, and then go back to being content with his regular life!

  15. Hannah M.

    In chapters 20-22 we see Pip’s experience in London and how it is different from what he hoped for. Pip had high expectations about going to London to be a better gentleman for Estella, but when being there for just a few hours he gets very lonesome and describes it as “dark and gloomy”. London is very crowded and dirty as described by Pip. London is not bringing Pip the happiness he would have liked. The lesson learned is that money cannot buy happiness, as Dickens has been conveying throughout this novel!

  16. Rcey Ortega

    Throughout chapters 20-22, Pip realizes that London is not as great as he thought. Pip expected London to be so clean, big and nice. Instead, it was somewhat dirty and not so nice. Pip was also shown a jail and saw were criminals were hanged. He thought that this was terrible and it sickened him. ” … he showed me the Debtors’ Door, out of which culprits came to be hanged… This was horrible, and gave me a sickening idea of London..” (pg 166) Pip now sees that London is not so great. In the next chapters I want to see how Pip survives all of this.

  17. MadiR

    In chapters twenty through twenty two, Pip’s expectations of London are very different from his experiences. Pip expected London to be the land where all of his dreams will come true and his desire to become a gentleman will be fulfilled. London is not at all what Pip imagined. When Pip first gets into London there is a lot of traffic and Pip is scared immensely. He was doubting himself that it might not be everything he thought but rather ugly, crooked, narrow, and dirty. When Pip goes out for a walk a Lord Chief Justice shows pip where people get hanged and the gallows. In the text it states “This was horrible, and gave me a sickening idea of London:”(page 166) Pip talks with Mr. Jaggers clerk and proves that Pips expectations are even more incorrect. “You may be cheated, robbed and murdered in London. But there are plenty of people anywhere, who will do that for you.”(page 172) Pip is frightened and does not believe that his expectations of London are real anymore.

  18. maxwellw

    In chapters 20 through 22 Pip’s new acquaintances are unlike anyone he has ever known before, and they make his transformation into a gentleman an unpredictable one. Jaggers is hard, cold, and powerful, but beneath the surface, he seems disgusted by his own work. In Chapter 20, he does not allow his clients to talk to him, and he scrubs his hands ferociously at the end of each workday, symbolically attempting to remove the moral taint of his work. Herbert (the “pale young gentleman” of Chapter 11) makes a natural contrast to the lawyer; he is everything Jaggers is not. Kind, relaxed, and poor, he is the perfect gentleman to educate Pip in the ways of the upper class.
    The story of Miss Havisham mirrors some of the same themes—social class, romantic anguish, and criminality—that run throughout the main story of the book. The story explains the main mystery of Miss Havisham’s life, which was implied by her surroundings and her behavior much earlier in the novel. It answers many of Pip’s questions about her but raises many more. What is Estella’s history, and how is she related to Miss Havisham? As the novel progresses, these questions will become extremely important; for now, they are used primarily to continue the sense of mystery that is so important to the forward momentum of Dickens’s plot.

  19. johnh1

    In chapters twenty through twenty two Pip goes to London. He expects his life to be so much better than at the swamp and he would be a gentleman. It Seems Dirty. For the most part, though, it is pretty good. He met Herbert, he does have a large sum of money,and he also will be taught. However, one thing isn’t good, he keeps thinking about Joe. You would think that London would still seem good, but not to Pip. London, is just dirty and shady. Also, Wemmick has rings for mourning loved ones so that means people die a lot here. There are a few ups and downs in london but I don’t think it is what Pip expected.

    1. Zoe

      I agree that Pip thought the place was dirty though I didn’t think about it like that. I also think that it seems like a dangerous pace since there was a lot of executions that seemed to be going on in the court rooms.

  20. Zoe

    When Pip got the good new of his newly gained fortune, he had great expectations. However, when he got to London, he saw a much different life ahead of him. Before Mr.Jaggers came to meet Pip in his office, Pip go a chance to look around the office. he expected to see a rich and fancy town, but what he saw was drunk, bloody people roaming the broken streets waiting for a lawyer to get them out of a mess they’ve made. Pip definitely didn’t expect this when he got there and also when meeting Mr.Jaggers. His new guardian seemed to involved in other things, which kind of seemed suspicious when he asked if they gave “him” the money, and din’t speak to Pip until all of the others were spoken with. Although the town was not as good as he thought it would have been, he did make a new friend. The pale white boy from Mrs.Havisham’s whom he beat up. He still misses Joe and Biddy, but it seems so far he is liking London.

  21. angelicac1

    In chapters 20-22, Pip learns that London is nothing but a disappointment. His expectations were to see himself surrounded with lavishness. Instead he found himself in a “dark and gloomy” setting that also was “ugly, crooked, narrow and dirty.” Something else Pip disliked about London was that criminals got executed and hanged. It gave him a “sickening idea of London….” London isn’t living up to Pip’s expectation so far and it definitely isn’t making him happy.

  22. josepha4

    In chapters 20-22 Pip is completely stunned, because he starts to discover that his “great expectations” were far too grand for what the city actually holds. He finds the city dirty and grimy, and he both disgusted by some of the people he encounters, and a little scared of the dangers that lurk in the alleys. For example, Pip asks Mr Wemmick if “London [is] a very wicked place” and he replies, “you may cheated, robbed and murdered in London”(p.172). Pip notices that values are different in London. Where Pip comes from, it is thought polite to shake someones hand when they part company. Wemmick has forgotten this, as if he had to suppress a part of himself in London, “I put out my hand, and Mr Wemmick at first looked at it as if he though I wanted something”(p. 174). Little does Pip know he put a little culture back into London. Pip is realizing that his great expectations of London being grand and like heaven, is being readjusted as he sees people work hard for their food in London just as they did back home, and people have dreams in London, that they strive for but may not achieve because don’t have the “capitol.” London is not exceeding or even meeting Pip’s expectations. Except for his relationship with Herbert, Pip is unhappy.

  23. Kate

    Pips expectations of London differ from how it actually is, In chapters 20-22 of Great Expectations. Pip was given a handsome some of money in the previous chapter, and had envisioned a spectacular life ahead of him. However, the reality of London disappointed and confused Pip, due to how far it was from what he had imagined. Pip had imagined a place of luxury and a greater sum of those in the upper class. However, When Pip arrives at London, he describes it as, “…ugly, crooked, narrow and dirty.” (pg.163). He even states that the famous city he had such great expectations for was “Decidedly overrated.” I hope that after Pip discovered that London isn’t so great after all, it will allow him to appreciate the life his friends and family gave him at home, even if they weren’t rich like Miss Havisham and the rest of the upper class.


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