September 26

“As I had grown accustomed to my expectations, I had insensibly begun to notice their effect upon myself and those around me. Their influence on my own character I disguised from my recognition as much as possible, but I knew very well that it was not all good.”

Discuss the theme of guilt and shame in Chapters 34-37, and indeed throughout the novel so far.  As always be sure to use specific details from the text to support your opinions.  Also, don’t forget to respond to at least one other comment in this thread.

GE blog #11


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Posted September 26, 2018 by equinson in category Great Expectations

45 thoughts on ““As I had grown accustomed to my expectations, I had insensibly begun to notice their effect upon myself and those around me. Their influence on my own character I disguised from my recognition as much as possible, but I knew very well that it was not all good.”

  1. Myles Ng

    In these chapters Pip’s sister, Ms.Joe dies. Pip reveals his guilt and shame about this. He believes he should have been by her side and that he could have done something to prevent this from happening. Not to make Pip sound guilty, but wasn’t he the one to give the convict the file? Pip reveals that he doesn’t have many memories of his sister with much tenderness. “Whatever my fortunes might have been, I could scarcely have recalled my sister with much tenderness. But I suppose there is a shock of regret which may exist without much tenderness. I think Pip regrets visiting Ms. Havisham and Estella, but not his family. Pip didn’t even visit her when she was mentally injured. Ms. Joe was the only motherly figure in Pip’s life. Having already lost his birth parents this was the closest thing to a family he had. This event must wiegh heavy on Pip’s shoulders because even the bad things about his sister seemed better. Pip even said that the tickler, the stick Ms. Joe used to beat him with, now wasn’t as bad in his memories. “It was fine summer weather again, and, as I walked along, the times when I was a little helpless creature, and my sister did not spare me vividly returned. But they returned with a gentle tone upon them that soften even the edge of Tickler.” In chapter 37 Pip does something that I think he does to make himself feel better. He helps Herbert out. “The whole business was so cleverly managed , that Herbert had not the least suspicion of my hand in it. I shall never forget the radiant face with which he came home one afternoon, and told me, as a mighty piece of news, of his having fallen in with one Clarricker (the young merchant’s name), and of Clarricker’s having shown an extraordinary inclination towards him, and of his belief that the opening had come at last”

    Reply
    1. Laila Sayegh

      I agree with the fact that Pip regrets visiting Miss Havisham and Estella at the Satis House instead of his own family.

      Reply
    2. Emma Garbowitz

      Throughout chapters 34-37, there was a lot of guilt and shame involved. For example, during these chapters Mrs. Joe passes away and Pip realizes all the regret he feels from not having any tender, loving memories with her. Mrs. Joe was Pip’s authority figure when he was a child and she was the closest thing to a parent for Pip. I think Pip feels guilty for not trying to make a better effort to being there for his sister while she was sick. He was so focused on his new life that he forgot many people and things in his old one. The text states, “Whatever my fortunes might have been, I could scarcely have recalled my sister with such tenderness. But I suppose there is a shock of regret which may exist without much tenderness.” This quote shows how Pip feels guilty for not making an effort to be around Mrs. Joe and trying to create these tender memories with her in order to obtain a better relationship with her.
      As well as this, another thing Pip feels guilty, or shame for was when he was talking with Biddy about coming up more often to spend time with Joe so he has someone to be with. However, after he tells Biddy this, she is absolutely silent because she doesn’t think that Pip will actually do this. Just the though of Biddy thinking this made Pip feel disturbed and ashamed. However, he soon discovers that what she said was true. The text states, “Are you quite sure that you WILL come to see him often? asked Biddy stopping in the narrow garden walk, and looking at me under the stars with a clear and honest eye…If they disclosed to me, as I suspect they did, that I should not come back, and that Biddy was quite right, all I can say is – they were quite right too.” This shows how Pip does regret saying this because it was not true. I think Pip does want to help, but he doesn’t feel like is wanted here. He now feels out of place in his old town after spending so much time in London.
      Lastly, I wouldn’t say that Pip regrets going to Miss Havisham’s house, but at the very beginning of the chapter he is saying that his life would have been so much different if he had not went. For example, he would have been content with being Joe’s partner in being a blacksmith. He would have been happy with his life and would not have wished for moe after seeing such a fancy society. The text states, “I used to think, with a weariness on my spirits, that I should have been happier and better if I had never seen Miss Havisham’s face, and had risen to manhood content to be partners with Joe in the honest old forge.” I think Pip would have lived a happier, less outgoing life if he never met Miss Havisham and Estella. They began to start all the problems by introducing him to a fancy lifestyle. Also, Estella has caused Pip to go through a lot emotionally. Therefore, Pip would’ve been ,much happier if he never met them. In conclusion, throughout these chapters, Pip felt a lot of guilt and regret.

      Reply
    3. mirandak

      I definitely agree with your point about his visit to Miss Havisham and Estella when he came back to town! As he realized that he had chosen wealth and high society over his own family, he must have felt such deep regret that haunted him wherever he went! He must feel so guilty knowing that he had the chance to go back and visit her one last time before she passed, so he could at least say his final goodbyes or be with her when she left the world, but instead chose to visit the (most likely) founder of his fortunes.

      Reply
  2. Laila Sayegh

    In chapters 34-37 of Great Expectations, Pip struggles with a strong feeling of guilt. Although there are several different moments in these chapters that can connect with Pip feeling guilty, one of the most important ones that caught my eye is the aftermath of Mrs. Joe’s passing.
    First and foremost, Pip finds out his sister had passed away through a letter he received in the mail. I could never possibly imagine what that must be like. Although Pip and his sister never had the best relationship, Pip was instilled in knowing the fact that Mrs. Joe had “brought him up by hand” from a very young age. Therefore, this was probably heartbreaking news for Pip. Narrator Pip says, “It was the first time that a grave had opened in my time of life, and the gap it made in the smooth ground was wonderful.” (Page 278) This just goes to show how new this feeling was for Pip and how much this probably impacted him. From that quote, we can infer that this was going to a large effect on Pip and he was probably upset he wasn’t there to witness his sisters last moments. Finally, to find out the details of his sisters death, he had to ask Biddy, a person of no actual relation to Mrs. Joe! Biddy explained to Pip how both she and Joe were there as Mrs. Joe took her last breaths. As Mrs. Joe’s younger brother, this must have been devastating for Pip to hear. I can empathize with Pip because I could never imagine having to live with the fact that I never got to say goodbye to a loved one.
    Overall, I think the loss of Mrs. Joe is something that is going to affect Pip throughout the course of the book.

    Reply
    1. Hannah Pitkofsky

      I agree because she has had such a pivotal role in Pip’s life, and she just died, so I think that that will have a major impact on Pip and the whole family who lives back home (not in London).

      Reply
  3. Hannah M.

    Mrs.Joe Gargery, Pip’s sister passed away in these chapters. Her passing made Pip feel all the guilt in the world. Pip talks to us about some of his guilt and how he’s ashamed of himself for what he did a few chapters ago. Pip thought that he could some how have done something to prevent her passing, but really he couldn’t have. The crazy part is that he visited Miss Havisham and Estella instead of his own family! Maybe he would feel less guilty if he had at least visited his injured sister once. I mean isn’t part of Mrs.Joe’s injuries because of Pip? Since Pip and Herbert are starting to become better friends Pip decides to help out Herbert to make himself feel better. Mrs.Joe’s passing was a tragedy for Pip and his family. It was a tragedy for Pip because Mrs.Joe was like a mother to him even thought they had their ups and down he still loved her.
    I once felt sad for not saying goodbye to a loved one when they passed a few years ago. I didn’t really know that relative, but it still made me sad to know I wasn’t able to say goodbye. Honestly it’s probably one of the worst feelings ever in my opinion.
    Try to look at Pip’s situation in his shoes. Do you think Pip deserved this loss or not? There are many questions you can ask your self in relation to Pip.
    I think this will impact Pip throughout this novel and will be brought up several times.

    Reply
    1. mikaylaf

      I like the questions you are asking! Initially, I thought Pip fully deserved every bad thing that came his way because of how he deserted Joe and Biddy. But after putting myself in his shoes, I am rethinking my opinion. Pip has obviously just undergone a very hard time, and maybe he didn’t deserve the loss of his sister.

      Reply
  4. Hannah M.

    *my blog didn’t post how it was supposed to format wise so here it is again:)*

    Mrs.Joe Gargery, Pip’s sister passed away in these chapters. Her passing made Pip feel all the guilt in the world. Pip talks to us about some of his guilt and how he’s ashamed of himself for what he did a few chapters ago. Pip thought that he could some how have done something to prevent her passing, but really he couldn’t have. The crazy part is that he visited Miss Havisham and Estella instead of his own family! Maybe he would feel less guilty if he had at least visited his injured sister once. I mean isn’t part of Mrs.Joe’s injuries because of Pip? Since Pip and Herbert are starting to become better friends Pip decides to help out Herbert to make himself feel better. Mrs.Joe’s passing was a tragedy for Pip and his family. It was a tragedy for Pip because Mrs.Joe was like a mother to him even thought they had their ups and down he still loved her.
    I once felt sad for not saying goodbye to a loved one when they passed a few years ago. I didn’t really know that relative, but it still made me sad to know I wasn’t able to say goodbye. Honestly it’s probably one of the worst feelings ever in my opinion.
    Try to look at Pip’s situation in his shoes. Do you think Pip deserved this loss or not? There are many questions you can ask your self in relation to Pip.
    I think this will impact Pip throughout this novel and will be brought up several times.

    Reply
    1. trinityt

      I agree with your response about how Pip was feeling guilty and ashamed, and how he could have prevented the incident when Mrs. Joe was hurt, or at least that he could have found who did it. I also believe that Pip felt more guilty and ashamed because he wasn’t there in Mrs. Joe’s last moment and couldn’t said goodbye to her. Even though Mrs. Joe wasn’t the nicest to Pip, he still care about her. There was also a moment in my life when one of my relative died years ago, and I wasn’t there with them and didn’t have the chance to say goodbye. Even though that relative and I had only for about 2-3 times, and I don’t know much about them, I still feel sad and empty when that relative passed away because they were still part of my family. I’m sorry for your loss.

      Reply
  5. jaclynl

    In chapters 34-37, there is a recurring theme of guilt throughout it. Even before Mrs. Joe passes away at the very end of chapter 34, Pip still does feel some sort of guilt about not spending enough time with Joe. Here, Pip is realizing what his “expectations” have done to his character and how his surroundings are now influencing him is many ways. Pip even goes back to when he met Miss Havisham and wishes he had never seen her because if he hadn’t he would still be with Joe. I think this whole paragraph starting off the chapter has a huge purpose. Dickens is getting us to start thinking about how Pip feels now to set up the shock of Mrs. Joe’s death and make it full of so much more emotion than it would be if Pip hadn’t already mentioned his regret and guilt.

    Mrs. Joe’s death is the first death he has gone through in a really long time. Although Pip’s sister was not the best person, the fact that she is now gone has changed his whole perspective. Dickens put this in to show us a part of human nature. You may not like someone while they’re living, but death can change everything, including how you feel about that person. In Pip’s case, this is exactly what happened. Now Pip feels hatefulness towards Orlick or anyone else that had any involvement in the initial attack all those years ago. He is upset and feels as though that person is responsible for her death. This is something that truly did upset Pip and he will never forget.

    Reply
  6. Hannah Pitkofsky

    In these chapters, a tragic event occurs in Pip, Joe, Biddy, and the family’s lives. Pip’s dear sister, Mrs. Joe Gargery died while Pip was still in London. The news was broken to him through Mr. Trabb and Trabb and Co., and Pip rushed back home for the funeral. This is adding on to the guilt that Pip is already feeling, believing that he hasn’t spent that much time with Joe, his “stepfather”. This helps Pip to understand a little better about how his surroundings (London) are impacting his character. Once his sister dies, Pip feels guilty for her death and feels like it was his fault, before blaming Orlick. Neither guilt nor shamefulness is a good feeling to have, but especially when you are in Pip’s shoes. Think of it through Pip’s perspective: your dear sister, who has raised you from birth because your parents died when you were a baby, has just died while you were an apprentice in London, for the main reason of getting a girl. On top of that, he is about to get more money (500 pounds) and get transferred to another master. There’s a lot of things going on on Pip’s “plate”, and the guilt isn’t making it any easier.

    Reply
    1. Brishti Sarkar

      I really like how you empathised with Pip and thought about the situation from his point of view. I don’t think his life is going to get any easier after this point.

      Reply
  7. Brishti Sarkar

    Guilt and shame are both significant themes in chapters 34-37 and throughout the entire book. At the end of chapter 34, we find out that Mrs. Joe has died. Pip feels really guilty about it, because this is the first time he has encountered death in his adult life, that he will definitely remember for years to come. He says that “The figure of my sister in her chair by the kitchen fire, haunted me night and day.”(p.278). However, even before his sister dies, he experiences guilt. He often feels guilty for not spending enough time with Joe. He says that he “lived in a state of chronic uneasiness respecting my behaviour to Joe.”(p.272). He even wished that he would have never met Miss Havisham so he wouldn’t grow to become ashamed of Joe. In these chapters, Pip was met with a strong rush of guilt and shame because he realizes that he was insensible to choose Estella and his Expectations over his family.

    Reply
  8. mikaylaf

    Before analyzing Pip in these chapters, I want to call attention to Pip’s guilt in previous chapters. I think the most memorable time that Pip guilty of something is after he has gone to Miss Havisham’s house numerous times. After spending so much time with her and her lifestyle, he is ashamed of his lower class life. However, he feels embarrassed of how ashamed he is!! This is a really important part of the novel. It shows the reader for the first time how guilt will play a role in Pip as he continues to grow as a character as the novel progresses.

    Throughout chapters 34-37, Pip had a recurring feeling and guilt and shame. For example, Pip can’t stop thinking of his sister, Mrs. Joe, after she has dies. This doesn’t make much sense, as Pip has clearly stated that he hasn’t had much of a relationship with his sister in these last few years. However, the fact that Pip can’t stop thinking of Mrs. Joe is a sign of guilt. I think Pip is guilty of the fact that he never fully appreciated his sister and all that she did for him, despite the harshness she treated him with. The text states, “The figure of my sister in her chair by the kitchen fire, haunted me night and day. That the place could possibly be, without her, was something my mind seemed unable to compass; and whereas she had seldom or never been in my thoughts of late, I had now the strangest ideas that she was coming towards me in the street, or that she would presently knock at my door.” (page 278)

    Another example of Pip’s guiltiness in these chapters is when he talks to Biddy. Pip tells Biddy that he intends to make frequent visits to Joe, so that he is not alone. I think a part of Pip has just realized what a terrible man he’s been for ending his relationship with Joe when he moved to London, and now he feels bad and is trying to make up for it. Upon telling Biddy about his intentions, she stays silent. The text states, “‘Indeed, it would be hard to say too much for him,’ said I, ‘and Biddy, we must often speak of these things, for of course I shall be often down here now. I am not going to leave poor Joe alone.’
    Biddy never said a single word.” (page 284) Biddy doesn’t trust Pip anymore, and Pip is evidently very hurt by this. I wonder if Pip will repair his relationship with Biddy in the future.

    Reply
    1. Emma Garbowitz

      I agree with how all the guilt started after going to Miss Havisham’s house a number of times and how he eventually became ashamed of the way he has been living. This just leads up to more things Pip feels guilty about later in the chapters.

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      1. angelicac1

        I agree about how Biddy doesn’t trust Pip anymore. I hope Pip repairs his relationship with Biddy. I liked their friendship and I hope their relationship won’t remain rocky.

        Reply
  9. Kate Ma.

    The feelings of guilt and and regret overtook Pip in these last chapters. Mrs. Joe Gargery passed on while Pip was in London. I can infer that the last time Pip saw Mrs. Joe was when he originally left for London which I think was a few years back judging that Pip is now twenty one. Pip feels extremely bad for not seeing his sister when he had many opportunities to do so. For instance Pip says,” But I suppose there is a shock of regret which may exist without much tenderness. Under it’s influence(and perhaps to make up for the want of softer feelings) I was seized with violent indignation against the assailant from whom she had suffered so much;” This shows how Pip feels guilty about not being there with his sister as she took her last breaths. When Biddy told Pip about Mrs. Joe saying his name as she was dying, that’s when Pip knew that he’d been acting extremely self centered. I think that from this experience, Pip will start to change, just like how he agreed to visit Joe and he also helped Herbert get his life back together. Pip felt so guilty in these chapters that he decided to change and help people, instead of thinking about himself.

    Reply
    1. Casey

      Maybe Mrs. Joe’s death will knock some sense into Pip. He shouldn’t be so self-centered. As great as it is to be rich and successful, we need to realize who helped us get there, and in Pip’s case, it was his sister.

      Reply
  10. Casey

    In these chapters, Pip finds out that his sister, and only living family, has died. This makes Pip begin to regret some of the things he has done in his hometown. He feels bad that he wanted to get away from his home, he regrets being embarrassed about where he lives, and he regrets going to the Satis house to see Estella and Miss Havisham as much as he did. He also regrets stealing the file from Joe to help the convict, because maybe his sister would still be alive if he didn’t. Pip wished that he spent more time with his sister. Even though they didn’t have the best relationship, he still loved her and I can’t even begin to imagine life without one of my siblings. Maybe this will add to possible theme relating to family and the importance of not taking people for granted. As much as Pip disagreed with his sister, she is the reason that Pip is where he is. She gave him a home, food, and a place to sleep. This whole situation motivates Pip to start returning home more often, to see all of his friends and family he left when he went to London. I have a feeling that the next few chapters will tell us a lot about Pip. Will he do what he says and return to his home more often, or will he put his past behind him and forget about his life in a lower class. I’m hoping he makes the right decision and visits Joe and Biddy more often.

    Reply
  11. johnh1

    Throughout the book, Pip has had a lot of guilt and shame. In the beginning, Pip had stolen something and kept thinking about jail but now in the book Mrs. Gargery, his sister has died. Joe and Biddy were there when she passed and Pip was away. He comes back and goes to the funeral. He never got to say goodbye, though, and he feels guilty about his being away.

    Reply
  12. Emily

    In these chapters PIp is faced with some very difficult problems. One very important thing that happens is that his sister, Mrs. Joe Gargery, dies. When she was alive she was not very nice to Pip, but now that she has passed, Pip still feels guilty. On page 278 he thinks, “It was fine summer weather again, and, as I walked along, the times when I was a little helpless creature, and my sister did not spare me, vividly returned. But they returned with a gentle tone upon them that softened even the edge of Tickler. For now, the very breath of the beans and clover whispered to my heart that the day must come when it would be well for my memory that others walking in the sunshine should be softened as they thought of me.” Pip wishes that he had made a better effort to have a better relationship with Mrs. Joe. Even though she abused him in his childhood, he still feels ashamed that she is gone and that they were never really close.

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  13. janem

    In “Great Expectations” by Charles Dickens, there is a constant theme of guilt. In chapter 34, we hear that Mrs. Joe had died. Pip feels very strange, since this is the first death of his life (excluding the death of his parents). He feels a mix of emotions, but he is all together not that sad. Pip was abused by his sister when he was just an innocent little kid, and from that he never had a relationship with her. Pip knows he should feel bad, and knows he doesn’t, which makes him feel guilty. Death often makes people reflect on how they have lived their lives so far, which is certainly the case for Pip. He looks back on his life, and thinks everything he’s done is much worse than it really is. He thinks back to when he was just a little kid, and stole the food and file. Pip regrets not spending more time with his sister, but the readers see that this is just Pip mourning, and that it was best he avoided his sister when she was constantly on rampages or with “Tickler”. I think the file is still symbolic for Pip’s mistakes. He stole it and gave it to a convict, (which was a misdemeanor itself), but we see it constantly comes back to haunt Pip whenever he feels even the slightest bit of guilt. Pip wonders if the file was the start of everything happening, if it was the first step closer to Mrs. Joe’s death. Maybe the file will become irrelevant to the plot, or maybe it will be the cause of much more mishap to come.

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  14. josepha4

    Guilt is the reoccurring word when it comes to these chapters. Not only the Guilt of not visiting his sister but not visiting his entire family.

    When he learns that Mrs. Joe past Pip is in shock, he doesn’t believe that it happened and that Mrs. Joe is going to come along and knock on Pip’s front door. This is a sign of regret and denial. He doesn’t want what he heard to be true so badly that he is making up scenarios where she comes back and maybe he can get some closure with their relationship. “I had now the strangest ideas that she was coming towards me in the street or that she would presently knock at my door”. It’s very disturbing to see Pip think like this because it shows how badly he wants to have a second chance with his sister and him having a better relationship.

    Also, Pip starts to finally realize that his actions and lifestyle are changing his character for the worse and this is an example of what that lifestyle just left him with. His way of living just cost him closure and any relationship he would have had with his only living blood relative, he realizes he needs to change!

    Lastly Pip speaks to Biddy about the events that occur and Biddy is silently furious and ready to explode on Pip. The promise Pip makes to visit Joe more frequently to Biddy is one that Biddy cannot respond to. She knows that this is an empty promise and maybe he will visit once and then forget just like before. Biddy loses her ability to confide in Pip due to his attitude and actions. This is another thing that Pip has lost, a close friend who deserves to be treated better than what Pip is doing. I think that Pip has finally past the line from redemption from his actions.

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  15. Sunna

    In these chapters, tragedy strikes Pip. He receives a letter and finds out that his sister has died. I cannot imagine how he must feel. For one thing, he blames himself. He feels that he could have done something, even though he couldn’t have. What makes it worse is that he wasn’t even there, even though he had chances to see her. He chose Miss Havisham and Estella over the people who raised him. He feels that his childhood didn’t seem so bad as it did before. In addition, since the file was what injured Mrs. Joe, that probably only adds to Pip’s guilt. While Pip has done some rather questionable things, he definitely doesn’t deserve this. Maybe this will make him look at things differently. How would he have felt if it had been Joe or Biddy? He would have to live with the fact that he was rude to them and left them. I feel bad for him, of course, but I hope that he will reassess his life choice because of this tragedy.

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  16. MadiR

    There is a theme of guilt and shame through out chapters 34-37. Pip gets a formal letter in the mail from Mr. Trabb informing him that his sister has died and he was therefore expected at her funeral. As we recall how Pip was last shamed out of town, it must be difficult for him to return, especially as he deals with his his feelings regarding his sister’s death. “Whatever my fortunes might have been, I could scarcely have called my sister with much tenderness.”(page 278) Pip goes on to remark that he should have sought out his sister’s assailant. Another occasion of Pip’s shame and guilt occurs after the funeral when he explains to Biddy that he will come back often to visit Joe and Biddy. Biddy then expresses her disbelief. The last example of Pips guilt is in his lavish spending habits witch have created great debt. He often sits with Herbert reviewing the debt that they both have incurred. Pip is then shamed regarding his debt when he meets with Mr. Jaggers on his 21st birthday.

    Reply
  17. mirandak

    Over the course of chapters 34-37, Pip is drenched in guilt, sorrow, and shame from several different aspects of his life. He comes to be so reproachful for the wrongdoings or mistakes that he has made, which makes him even more miserable than he already is.
    Firstly, in the very beginning of chapter 34, narrator Pip expressed how shamefaced he felt over what his experience in London had done to his now close friend, Herbert. Pip explains that, because of his affluence, he had developed lush habits, and made reckless decisions of constantly spending his money. This, in turn, also caused Herbert to face quite an ordeal, as Herbert was certainly unaccustomed to this way of life, and had to pay such expenses as well (and it was much too expensive and unaffordable for Herbert). For instance, this is shown when in the text it states, “Now, concerning the influence of my position on others, I was in no such difficulty, and so I perceived – though dimly enough perhaps – that it was not beneficial to anybody, and, above all, that it was not beneficial to Herbert. My lavish habits led his easy nature into expenses that he could not afford, corrupted the simplicity of his life, and disturbed his peace with anxieties and regrets. I was not at all remorseful for having unwittingly set those other branches of the Pocket family to the poor arts they practised: because such littlenesses were their natural bent, and would have been evoked by anybody else, if I had left them slumbering. But Herbert’s was a very different case, and it often caused me a twinge to think that I had done him evil service in crowding his sparely-furnished chambers with incongruous upholstery work, and placing the canary-breasted Avenger at his disposal.” (p.272)Essentially, after Pip realized what he had done, he felt overbearing guilt that he had altered Herbert’s life in a way in which he never asked. He felt as if he had tampered with Herbert’s naturally happy personality, and the “no-stress” simplicity of his life. This really showed me that, while Pip had certainly changed a great deal in London, he still cares, and his conscience constantly nags him about the choices he has made and the actions he has performed. He had become someone who I personally think doesn’t act the best in terms of morality sometimes, but deep down inside, still worries about what he has done, showing such strong feelings of guilt and penitence throughout the story.
    Furthermore, quite some time later, Pip makes a significant discovery through a letter on his doorstep, that Mrs. Joe, his sister, had passed away. This came as a massive shock to Pip, and me as well! Although I had never particularly liked her character, I still felt such terrible pity for Pip, as he just lost the closest relation to family that he had. Essentially, even though she was ever so strict, she was the only mother figure Pip had known as he grew up, and the only connection to his mother and father (as Joe isn’t blood-related to Pip), which is now completely gone along with her! Furthermore, Pip seemed to have thought in the same mindset as I, as he explained that even though he definitely shared no such tender moments with her, or remembers any loving memories with her, she was still his sister. Now, every time he thinks of her, even in bad moments, he says that the memories return to his mind with a gentler feel (he is so upset, that he now looks back on bad moments in his childhood and thinks, maybe they weren’t so bad after all). For instance, this is shown when in the text it states,”It was fine summer weather again, and, as I walked along, the times when I was a little helpless creature, and my sister did not spare me, vividly returned. But they returned with a gentle tone upon them that softened even the edge of Tickler. For now, the very breath of the beans and clover whispered to my heart that the day must come when it would be well for my memory that others walking in the sunshine should be softened as they thought of me.” (p.278) Fundamentally, now that she is gone, I believe that Pip suddenly feels a major rush of guilt, as he realizes with much regret that he hadn’t gone to see her at all since his departure from the town. He wasn’t there to see her take her final breath, or recite her last dying words, but rather was off in London worrying about his fortune and expectations.
    Lastly, later on in the chapter, Pip is shown to feel such shamefulness of himself when he converses with Biddy about Joe after the funeral. Basically, once the ceremony had finished, Pip finally found a chance to speak with Biddy, and they walked through the garden together. In the beginning, they talked of the funeral procession, and of Orlick. However, once they began to focus more on the topic of poor Joe, Pip states that he will certainly not leave Joe all alone, as he will visit him often. To this, Biddy replies with mere silence, showing her disbelief in this statement. Then, when Pip asks her why she didn’t speak, and she revealed to him her doubt that he would come, Pip merely got mad and stormed off. For instance, this is shown when in the text it states, “‘Indeed, it would be hard to say too much for him,’ said I; ‘and Biddy, we must often speak of these things, for of course I shall be often down here now. I am not going to leave poor Joe alone.’
    Biddy said never a single word… ‘Are you quite sure, then, that you WILL come to see him often?’ asked Biddy, stopping in the narrow garden walk, and looking at me under the stars with a clear and honest eye.
    ‘Oh dear me!’ said I, as if I found myself compelled to give up Biddy in despair. ‘This really is a very bad side of human nature! Don’t say any more, if you please, Biddy. This shocks me very much.'” (p.284-285) Furthermore, while Pip just seemed mad at Biddy for bringing up her doubt in him, I believe that, inside, he is actually feeling quite guilty that she would even think in this way, which perhaps made him realize just how much he neglected his family/friends once he departed from the town. Deep down inside, Pip most likely knows that he is the one in the wrong, and so now (although too proud to admit it), feels such remorse for his behavior.
    Throughout the entire novel so far, I have found that a common “theme” or reoccurrence that courses through Pip is the sense of guilt. It follows him wherever he goes, whether from his encounter with the convict on that first eventful day, to not spending much time with his sister when she lay ill before she died. I should very much like to see how Dickens continues to develop Pip’s conscience, and perhaps if he allows Pip to try to find a way in which to “right his wrongs,” or make up for his misdeeds in some way.

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  18. Sophie

    In chapters 34-37, a major event occurs – Mrs Joe passes away. This was a huge shock to me, for in all of my predictions, that was not one of them. As a result, the biggest theme of these chapters is definitely Pip’s guilt. Pip feels terrible that he never got to say goodbye, or sit by her as she was aging, or even see her day to day. His consciousness and inner thoughts really stood out throughout the reading. Pip repeatedly thought of Mrs Joe, all the old memories he has of her, and all the feelings he recalled of her. For example, “The figure of my sister in her chair by the kitchen fire, haunted me night and day” (p 278). This shows how his sad feelings keep coming back to him. He also speaks of the slight amount of tenderness he recalls. The big conclusion and the reason why he is feeling so guilty is because deep down inside of Pip, he really loved his sister. She raised him and cared for him and always made sure he had a roof over his head and food in his stomach. Obviously sometimes she used more of a harsher parenting style, but she was more than a sister, she was the only “mother” Pip had ever lived with. Sometimes when people loose someone in their life, they learn the qualities about that person that they loved most. Sometimes it even results in a bad feeling, sort of like guilt, that they didn’t appreciate them more while they were living. This definitely happened to Pip, and I do feel very sorry for him. He was in a tough situation, and I believe he is going to learn a big lesson from this that could affect him for the rest of his life.

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  19. stephaniec

    In chapters 34-37 Dickens’ continuously portrayed the theme of guilt and shame. First and foremost, Pip discovered the death of Mrs. Joe, his sister who brought him up by hand, through a letter. Not only did Pip’s sister die, he had to be told about it through the mail. This proves how distant and uninvolved Pip was in his old life. Pip could not help but feel guilty and ashamed for not spending more time with her, and for the times he was with her, for not having felt the tenderness. The text read “Whatever my fortunes might have been, I could scarcely have recalled my sister with such tenderness. But I suppose there is a shock of regret which may exist without much tenderness.”(page 278). This demonstrates Pip’s feelings towards the situation as a whole. He wanted to feel at a loss about his “loss”, but he had no moment that he missed or thought of. Therefore, he felt guilty for not being with her when it mattered most, and for not feeling as awful as Joe had felt. I think this may be a turning point for Pip, and he will try to change before something like this happens again.

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  20. maxwellw

    In chapter 35 Pip’s guilt over his behavior toward Joe and Biddy reaches a high point at Mrs. Joe’s funeral. He is stunned by the news of his sister’s death. More than anyone else except for Joe, Mrs. Joe raised Pip, and her death marks an important point in his maturation toward adulthood and the development of his character. He tries to rectify his behavior toward his lower-class loved ones, but they are skeptical of his promises to improve and with good reason. Pip really does mean to visit them more, as he promises Biddy in Chapter 35, but when he leaves, he walks into the rising mists, which symbolize ambiguity and confusion throughout Great Expectations; even he knows he is unlikely to honor his promise.

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  21. angelicac1

    The themes of shame and guilt are spread throughout chapters 34-37. At the end of chapter 34, Pip receives news from a letter sent by Mr. Trabb that informed Pip that Mrs. Joe passed away. Regret and shame filled Pip’s mind and heart when he realized that he didn’t have any joyful memories with his sister. The text states, “Whatever my fortunes might have been, I could scarcely have recalled my sister with such tenderness. But I suppose there is a shock of regret which may exist without much tenderness.” Mrs. Joe was Pip’s closest thing for a parent and Pip felt guilt and regret for not being by his sister’s side during the time she was ill.

    Another point in these chapters where Pip felt shame, occurred when Pip conversed with Biddy about visiting more often to spend time with Joe so he had company. After Pip discusses this with Biddy, she is totally silent. Pip questioned her if she heard about what he said and she said, “Are you quite sure that you WILL come to see him often?” It is then stated in the text that Pip felt that he shouldn’t come back to visit Joe. He knew he wouldn’t be able to keep his word about visiting often so he felt guilt and regret for saying words he knew he couldn’t stand by.

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  22. Rcey Ortega

    At the end of chapter 34, Pip finds out his sister, Mrs. Gargery, died. He attended the funeral and felt bad for Joe, for now he was lonely. When the funeral ended, Pip talked to Bibby. She seemed to be mad at Pip. She told Pip how Mrs. Gargery said her goodbyes. “And so she presently said ‘Joe’ again, and once ‘Pardon’, and once said ‘Pip’. And so she never lifted her head up any more, and it was an hour later when we laid it down on her own bed, because we found she was gone.” (Pg 283) Bibby cried because of this. I think Pip didn’t cry because in the inside he felt guilty and ashamed of himself. Also, his parents died he doesn’t remember how they look. I think Pip feels that he is the reason his sister is dead.

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    1. Zoe

      I agree that Pip definitely was ashamed and guilty at his sister’s funeral, but I think he didn’t cry because he somehow was still in shock and wasn’t taking it all in and realizing that his sister won’t ever talk to him again. I also think he won’t come back because the place reminds him of too many tragic memories and the start of his fortune which he is starting to regret.

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  23. Zoe

    In chapters 34-37 the theme of guilt and shamed was expressed quite a lot. In the beginning of chapter 34, Pip explains how he had realized that his expectation have been changing him and the people around him for the worse. At this point, him and Herbert fall into a deep debt. Even though they are constantly trying to create a sum to reach in order to get out of debt, they keep adding on to the number until it is Pip’s 21st birthday. Mr.Wemmick informs Pip that Mr.Jaggers wants him over on his birthday. Pip is excited by this, and receives 500 pounds. He can finally get himself out of debt, but Herbert is not as lucky. At this point, Pip feels bad, so he tries to talk to Mr.Wemmick and try and find out a way to give his friend a good paying job to get out of his debt. In the end, Pip decides to pay this worthy young merchant 250 pounds who wanted intelligent help and eventually a partner to take in Herbert as his partner. Pip finally feels as though he is doing something useful for the first time with his fortune. He definitely feels better helping Herbert and being out of his debt. “…I did really cry in good earnest when I went to bed, to think that my expectations had done some good to somebody”pg299.

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  24. trinityt

    In these chapters, chapters 34-37, Pip faced a tragedy of his sister’s death, Mrs. Joe. Pip got a letter informing him that Mrs. Joe has passed away while he was in London. Pip went back to his town to attend her funeral. Even though Pip and Mrs. Joe had their ups and downs in the past, Pip still loves and care for her. He felt guilty that he could have done something to help Mrs. Joe, before or after she was hurt, he could have pursue the person that hurted her, and take revenge. “…I seized with a violent indignation against the assailant from she had suffered so much; and I felt that on sufficient proof I could have revengefully pursued Orlick, or anyone else, to the last extremity.” (pg.278). It makes Pip feel more guilty and ashamed when he and Biddy was talking about the last moment of Mrs. Joe before she passed away. “‘…And so she presently said ‘Joe’ again, and once ‘Pardon,’ and once ‘Pip.’ And so she never lifted her head up any more, and it was just an hour later we laid it down on her own bed, because we found she was gone.’ Biddy cried; the darkening garden, and the lane, and the stars that were coming out, were blurred in my own sight.” (pg.283). Pip was tearing up as his sight were “blurred” when Biddy told him about Mrs. Joe before she died. I think that this moment will be brought up again later on in the story as Pip continues to develop his character through ups and downs as this was one of his down time.

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  25. Maddie

    In chapters 34-37, Pip is continuously showing guilt and shame. First, Pip finds out by a letter that Mrs. Joe Gargery passed away. He regrets going to visit Estella and Miss Havisham, and wished he would have gone to see his sister, Joe, and Biddy. He said that he didn’t have any good memories with Mrs. Joe, and he wished he could have had more good times with her, rather than the reality of her always being mad at him throughout his bringing up.
    Another point of the story portraying Pip’s guilt is when Pip talks to Biddy. He say he will make frequent, often visits to see Joe, so he is not lonely. I think he is going to do this because he feels all the guilt and shame for not being there in the past. I think he feels like that is the best way he can make up for how he acted before.
    Also, He realizes that his expectations have been changing not only himself, but also the people around him, and this change was not for the better. He and Herbert are in debt, and their debt is hard to pay. I wonder what Pip will do to try and feel less guilty, and believe he will make better decisions in the future.

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