Great Expectations - Characters


Read the following extract from the end of Chapter 9. Then answer the questions which follow.

That was a memorable day to me, for it made great changes in me. But it is the same with any life. Imagine one selected day struck out of it, and think how different its course would have been. 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.

What is the 'memorable day' which Pip is thinking about here and why is it important to him?


The day is also memorable because Pip has just behaved rather badly. What has he been doing just before having these thoughts?


Which of the following statements about Pip is demonstrated by this extract?


What is Dickens trying to tell the reader about Pip by his use of the image of the 'long chain of iron or gold, of thorns or flowers'?


Read the following extract in which Magwitch explains to Pip why he has returned from Australia. Then answer the questions which follow.

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 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 was like, I see yourn. I drops my knife many a time in that hut when I was a eating my dinner or my supper, and I says, “Here's the boy again, a looking at me whiles I eats and drinks!" I see you there a many times as 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.

What does Magwitch reveal that he has been doing while he has been in Australia?


Which of Magwitch's key personality traits is not shown by this extract?


Magwitch refers to himself as a 'second father' to Pip. Which two other characters act as father figures to Pip in the novel?


Read the following extract in which Pip and Estella pay a visit to Miss Havisham. Then answer the questions which follow.

She was even more dreadfully fond of Estella than she had been when I last saw them together; I repeat the word advisedly, for there was something positively dreadful in the energy of her looks and embraces. She hung upon Estella's beauty, hung upon her words, hung upon her gestures, and sat mumbling her own trembling fingers while she looked at her, as though she were devouring the beautiful creature she had reared. From Estella she looked at me, with a searching glance that seemed to pry into my heart and probe its wounds. "How does she use you, Pip; how does she use you?" she asked me again, with her witch-like eagerness, even in Estella's hearing. But, when we sat by her flickering fire at night, she was most weird; for then, keeping Estella's hand drawn through her arm and clutched in her own hand, she extorted from her, by dint of referring back to what Estella had told her in her regular letters, the names and conditions of the men whom she had fascinated; and as Miss Havisham dwelt upon this roll, with the intensity of a mind mortally hurt and diseased, she sat with her other hand on her crutch stick, and her chin on that, and her wan bright eyes glaring at me, a very spectre.

What is Miss Havisham's relationship to Estella?


What three words are used here to show how Miss Havisham can look deep into Pip's soul?


Although they never meet, a key word in this extract links Miss Havisham to Magwitch. What is this key word?