Pip dashes back to his village, where he finds Miss Havisham next to an ashy fire, and she looks incredibly lonely. Like whoa lonely. She also looks a little afraid of Pip, which is strange.
Pip asks Miss Havisham for £900 to invest in Herbert's career. Miss Havisham is totally willing to cough up the money, and she also wants to know what she can do for Pip.
But Pip doesn't want any money.
Miss Havisham begs Pip to forgive her, and Pip tells her he has already. He tells her he's been too much of a jerk in his own life to be able to hold a grudge against anyone else, let alone Miss Havisham.
Miss Havisham is totally sad, and tells Pip that she didn't realize what she had done until Pip had professed his love to Estella. She sees herself in Pip's sadness, and she recognizes that her broken heart matches his.
She throws herself at Pip's feet, and Pip doesn't quite know what to do.
Pip tells her that she can remove him from her conscience, but that she should do everything in her power to help heal Estella's frozen popsicle of a heart.
Miss Havisham agrees.
Pip asks her how she came to adopt Estella, and she tells him how lonely and sad she once was locked away in her dark, mildewing rooms.
She asked Jaggers to find her a daughter, and Jaggers obeyed. Estella was two or three when she was brought to Miss Havisham's.
Pip says goodbye to Miss Havisham and decides to take a walk in the ruined garden, a.k.a. memory lane. He decides to check out the old brewery, and while he's there, he hallucinates and sees Miss Havisham hanging from the rafters in her wedding dress, looking like a ghost. Isn't this like the third time this has happened?
Thoroughly freaked out, Pip decides to go check on Miss Havisham one last time.
As he peeks into her room, he sees something bright rears up behind her, and he realizes that her wedding dress has caught fire.
Pip runs and tackles Miss Havisham like a linebacker. She's completely aflame, so he pulls the table cloth off of the wedding table and wraps it around her, trying to stamp out the fire. Just like Smokey the Bear would recommend.
As he pulls out the wedding tablecloth, the rotten wedding cake and all of its "inhabitants" (a.k.a. creepy crawlies) scatter everywhere.
Pip holds Miss Havisham down like a prisoner and only lets her go when he's sure that the fire has been put out.
When the doctor arrives, he has her laid out on top of the wedding table.
Pip's arms have been burned, but he's basically okay—unlike Miss Havisham.
She keeps saying the following three things: "What have I done!" and "when she first came, I meant to save her from misery like mine" and "take the pencil and write under her name, I forgive her!"
The next morning, while Miss Havisham is still reciting these words, Pip gets up early and says goodbye to her, kissing her on the lips.
Great Expectations Chapter 50 Summary
Pip's left arm was burnt to a crisp, and his right arm is a little toasty as well.
Herbert visits and helps him dress his wounds and change his bandages.
While Pip was away, Herbert says that Magwitch told a story. This is Magwitch's story:
Back in the day he had been married to a crazy lady who, upon becoming jealous of another woman, killed the woman and who threatened to kill her own little girl (who Magwitch loved).
Afraid of being sent to jail or worse for being the cause of a child's death, Magwitch never went to the authorities or pursued his wife. Compeyson knew this story and used it to blackmail Magwitch into submission.
This ends Magwitch's story.
Pip nearly spits jellybeans. It looks like Miss High-and-Mighty doesn't have a lot to gloat about now.
Great Expectations Chapter 51 Summary
Pip is hot to trot. In true Sherlockian form, he's figured out who Estella's parents are, but he wants confirmation—and he knows where to get it.
He goes to Jaggers' office only to find Jaggers and Wemmick taking care of business, bills, and other items. They're not in the cheeriest of moods, but Pip is determined.
First order of business, he tells Jaggers about the money Miss Havisham has granted to Herbert's career, and he asks Jaggers to write him a check in the amounted that was agreed upon.
Mr. Jaggers and Wemmick scold Pip for not asking for money for himself.
Pip then explains that he knows who Estella's father is. When he names Provis (a.k.a. Magwitch), Jaggers is certainly surprised, but goes on with business as usual.
Pip doesn't like being ignored and he continues to rant at Jaggers and Wemmick in the hopes that they will relent and give him the information he so desperately wants.
He explains that he needs to know because he loves Estella, and, though he doesn't have a chance with her anymore, he still really cares about her.
When Jaggers and Wemmick still won't offer up any information, Pip addresses Wemmick's soft side—the Aged-loving, castle-building Wemmick. Mr. Jaggers is totally surprised to hear that Wemmick has this soft side, and things get really awkward for a minute.
Jaggers spills: he tells the story of winning Molly the housekeeper's case back in the day when she was accused of murder just at the time Miss Havisham was also looking to adopt a child.
Because he saw and sees so many orphaned children grow up to live hard lives and to become criminals, he thought he might be able to save Molly's daughter. Hey, Jaggers has a sensitive side, too!
It helps that Molly had told her husband that she had killed the child, so the husband would never know that the daughter had been adopted.
But Jaggers never knew that the father was Provis/Magwitch.
Jaggers and Wemmick go back to business as usual, but things are a little awkward between them, now that Jaggers knows Wemmick is a softy. It's only when Mike, the annoying client who always wipes his nose on his fur cap, shows that the two are able to be blissfully irascible to him, and, thus, are able to restore their working relationship.
Great Expectations Chapter 52 Summary
Pip goes straight to the shipyard guy Clarriker with his check, and arranges funding for Herbert's new job.
Clarriker tells Pip that he's planning to open a new business in the East (i.e., Middle East) which he hopes Herbert will run.
Pip is glad for his friend, but also really saddened by the thought that he will have to say goodbye to Herbert soon.
When Herbert discovers he's been offered a new position, he's totally psyched. He imagines what it will be like when he, Clara, and Pip are living in Cairo together, chilling with the pyramids.
Wemmick sends a cryptic message to Pip telling him that next Wednesday will be the ultimate day to escape with Magwitch.
Pip and Herbert lay down plans for their Mission Impossible. They decide to include Startop in the plan, since Pip can't use his arm anymore and won't be able to row.
When all of the details are set, down to who will bring the passports and what ships they will try to catch, Pip receives another cryptic note, but not a nice one.
It tells him that he'd better come to marshes tonight if he wants information about his "Uncle" "Provis."
Creepy. So, Pip has a decision to make. If he wants to obey the message, he's to go to the marshes tonight—but tomorrow is theGreat Escape.
Pip catches the last carriage to the marshes, and decides to rest at a little inn where no one will know him. The innkeeper tells the story of a local boy who struck it rich by means of a mysterious benefactor and who spurned those who loved him most. Pip, not revealing that he's that same, local boy, plays along. He asks who the local boy has spurned, and the innkeeper tells him that Pumblechook is the victim.
This sends Pip over the edge, for he knows that Joe, the man he truly has mistreated, would never, ever complain. He sees Mr. Pumblechook as an imposter and as an absolute twerp.
Pip can't eat any of his dinner, so he heads out into the cold, dark, and windy marshes to meet the mysterious person.
Great Expectations Chapter 53 Summary
It was a dark and stormy night. Perfect weather for a nice hike through the freezing marshes, if you ask us. This is a GREAT idea, Pip. Go for a walk by yourself in the pitch black to meet an anonymous person who wrote you a creepy letter. Brilliant.
In any case, it's windy, cold, and dark, but Pip knows his way.
After an hour or so, he finds the sluice-house-thingy where he's supposed to meet the anonymous letter-writer. The sluice-house is near the lime-kiln.
The sluice-house looks empty and deserted, so Pip does what any sane person would do: he goes inside.
There's a candle on the table inside, but no one to be found. Pip picks up the candle, only to have the flame suddenly extinguished by someone and to have a noose thrown around his neck.
Pip is tied to a post, and his burnt arm hurts like crazy from having been manhandled.
Pip cries out in pain.
The mysterious man lights a fire, and Pip realizes that the man is Orlick.
Orlick rants to Pip about how Pip turned Biddy against him. He confesses to killing Mrs. Joe, but tells Pip that he (Pip) was the cause of Mrs. Joe's death, because he was always favored by Joe over Orlick when he was growing up, and because he made Orlick's life so miserable as a result.
Lunatic villain confession over, Orlick announces that he's going to kill Pip.
Orlick confesses that he was the man Pip tripped over on the stairwell the night Magwitch revealed himself as a benefactor. Orlick insinuates that he knows and has been in communication with Compeyson and knows that Pip and Magwitch are attempting to escape.
Orlick is drinking like a fish and his eyes are red. When his bottle is dry, Orlick grabs a stone hammer and gets ready to kill Pip.
Suddenly, a group of men burst into the house and attack Orlick, who only just manages to escape.
The men are Herbert, Startop, and Trabb's boy.
The boys untie Pip and take him to town. Instead of pressing charges, they decide it would be best to return to London immediately.
Herbert tells Pip that he found the mysterious letter on the apartment floor and decided to chase after Pip.
When they're back in London, Pip can't sleep at all and frankly isn't feeling too good, especially when he wakes up in the middle of the night thinking he he's overslept and that a whole day had passed. Okay, he's actually a little delirious.
It's a chilly but sunny March day. Today's the day Pip and Magwitch will escape to freedom. Besides being a little hesitant, Pip is ready to roll.
Pip, Startop, and Herbert row over to Clara's house where they pick up Magwitch. Magwitch has dressed as a river captain for the occasion, which is pretty awesome.
Everything is going so well. There's not much traffic on the water, and the rowing is easy. Herbert and Startop are rowing, Pip is steering, and Magwitch is dragging his hand in the water, philosophizing about life and about freedom.
The boys stop for beer and picnic, which seems a little casual for a life and death escape if you ask us.
Suddenly everyone feels a little weird and unsettled. Pip is worried that someone is following them. They keep rowing towards the ocean and towards freedom, but it's getting late. They see a little inn by the water called the Ship, and they decide to stay there for the night.
The Ship is totally dirty and is pretty much a roach motel, but the boys are happy. It's warm, dry, and there's bacon.
One of the Ship attendants says he saw a strange boat hanging out in the distance. Pip is freaked out, but everyone decides to go to bed.
There are dirty clothes under the beds, but everyone is grateful for sleep. Pip wakes up in the middle of the night and goes to the window. He sees strange men checking out their boat. At this point, he's REALLY worried.
They wake up early the next morning and head out, aiming for a German ship that will take Pip and Magwitch to Hamburg.
But then they realize that a boat really IS following them. As the boat gets closer, they try to row harder, but to no avail.
Magwitch realizes that Compeyson is in the boat. He lunges after Compeyson, and the two disappear below the water. Magwitch eventually resurfaces, but Compeyson doesn't.
Magwitch is deeply wounded, and the police take him to shore. Pip buys him dry clothes, but has to give Magwitch's pocketbook (and money) to the authorities.
Pip tells Magwitch he will never leave his side.
Great Expectations Chapter 55 Summary
Magwitch is taken to prison, but his trial is delayed a little bit because there are no prison officers in town that can confirm that Magwitch is the same man that was exiled to New South Wales many years ago. The only man who could really confirm this is Compeyson, and he's conveniently drowned.
Pip implores Jaggers to take on Magwitch's case, but Mr. Jaggers tells Pip it's a lost cause. Once a witness is found who can confirm that Magwitch is in fact Magwitch, he will be sentenced to death.
Jaggers scolds Pip for not hanging onto his fortune. Now, Magwitch's money will go directly to the government. When Magwitch fought Compeyson in the Thames, he found a book of papers in his pocket that were from a bank in New South Wales and that detailed Magwitch's fortune. Apparently, Compeyson thought he'd get a reward by ratting out Magwitch.
Magwitch gives these papers to Jaggers hoping that Pip can have the money, but Jaggers doesn't tell him where this money will really go.
Pip doesn't care so much about money; he's just worried about Magwitch.
And just when he thought things couldn't get any worse, they get worse. Herbert tells Pip that he's to go east to Cairo to seek his fortune and that he will be leaving soon.
Pip is totally heartbroken to be losing Herbert, but Herbert asks Pip to come with him and to live with him and Clara in Egypt.
Herbert tells him that he can give him a job as a clerk, and that Pip could very quickly become a partner in the business.
Pip asks Herbert to give him two to three months to decide, and Herbert does.
One day, Pip runs into Wemmick and scores an invite to his castle.
Next Monday arrives, and Pip goes to Wemmick's castle. Wemmick is around, but the Aged is nowhere in sight. Wemmick grabs his fishing rod and the two set out on their hike.
They walk by a church, and Wemmick seems really set on going inside. So they do.
There happen to be a pair of gloves inside the church, and Wemmick suggest they put them on.
Pip does so, but he's no clue what's going on.
Miss Skiffins appears on the arm of the Aged, and Wemmick says, "Here's Miss Skiffins! Let's have a wedding" (55.54).
Oh, apparently Pip is going to be Wemmick's best man.
The four of them go to the local inn after the wedding ceremony and have a delicious wedding breakfast.
But Pip is totally not allowed to tell Jaggers about the wedding.
Great Expectations Chapter 56 Summary
Magwitch is really sick. Two of his ribs are broken and his lung is punctured. He can't breathe well and he can't speak.
Pip visits him every day, and every day Magwitch looks worse and worse.
Jaggers tries to postpone Magwitch's trial but to no avail.
The trial comes, and Pip is allowed to stand next to Magwitch and to hold his hand.
He's totally freaked out by the trial, because it feels like a show or a spectacle. Over thirty convicts and criminals who are to receive the death penalty stand in the courtroom while lots of onlookers gather in the rows and in the balconies.
Each person's death sentence is read. Magwitch's death sentence is really long, because he's been convicted of so much in his life.
Pip is outraged and tries to petition to overrule the death sentence, but no politician responds to his letters.
Between his visits to Magwitch's jail cell, Pip wanders the London streets in the April weather, trying to figure out how he can acquit his good friend.
But it's no good. In the end, Magwitch is dying—but before he does, Pip tells Magwitch that his daughter is alive, that she's a beautiful lady, and that she's loved by Pip.
Magwitch kisses Pip's hand, a peaceful look washes over him, and he passes away.
Upon realizing he's dead, Pip utters, "O Lord, be merciful to him a sinner!" (4.56.35).
Great Expectations Chapter 57 Summary
Pip realizes that he's now completely alone and that he has a heap of debts, and no money.
He puts his bills in the windows, and lets his landlord know that he'll be heading out soon.
But then he gets sick. Really sick. Feverishly sick. He starts hallucinating and sleepwalking. He finds himself grappling for a boat by the river, lighting a lamp for Magwitch. He thinks Miss Havisham is roasting in a furnace in the corner of his room. He talks to himself.
His creditors show up one day, but Pip only vaguely remembers them. They tell him he's arrested and make him get up and get dressed, and the next thing he knows, people are trying to help him.
These "people" become Joe. Joe has come to take care of him.
Pip feels super guilty, because Joe is wonderful as ever and showers him with love.
Eventually, Pip gets better and realizes that Biddy has taught Joe how to write.
There's some other news: Miss Havisham has died and divided up her wealth appropriately, not forgetting Mr. Pocket or Herbert.
Also, Orlick robbed Mr. Pumblechook, tied him to a bedpost, slapped him around, and stuffed flowers in his mouth. Orlick is now in jail.
Well, that took long enough.
Joe and Pip go on a field trip into the country one Sunday, just like old times. Pip is eternally grateful to Joe. He tries to tell Joe about Magwitch and about the last few years, but Joe just tells him that what's past is past.
Joe apologizes to Pip for never having been able to stop Mrs. Joe from beating him as a little boy. See, when he did try to stop her, she just beat Pip more severely.
As Pip gets better, Joe starts to act differently around him. Joe starts to call Pip "sir" again which basically rips Pip's heart out.
When he wakes up the next morning, he finds a note from Joe saying goodbye. Joe includes a receipt to show that all of Pip's debts have been paid off.
Pip is devastated. So are we.
But he has a plan. He'll follow Joe home, he'll propose to Biddy, and he'll work side by side with Joe in the forge.
Three days later, he heads home.
Great Expectations Chapter 58 Summary
Pip goes home and stays the night at the Blue Boar. Because he's no longer the Donald Trump of his hometown, he doesn't get treated like he used to and he doesn't get his old room.
But he does sleep really well.
The next day he goes over to Satis House and finds that everything there's to be auctioned off, and that the land is to be divided into different lots. Subdivisions, here we come!
When Pip returns to the Blue Boar for breakfast, he finds the ever-annoying Mr. Pumblechook, ready to berate him.
Mr. Pumblechook pretends to be benevolent and nice by ordering watercress sandwiches for Pip, but Pip doesn't like watercress sandwiches.
Mr. Pumblechook launches into a lecture in which he talks about how horrible Pip has been to his family.
Pip can't stand it, and is snarky to Mr. Pumblechook.
When Mr. Pumblechook is done lecturing, Pip promptly leaves the Blue Boar in search of Joe and Biddy.
It is a beautiful, sunshiny, June day. For once. Shmoopsters, take note. This is the only documented sunshine in the entire novel. Let us bask for a while.
Pip first goes to the schoolhouse where he hopes to watch Biddy in action, teaching her students. But no one is in the schoolhouse. It's a holiday.
Kids these days. Never in school.
So Pip presses to the forge, but he doesn't hear any hammering, and it seems like the forge and smithy are closed. Uh-oh.
But wait! The house is alive! There are white curtains, and it seems like there are people inside.
Soon Joe and Biddy are standing before Pip. They're arm and arm. Biddy looks beautiful and is crying. Joe is overjoyed.
Biddy tells Pip it is her wedding day and that she's married Joe.
Pip is not feeling so well. The news is kind of a shock. He lays his head down on the kitchen table, and thinks about how glad he is that he never told Joe that he wanted to marry Biddy once upon a time.
Then Pip professes his undying love for Joe and Biddy and he blesses their marriage. He begs them for forgiveness for being such a butthead and says he'll repay them both for the money they spent paying off his own debts.
Pip explains that he's about to leave England, but he hopes Joe and Biddy will tell their future children that he loved and honored them both.
Pip leaves England to go "east" (we're not exactly sure where) to join Herbert and Clara. Pretty soon, Pip becomes a partner in the business. Pip writes letters to Joe and Biddy all the time and gradually pays them back.
Herbert and Pip's shipping company is not the most prosperous, but they live comfortably in the East, and they do well enough.
Pip realizes that the success of the company is largely due to Herbert's attitude and smarts. He's the one who screwed up royally in life.
Great Expectations Chapter 59 Summary
Though they're always on his mind, Pip doesn't see Joe or Biddy for another eleven years.
Finally, he comes back to England and walks into his old home. There's Joe smoking a pipe by the fire, and there's an exact replica of his young self. It's baby Pip! Biddy and Joe have babies now!
Pip is totally taken with little Pip. He asks Biddy if she will give little Pip to him, or at least let little Pip come hang out with him, which is… weird.
Biddy insists that Pip must marry first. Pip doesn't agree. He tells her he's quite a comfortable bachelor, living with Herbert and Clara.
Does he still think about Estella?
Pip replies that he can't possibly forget something that ripped his heart out and stomped it on the ground, but that he's forgotten Estella and the dream of Estella.
And now, Shmoopers, we interrupt this program to announce that what follows are two different endings. Though the original ending rarely is ever published, Shmoop is including it here. Because friends don't let friends read just one ending. For more information as to why there are two different endings, please visit "What's Up With the Ending?"
Let's start with the most popular one, and the one you're probably reading:
The Hollywood-ified Ending
Now that Biddy has dropped the E-bomb, Pip's got Estella on the brain and decides to go to the site of Satis House.
Pip has caught wind over the years that Estella was totally unhappy in her marriage to Drummle, and that Drummle beat her. He's also heard, however, that Drummle died several years back in an accident during which he was abusing a horse. Pip assumes that Estella has remarried.
Pip goes to Satis House after talking to Biddy, only to find that everything has been torn down, except for the garden wall.
It's not yet dark, there's a silvery mist, and Pip can see the stars and the moon.
Pip sees a figure in the distance. The figure is walking towards him. The figure is a woman. The figure begins to turn away from Pip. The figure is ESTELLA. Oh, goodness.
Pip and Estella sit on a bench and chat about Satis House. Neither has been back since Miss Havisham died.
Pip thinks to himself about telling Magwitch that his daughter lived and that she was the object of Pip's love.
Estella explains that the land belongs to her, that she's held onto it stubbornly all these years, but that at last, she's going to let it go.
Estella tells Pip she's thought of him often.
Pip tells Estella he always thinks of her.
Dum dee dum.
Estella wonders at the fact that she never thought she'd say goodbye to Pip when she was saying goodbye to the Satis House estate.
Whoa, whoa, whoa, says Pip. Who said anything about saying goodbye?
Estella replies that her great suffering has taught her to understand what Pip's heart used to be. She tells him life has broken her, but that she hopes she's a better person as a result. She asks Pip to be friends. She says something about being friends when they're "apart."
Pip leads Estella out of the "ruined estate," the evening mists are rising (just as the morning mists rose when he first left his homeland), and Pip knows that he will never part from Estella again.
Okay, that makes us feel all warm and fuzzy inside. But now for the original ending:
The Original Ending
After Biddy drops the E-bomb, Pip can't help but think about Estella.
Pip doesn't see Estella for another two years. So, let's fast forward two years.
Over time, Pip hears that Estella's marriage to Drummle had been an abusive one, but that Drummle had died a ways back while mistreating a horse.
So far, so similar. Well, except for the two years thing. Now it starts to get different:
He also hears that Estella remarried promptly after Drummle's death to a poor doctor who had come to her rescue and who had defended her when she had been married to Drummle.
Estella and her new husband apparently live off of her own fortune.
So, we've fast-forwarded two years. Pip and little Pip are walking down the street in London.
Someone runs after them and asks them to come over to a pony-drawn carriage.
They do so, and Pip realizes that Estella is driving the carriage.
Estella tells Pip that she knows she looks different, but that she thought he might like to say hi to her. She asks him to let her kiss little Pip, who she assumes is Pip's kid.
In her eyes, Pip sees that she's suffered hugely, and that this suffering (more than Miss Havisham's teaching) has taught her how to understand what his heart used to be.