In Great Expectations, the reader follows the protagonist, a young boy named Pip, through the opportunities and relationships in his life. Help your students bring the story to life with Storyboard That's premade lesson plans and activities!
Great Expectations Summary & Plot Diagram | Help students keep track of the multiple story lines in Great Expectations by creating a plot diagram!
...and don't you forget I brought you up by hand.
It's a Jack not a knave... you are so common!
Pip is introduced in a graveyard, visiting the markers of his parents. An escaped convict grabs him and demands a file and food.
MAJOR INCITING CONFLICT
Pip is brought up by his sister and her husband, Joe, a blacksmith. Mrs. Joe is seen as the antagonist, constantly punishing Pip and reminding him that she brought him up ‘by hand’. Conversely, Joe is Pip’s best friend.
Joe’s uncle arrives one day, and says he has a great opportunity for Pip to go on a playdate at a rich woman’s house. Immediately, Mrs. Joe sees this as an opportunity for Pip to make money.
At Miss Havisham’s home, Pip plays with her daughter Estella. He goes there for quite a while and eventually develops feelings for the young girl, despite her scornful disposition.
Pip begins to lie to Joe and his wife about what he does at Miss Havisham’s. Pip changes as he struggles to become educated and less ‘common’, for Estella.
Pip ol' chap... you can tell me anything!
Years have passed, Pip has become an apprentice to Joe, and is no longer visiting the Havisham’s. He goes to see Miss Havisham on her birthday, hoping to see Estella, but is instead meets her family. Miss Havisham manipulates Pip, and toys with his emotions by asking him personal questions about Estella.
You've come to see Estella, not me.
One day, while Pip is at the local bar with Joe, a lawyer appears and asks for Pip. This man tells Pip that he has been named in a large inheritance and will move to London at once.
Hmm, I believe I have seen this man before...
In London, Pip must be tutored to became a gentleman. Suspiciously, he is being tutored by a nephew of Miss Havisham. He also ends up rooming with Herbert, the son of his tutor. These coincidences lead Pip to believe that Miss Havisham is is trying to arrange for him to be with Estella.
Why do you treat Joe so poorly?
I'm the convict you met in the marshes years ago. I am your benefactor!
I warned you, Pip! She made me incapable of love.
During his time in London, Pip is rebutted by Estella, treats Joe as a peasant, and becomes a hostile person, driven by greed and desire.
Then one evening, Pip has a strange man come visit. The man reveals his true identity, and that he is Pip’s benefactor; Abel Magwitch, the convict from the marshes. At this time, Miss Havisham’s past is revealed, and Pip is ashamed that his money came from a criminal and threatens to desert him.
Pip goes to Satis House to confront Miss. Havisham. He is angry believing she has led him on for years about being with Estella who he recently found out is to marry another man. Once there, Estella gets in a fight with Miss Havisham, and the truth about her manipulation is revealed.
Both Herbert and Pip are live beyond their means. Pip devises a plan, but needs a sizable amount of money. Despite his last encounter with Miss Havisham, he goes to her to save his friend from bankruptcy. He bargains forgiveness for help. As leaves, her dress catches fire. Pip attempts to put it out, leaving both of them badly injured.
Pip tries to help Abel escape London when they realize they are being followed by one of Abel’s old enemies. While fleeing on the river, a fight ensues, and Abel is fatally wounded. On Abel’s death bed, Pip has an epiphany. He lies to Abel so the man can die happy.
You're under arrest.
After Abel's death, Pip goes into a downward spiral. He is in over his head with debt. His years of living beyond his means have caught up with him, and he has a breakdown when he is thrown into debtors’ prison.
Pip is in debt and falls ill. When he awakes, he learns that Joe has paid off all his debts.Herbert gives him a job.
I've always been there for you Pip, and always will be!
In the very last scene, Pip returns to Satis House after Miss Havisham's death, and he encounters Estella. Together they walk off holding hands.