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Great Expectations Plot Diagram

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Katie Berger

on 6 November 2014

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Transcript of Great Expectations Plot Diagram

Exposition
The novel begins with the protagonist, Philip "Pip" Pirrip, who lives in the English countryside with his sister, her husband, and her husband's uncle, sitting at his parents' graves. He is approached and threatened by a convict,who's name we later learn is Magwitch; Pip brings the convict what he requested- food and a file- and the convict lets him leave in peace. We later come to find that this convict plays a major role in the novel.

Pip is content with his life and loves his family very much. Then, one day, he recieves word that he is to go play at a Miss Havisham's home. His sister is overjoyed by this, and dresses Pip in his best clothes to go and visit Miss Havisham. Upon arriving, Pip encounters Miss Havisham, an eccentric woman who sits in a room in a yellowing wedding dress with all of the clocks stopped all hours of every day. He also meets a girl his age who lives with Miss Havisham- Estella. Invited to come and play regularly for many months, Pip sees Miss Havisham and Estella (whom he falls in love with) regularly and begins to admire their way of life more than his own. He is ashamed of how the upper classes look down upon him and wants to be a part of a higher society, not seen as beneath or insignificant to to rich. He also assumes, and hopes, that Miss Havisham is planning to give him money and marry him to Estella.
Rising Action
As Pip helps Magwitch escape London, he grows to care for him. Before Magwitch’s escape attempt, Estella marries Bentley Drummle, the young man who was in tutoring with Pip with Matthew Pocket. Pip makes a visit to Satis House, Miss Havisham's home, where she begs his forgiveness for the way she had treated him in his youth, and he forgives her. Later that day, while bending over the fireplace, her wedding dress catches fire and she goes up in flames. She survives, but becomes an invalid. In her final days, she continues to repent for her mistreatment of Pip and pleads for his forgiveness.
Climax
The time finally comes for Pip and his allies to carry out their plan to send Magwitch away from London. Just before the attempted escape, Pip is called to a mysterious meeting in the marshes, where he encounters the vengeful Orlick- the man who haunted Pip's childhood and attacked and killed his sister. Orlick is on the verge murdering Pip when Herbert comes to the rescue with a group of friends and saves Pip’s life. Pip and Herbert race back to finish off Magwitch’s escape. They attempt to sneak Magwitch down the river on a rowboat, but they are caught by the police, who Compeyson tipped off. Magwitch and Compeyson battle in the river, and Compeyson is drowned. Magwitch is consequently sentenced to death, and Pip loses his fortune. Magwitch feels that his punishment is God’s way of showing forgiveness and dies at peace.
Falling Action
Pip becomes ill and Joe travels to London to care for him, and they are reconciled. Joe catches Pip up on the nrews back at home; Orlick, after robbing Pumblechook, is now in jail, Miss Havisham has died and left most of her fortune to the Pockets, Biddy (Pip's childhood friend who helped him in his education) has taught Joe how to read and write. After Joe leaves London, Pip decides to rush home after him and marry Biddy, but when he arrives there he discovers that she and Joe have already been married.
Resolution
Pip decides to go abroad with Herbert to work in the mercantile trade. Returning to England years later, he encounters Estella in the garden of Satis House. Drummle, her husband, treated her poorly, but has now died. Pip finds that Estella’s coldness and cruelty, taught to her by Miss Havisham, have been replaced by a sad kindness, and the two leave the garden hand in hand, Pip convinced they will never again part.
Rising Action
In London, Pip befriends a boy named Herbert Pocket as well as Jaggers’s law clerk, Wemmick. Around his new colleagues, Pip expresses disdain for his friends and family back in Kent in attempts to show them that he is no longer the low class country boy he once was. He furthers his education in reading and writing by studying with his new tutor Matthew Pocket, Herbert’s father; two young men named Bentley Drummle and Startop attend tutoring with Pip. Herbert helps show Pip how to act like a gentleman.

Pip soon learns that his sister, the one who had raised him, has died as the result of an attack on her in Pip's early life. Pip goes home for the funeral, feeling tremendous grief and remorse. Years go by, until one night a familiar figure from Pip's past barges into his room—the convict, Magwitch, who shocks Pip by telling him that he, not Miss Havisham, is the source of Pip’s fortune. He tells Pip that he was so moved by Pip’s generosity when he so desperately needed it that he dedicated his life to making Pip a gentleman.

Pip now feels obliged to help Magwitch escape London, as the convict is being hunted both by the police and by Compeyson, his former accomplice and the second convict found with Magwitch in the beginning of the novel. A complicated series of events begins to fall into place when Pip discovers that Compeyson was the man who abandoned Miss Havisham at the altar and that Estella is Magwitch’s daughter. Miss Havisham has raised her to break men’s hearts, as revenge for the pain her own broken heart caused her; Pip was merely a boy for young Estella to practice on. Miss Havisham delighted in Estella’s ability to toy with his emotions.
Great Expectations
Plot

Exposition
Then, one day, Miss Havisham requests to see Joe, Pip's uncle-in-law, to whom he is to be apprenticed. Pip brings Joe to Miss Havisham's residence, where he is ashamed of Joe while he is talking to Miss Havisham. Suddenly, Miss Havisham tells Joe that Pip must be apprenticed to him immediately and sends them to the court to have it made official. Just like that, Pip's future as a blacksmith seems,unfortunately, sealed.

However, one day a lawyer named Jaggers appears with important news: a secret benefactor has given Pip a large fortune, and Pip must come to London immediately to begin his education as a gentleman. Pip happily assumes that his previous hopes have come true—that Miss Havisham is his secret benefactor and that the old woman intends for him to marry Estella. In a sudden turn of events, Pip's hopes and dreams of achieving a higher social class are coming true.
Miss Havisham.
Pip and Magwitch.
Pip and Estella.
Full transcript