Great Expectations

describe pip's experience with estella and the pale young gentleman during his second visit to miss havisham's house?

refer chapter I tell fairy tales, strange people in stange house, I try to be less common from the story great expection

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A few days later, Pip returns to Miss Havisham's as directed. This time, the house seems full of people waiting to see her but she sees him first. She brings him into a great banquet hall where a table is set with food and large wedding cake. But the food and the cake are years old, untouched except by a vast array of rats, beetles and spiders which crawl freely through the room. Miss Havisham has Pip walk her around the room as four guests are brought in: Sarah Pocket, a "vicious," "dry, brown, corrugated woman;" Georgiana, "the grave lady;" Camilla, an old melodramatic woman; and her husband, Cousin Raymond. All are, apparently, the same age or a little younger than the withered Miss Havisham and all come to see her on the same day of the year: her birthday, which also happens to be the day when the cake was set out and the clocks were stopped so many years ago; i.e. the day Miss Havisham stopped living.

Miss Havisham continues walking around the room, saying little to her guests, until the mention of a certain Matthew, whereupon she stops short.

The guests leave, and Miss Havisham once again asks that Estella and Pip play cards as she watches.

As Pip is once again allowed to explore the yard, he runs into a pale, young gentleman who challenges him to fight. Despite the young man's jumping about and expert preparation (bringing some water and explaining the rules), Pip gives him a bloody nose, a black eye, and a general whopping. They end the fight and the boy, cheerful as ever, wishes Pip a good afternoon.

At the gate, Estella tells Pip that he may kiss her if he likes. Pip kisses her on the cheek.


Pip is introduced to a number of strange characters in this chapter but, more importantly, he is given some more hints about Miss Havisham's strange lifestyle. It is clear that the decay of her and the house stem from her wedding day that none of her relatives dare to mention. Miss Havisham's relationship with her relatives -- Georgiana, Sarah Pocket, Cousin Raymond, and Camilla -- is even more loveless than her relationship with Pip. For her relatives, their visit to Miss Havisham is based on greed, hoping to please her enough to be given some of her money at her death. Miss Havisham is well aware of this, and a number of times refers to her dead body laid out as a meal for her relatives on the same table where her decaying cake now sits.

It is ironic that the loveless environment of the Satis House is representative of the higher society that Pip would like to rise to. The relationships of the house are based on money and power, while the relationship at the forge with Joe is based on mutual respect. Pip feels unnatural with how he acts with this kind of society, as is the case when he feels guilty for hitting the pale young gentleman. But he is rewarded for his violence by Estella's kiss, symbolic of society's rewarding of violent behavior. Though unclear to young Pip, the narrator is making clear that Pip's desire to enter into higher society is a decision to choose empty relationships where people are tools (or, as in Pip's case, simple walking sticks). It is also a decision to choose death and decay, as reflected in the Satis House setting. Lastly, it is an environment where Pip instinctively feels he is going against his nature.