Great Expectations Quotes

Quotes or quotations are sentences and lines taken from some literary works to show how they represent universal ideas and themes. These quotes are often quoted during the ordinary conversation and specific writings, speeches, and addresses. Charles Dicken’s Great Expectations has quotes which exhibit universality of emotions, circumstances, and themes. Some of the major quotations of Great Expectations have been analyzed below.

Quotes in Great Expectations

Quote #1

“The shape of the letters on my father’s gave me an odd idea that he was a square, stout,
dark man, with curly black hair. From the character and turn of the inscription, “Also Georgiana Wife of the Above,” I drew a childish conclusion that my mother was freckled and sickly.”

Volume-1, Chapter-1

Pip describes his perceptions about his parents after reading the epitaph on their gravestones. His idea about his father is that he was a square and a dark man with curly hair. He also thinks about his mother as a freckled and sickly lady but, at the same time, thinks that his perceptions about his parents are childish. These lines introduce that Pip is an orphan and he has different, acute observation skills.

Quote #2

“I do not recall that I felt any tenderness of conscience about Mrs. Joe when the fear of being found out was lifted off me. But I loved Joe––perhaps for no better reason in those early days than because the dear fellow let me love him––and, as to him, my inner self was not so easily composed.”

Volume-1, Chapter-6

Pip introduces his sister Mrs. Joe Gargery and her husband, Mr. Joe Gargery. He says that he does not remember his sister’s love, but he remembers Mr. Joe’s kindness toward him. As Joe genuinely loves him, Pip considers him as his friend. He says that he could not stay silent when Joe was present with him, as they used to talk for hours as friends. These lines show that in spite of hardships at home, Pip had someone who cared for him.

Quote #3

“Miss Havisham beckoned her to come close, and took up a jewel from the table, and tried its effect upon her fair young bosom and against her pretty brown hair. “Your own, one day, my dear, and you will use it well. Let me see you play cards with this boy.”

Volume-1, Chapter-8

Pip starts going to Miss Havisham’s place and meets a beautiful girl, Estella. Though quite young, he falls in love with her instantly. These lines foreshadow how Miss Havisham has planned to make him fall in love with Estella. She has given her a jewel to wear in her hair and calls treats her as her daughter. Then she asks Estella to play cards with Pip to attract him.

Quote #4

“The felicitous idea occurred to me a morning or two later when I woke, that the best step I could take towards making myself uncommon was to get out of Biddy everything she knew.”

Volume-1, Chapter-11

Pip expresses his desire to read or gain more knowledge, and to make Biddy teach him everything she knew. He also understands that learning everything will make him “uncommon.” This shows that Pip is very clever and intelligent and wants to educate himself in spite of his poor conditions.

Quote #5

“I promised myself that I would do something one of these days, and formed a plan in outline for bestowing a dinner of roast beef and plum pudding, a pint of ale, and a gallon of condescension upon everybody in the village.”

Volume-1, Chapter 19

Pip seems quite happy after he inherits some money. He wants to raise his social status. Therefore, he wants to throw a good dinner for the villagers. These words show that he becomes reckless and doesn’t value money like before. Though he comes from a poor background, he starts to pretend like a rich person.

Quote #6

“All other swindlers upon earth are nothing to the selfswindlers, and with such pretences did I cheat myself. Surely a curious thing.”

Volume-2, Chapter-9

After the realization of his new social status, Pip spending becomes out of control. He begins to understand that a person can deceive himself better than others. He feels he is cheating himself by comparing his status with Miss Havisham. Though a little later, Pip, reflects these lines to analyze his choices and life.

Quote #7

“We spent as much money as we could, and got as little for it as people could make up their minds to give us. We were always more or less miserable, and most of our acquaintance were in the same condition.”

Volume-2, Chapter-14

Pip becomes reckless and begins to overspend after receiving money from some mysterious source. He also falls into debt. He wants to change his status by bargaining during purchases. He also reflects his past as they were poor and that their relations and friends were also in the same condition. These lines show how money has transformed his nature and thinking.

Quote #8

“But, sharpest and deepest pain of all––it was for the convict, guilty of I knew not what crimes, and liable to be taken out of those rooms where I sat thinking, and hanged at the Old Bailey door, that I had deserted Joe.”

Volume-2, Chapter-20

Pip feels guilty for leaving Joe and mistreating him. He regrets allowing himself to be trained as a gentleman by Miss Havisham. When he learns that the actual benefactor was a convict, he had once helped, his pain intensifies. As Pip recalls the past and feels the pain of rejecting those who loved him the most, he feels that he is worthy of punishment for leaving Joe.

Quote #9

“I want,” she said, “to pursue that subject you mentioned to me when you were last here, and to show you that I am not all stone. But perhaps you can never believe, now, that there is anything human in my heart?”

Volume-3, Chapter-10.

Miss Havisham shows her eagerness to help Pip after receiving a note from Mr. Jaggers. She wants him to offer more money and is hesitant while talking to him. Miss Havisham tells him that she is not a stone-hearted person and that she wants him to understand with one more act of kindness.

Quote #10

“And could I look upon her without compassion, seeing her punishment in the ruin she was, in her profound unfitness for this earth on which she was placed, in the vanity of sorrow which had become a master mania, like the vanity of penitence, the vanity of remorse, the vanity of unworthiness, and other monstrous vanities that have been curses in this world?”

Volume-3, Chapter-10

Miss Havisham is feeling remorse over what she has done by turning Estelle like her, prideful in her youth. Now Pip looks at her with sympathy. He sees that she is already punished by fate for actions, though it was for good intentions. He feels that she has become a victim of the curses of vanities that exist in the world and that those vanities have destroyed her.