Charles Dickens at 200

"So, I called myself Pip"

Great Expectations

Great Expectations introduced the narrator "Pip" and his story to the world, as well as other memorable characters including Joe Gargery the blacksmith, Abel Magwitch, Miss Havisham, and Estella. Dickens' twelfth novel was first published in 36 weekly parts in All the Year Round, beginning on December 1, 1860. As in many of Dickens' serialized novels, most chapters end with a suspenseful event, or "cliffhanger," designed to maintain the readers' interest so they would buy the next installment. In the February 2, 1861 issue of All the Year Round, chapter XVII concerns Pip's apprenticeship with Joe Gargery. The chapter concludes:

If my time [apprenticeship] had run out, it would have left me still at the height of my perplexities, I dare say. It never did run out, however, but was brought to a premature end, as I proceed to relate.

Readers of the novel had to wait one week in order to buy the February 9th issue and read the next chapter, in which the lawyer Jaggers comes to Joe Gargery's home and announces that Pip should be released from his apprenticeship. Jaggers says that Pip has "great expectations ... and will come into a handsome property," and therefore should be properly brought up elsewhere, as a gentleman.

All the Year Round: A Weekly Journal.
Conducted by Charles Dickens. Volume 4



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