Great Expectations: Chapter 26 Summary and Commentary

Jaggers asks Pip to come to dinner with him at his house. Pip accepts this invitation and sees how Jaggers is at his house, too. This chapter is used as a gateway for Dickens to introduce Molly, his housekeeper.

Jaggers invites Pip over to his house for dinner. Pip goes and learns a bunch of information about Jaggers in this chapter. He learns that Jaggers is controlling and needs to be in charge. Although it is his dinner party, he sees it as though he did all the cooking and preparing even though he did not.

Molly comes into play when Jaggers calls her into the dining room to show her off. Jaggers tells her to show her wrists to everyone at the table, and of course, she does this hesitantly for it was Jaggers who asked her. Molly’s wrists are very beat up and rugged. Jaggers feels the power of having his guests in awe of her wrists.

Commentary: In chapter 26, Jaggers is identified more clearly and his character is shown more in depth. The body language Jaggers shows in this chapter portrays the true nature of his being. Since Jaggers feels like he did the cooking directly even though he did not, he seems a bit like Pumblechook, taking credit for other peoples’ work. He never directly claims this, but insists on where the food and drinks are when going around the table. Molly’s wrists are very demented so they foreshadow that she has the power to do many things, such as murder by strangulation out of the heat of passion for a hypothetical example. Jaggers is the center of this chapter with his now unlocked personality and controlling nature. Molly is a side-plot used to foreshadow the importance of information to the readers.

To read more about Pip and his exciting adventures on becoming a gentleman, read the book or watch the movie. I do highly recommend this book because some parts actually have humor (hence Charles Dickinson’s writing style). Like in one part of the book where the mean old lady who bosses Pip around catches on fire by random occurrence and starts running around like a flame dance.

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