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Summary Chapter 16



Pip at first fears people will suspect him. However, as he hears it discussed and learns the details, he begins to view the circumstances differently.

Joe had been at The Jolly Bargemen from 8:15 p.m – 9:45 p.m. A farm laborer had seen Mrs. Joe a little before nine. Joe got home at 9:55 p.m. and found her struck down. He had called for help. The kitchen wasn’t in disarray and nothing was stolen. She had been attacked from behind with a convict’s leg cuff. It had been filed down, but that had happened a while ago. It couldn’t have been the recent escapees.

Pip believes the cuff belonged to his convict, but he doesn’t think that man is to blame. Instead, he thinks either Orlick or the strange man who had given him the shilling managed to get ahold of it and used it.

Though Orlick had quarreled with Pip’s sister, he had quarreled with many people and never did anything that violent. He had been seen in town, and his whereabouts could be accounted for.

Pip wonders if he shouldn’t tell Joe about what had happened years ago with the convict, but he decides against it. He has kept the secret for so long, it is hard to tell it. He fears he’ll lose Joe if he reveals it, and he fears Joe may not believe him anyway. He vows to tell if he ever sees any way it could lead to the arrest of the attacker.

The constable and his men fail to catch the culprit. They suspect Joe.

Pip’s sister survives. Her vision, hearing, memory, and speech are affected. She improves to some degree but is never fully restored. She tries to communicate by drawing on a slate. Since she is illiterate, she draws symbols. Pip has more luck in figuring out what she is trying to say.

Her temper and patience is much improved. Her limbs begin to tremble, and sometimes she falls into depressions.

Biddy comes to take care of her after Mr. Wopsle’s great aunt dies. Joe returns to his life and appreciates the peace of it. Biddy figures out a symbol that Mrs. Joe keeps drawing that has eluded Pip in its meaning. Biddy realizes that Mrs. Joe wants to see Orlick.

Pip expects his sister to accuse Orlick, but instead she wants to be friends with him. Everyone is confused by this, especially Orlick, but he visits her every day. 

Charles Dickens