Great Expectations by Charles Dickens
Great expectations is a book that is set in Victorian Britain, which
tells us the story of a boy named pip who goes from being poor and
working with his brother in-law as a blacksmith, to learning how to be
a gentleman in London. The story focuses on how pip becomes the focus
of a strange, eccentric woman called Miss Havisham, who is using her
adopted daughter Estella to break Pips heart.
Although the stories main character is pip I have decided to write
this essay on Miss Havisham and Estella. The reason for that I have
chosen these characters is because I feel that they have a lot of
reasons why we should and should not feel sympathy for them.
An interpretation of the word sympathy is 'to feel pity or sorrow for
another'. I feel that because Miss Havisham and Estella have such
different personalities I will be able to comment on them much easier
than any other characters.
During the course of the essay I also will be focussing on the
Language used in the book and how this helps to describe the
characters, the historical background of the book and its connection
with the characters, and the Victorian idea of what a gentlemen
Miss Havisham is a very lonely and bitter women, she hates all men and
is very rich.
The reason that she hates all men is because she was jilted by her
fiancée on her wedding day. Because she is in denial about being left
by her future husband she has not moved a thing since that day,
everything in her house has been kept exactly as it was, she is still
in her Wedding dress, her wedding decorations are still up, and all
the clocks have been stopped at the exact time that she found out she
would not be getting married, we know that the clocks have all stopped
because pips says:
"I took note of the surrounding objects in detail, and saw that her
watch had stopped at twenty minutes to nine, and that a clock in the
room had stopped at twenty to nine."
The fact that Miss Havisham cannot move forwards and carry on with her
life is my first reason for why we may be able to feel sympathy for
When Pip first sees Miss Havisham he says:
"I saw the bride within the bridal dress had withered like the dress,
and like the flowers had no brightness left but the brightness of her
This can paint I very vivid picture in the head of the reader and
helps give us a glimpse into what she must be feeling. Her despair at
being jilted has been reflected on the way that she is dressed and
that fact that she has spent many years in the same dress waiting for
her fiancée to come back can make us feel pity and compassion for her.
In the Victorian times, it was common that a women should be married,
especially a women with a high status such as Miss Havisham. Because