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Great Expectations - Miss Havisham and Abel Magwitch are Living through Others

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Great Expectations - Miss Havisham and Abel Magwitch are Living through Others


In the work Great Expectations, by Charles Dickens, two characters
live their lives through someone else. Miss Havisham and Abel Magwitch
are both elderly and though someone else are able to obtain their
goals that they are not able to complete themselves. Abel Magwitch
lives his life through the protagonist Pip while Miss Havisham lives
her life through the character Estella. Miss Havisham is an aged,
mysterious lady who has much anger. This anger derives from her
fiancée leaving the day of the wedding. This is the moment when she
"stopped living" and decides to turn to a life of making other men
miserable, just as her ex-fiancée had made her unhappy. However, Miss
Havisham is too old to be able to hurt other men, so she decides to
raise a child. Miss Havisham put Estella in such an environment where
all Estella's compassionate feelings were erased and made very dull.
Miss Havisham's influence also made Estella feel no remorse for those
she hurt. Estella tells Miss Havisham, "If you had brought up your
adopted daughter wholly in the dark confinement of these rooms, and
had never let her know that there was such a thing as the daylight…
and then, for a purpose, had wanted her to understand the daylight and
know all about it, you would have been disappointed and angry?" (307).
When Estella refers to the light and the dark she is referring to the
light as love and compassion and the dark as the cruelty and the sense
of a "stone heart." Estella, even as a young woman, cannot see or feel
love because Miss Havisham has manipulated her to be just as she
wanted, relentless and cold. Moreover, this personality allows Estella
to ...


... middle of paper ...


.... When fighting with Miss Havisham, Estella says, "Only a little
tired of myself." (305). It is later obvious that Estella is tired of
not being happy and not being able to have any true feelings. Even
though Estella and Pip were given everything they ever wanted, neither
of them got fulfillment and true love from their guardians and both
ended up being very melancholy. Dickens' point is to show the reader
that people need more then just materialistic things to live and be
happy; they need love and need to be able to feel compassion and love.
This book can be considered a commentary on how the social system is
misjudged because the people of the higher lifestyles are not
necessarily happy even though they have most material things. This
idea is important because it shows what is really needed to be happy
and that is love and being able to be compassionate.


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