The visits of Jem to Mrs. Dubose in To Kill A Mockingbird and the visits of Pip to Ms.Havisham in Great Expectations
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Mockingbird with the visits of Pip to Miss Havisham in Great
This essay is regarding the many similarities and differences found
when comparing the scenes of Jem's visits to Mrs Dubose inTo Kill A
Mockingbird and Pip's visit to see Miss Havisham in Great
Both Jem and Pip have been forced to go and visit the two old women.
This is because Jem had 'cut the tops of every camellia bush Mrs
Dubose owned' and Pip was forced by those who had brought him 'up by
hand', especially his sister. However, Pip was very glad to have
arrived at Miss Havisham's, probably to get away from his sister, but
on the other hand Jem didn't want to visit Mrs Dubose because he had
to read to her for a month and because her house is 'dark and creepy'
from all of the 'shadows and things on the ceiling'. The other reason
for Jem visiting Mrs Dubose was because Atticus, Jem and Scout's
father, wanted Jem to help Mrs Dubose, learn from his experience and
develop humanity. In contrast to this, Mr Pumblechook and Pip's sister
send Pip to Miss Havisham for her to 'favour' him and hand over some
of her 'fortune' to Pip.
Miss Havisham is a well-known lady in her region as 'everyone miles
around' had heard of her 'up town' as she 'led a life of seclusion'
and was an 'immensely grim and rich lady' who lived in a 'large dismal
house, barricaded against robbers'. Similarly, Mrs Dubose is well
known in Maycomb as it was almost 'impossible to go to town without
passing her house'. Mrs Dubose would always sit in her wheelchair on
her porch gazing and interrogated the behaviour of Jem and Scout.
Miss Havisham is a quarter of an hour away from Pip's home. She is
situated by a 'large brewery' where 'no brewing was going on in it'.
On the other hand, Mrs Dubose is situated near to the 'business
section' of an 'old town' called Maycomb, 'two doors up the street'
from where Jem lives. This shows that Miss Havisham is isolated,
whereas Mrs Dubose is living close to many people in a community.
Miss Havisham's house was of 'old brick' and had 'many iron bars to
it. Some of the windows had been 'walled up' but those that remained
were 'rustily barred'. Furthermore, the courtyard in the front was
also barred. This gives an impression that Miss Havisham is locked up
n isolation. Likewise, Mrs Dubose had a front yard that had many
camellia bushes. In addition, she also had had a front porch.
Miss Havisham's courtyard was 'paved and clean' but grass was 'growing
in every crevice', and the brewery edifice that stood open had a
'little lane of communication' with the courtyard.
From the outside, there was also an initial reluctance to go into the
house because of the 'shrill' and 'howling' noises made by the wind
around Miss Havisham's house and because of the 'great front entrance'
that had 'two chains across it outside' and 'all was dark', so this
made Pip a little unwilling to enter. In To Kill A Mockingbird, Jem
and Scout climbed the 'steep front steps', which shows that it was
hard and tiring to mount, which makes it feel like a lot of effort was
On Pip's first visit to the 'Enough House' he was seen to by Miss
Havisham's attendant, Estella. Although she was of the same age, she
seemed much older than Pip, was 'beautiful and self-possessed' and
also 'scornful' to Pip. Estella was also very rude to Pip as she
addressed him rudely, criticised his 'coarse hands' and 'thick boots'.
She treated him like he was a 'dog in disgrace'. She made him feel
'humiliated, hurt, spurned, offended, angry' and sorry. Unlike Scout
who has always looked out for Jem and has been much more sensible at
times, like when she told Jem to 'Go'n back to bed' when he wants to
go back and retrieve his pants from the Radley's fence. Scout is a
harmless, kind and polite young girl, whereas Estella is the exact
opposite. This shows that Pip is alone whereas Jem has some moral
In her 'creepy' house, Mrs Dubose lay 'under a pile of quilts'. Unlike
Miss Havisham, who was dressed immaculately but still the 'strangest
lady' Pip ever saw. She was covered with 'rich materials' that were
'all of white'. She had a 'long white veil dependant form her hair'
and wore 'some bright jewels' that 'sparkled on her neck'. However,
her clothes were still 'scattered about' as she had 'not quite
finished' dressing, as she only had one shoe on, some 'lace for her
bosom' and gloves still 'confusedly heaped about' on the
looking-glass. Dissimilar to Miss Havisham, Mrs Dubose was just
'horrible'. Her face was 'the colour of a dirty pillowcase' and the
corners of her mouth 'glistened' with 'cords of saliva', which creates
an impression of slime and wetness, and then when it 'inched like
glaciers' it gives a feeling that Mrs Dubose is cold and solid. There
is also a comparison here between the two women. Mrs Dubose is
portrayed to be poor, whereas Miss Havisham is visualised to be very
rich and even though she has changed, the jewels are still
immaculately 'bright' and shiny on her, which shows that she hasn't
faded away as much as Mrs Dubose.
From time to time, her tongue would 'undulate faintly' as her mouth
seemed to have a 'private existence of its own'. This makes it sound
like Mrs Dubose is mentally lost, as she can't control herself any
longer seeing that she is near to her death. Equally, when Miss
Havisham was inspected closer, Pip saw that everything that was white
had now 'lost its lustre' and was 'faded and yellow'. This gives a
feeling old age, staleness and rotting. Miss Havisham had 'withered
like the dress' and flowers, had 'shrunk to skin and bone' and no
longer had any 'brightness left but the brightness of her sunken
eyes'. She was like a 'waxwork and skeleton'. The impression created
here is of Ms Havisham being very thin like a 'skeleton', which is
associated with death and decay where the one thing that could be seen
are her eyes because the rest of her body has faded away.
Pip's first sight of Miss Havisham was in her dressing room. It was a
very large room 'lighted with was candles' there was a 'draped' table
with a 'gilded looking-glass' which was 'made out' to be a 'fine
lady's dressing table', whereas Scout and Jem were confronted with an
'oppressive odour' and at the corner of the room was a brass bed where
Mrs Dubose lay looking vulnerable. Again, the comparison between Miss
Havisham and Mrs Dubose's wealth is seen. There was also a
'marble-topped washstand' by her bed. On it were a glass, a 'red ear
syringe', cotton and a 'steel' alarm clock.
The room was also described to be dark because of the odour that was
like 'rain-rotted grey' houses where there are 'coal-oil lamps'. This
gives a mental image of a cold and gloomy room. Like wise, Miss
Havisham's 'passages were all dark' and there wasn't a 'glimpse of
daylight' to be seen in her dressing room.
One main similarity in both of the rooms is the dirtiness. Mrs Dubose
has a 'soot-stained mantelpiece' and Miss Havisham's 'heavily
overhung' cobwebs were 'covered with dust and mould'. There seemed to
be growing 'black fungus' and 'speckled-legged spiders with 'blotchy
bodies' and mice spread about. This tells the reader that the two
women don't value hygiene as they both live in filth.
Once inside the dressing room, Pip is automatically treated as a
little boy as Miss Havisham doesn't greet him welcomingly. Immediately
she tells Pip to 'come close'. She also seems very dismissive and
'impatient' and also wants 'diversion' so 'directed' Pip to 'play'.
It soon becomes obvious what Miss Havisham's plan is because she tells
Estella that she can still break Pip's heart even if he is a 'common
labouring boy'. However, unlike Mrs Dubose, Miss Havisham's never
insulting. On many occasions Mrs Dubose was 'vicious' as she 'shot'
Scout and Jem many messages about their family. They had both become
'almost accustomed' to hearing insults aimed at Atticus, as Mrs Dubose
'attack was only routine'. Similarly, when Jem visited her, her
insults were still common because one of the first things that Mrs
Dubose said was abusive towards Jem's 'dirty little sister'.
In addition, Mrs Dubose was very quick to catch up on Jem's reading
mistakes. She would 'catch him and make him spell' it out to her.
Similarly, both of the boys, Jem and Pip, were frightened when they
had arrived at the house they were visiting but were both reluctant to
admit it. On Jem's first visit, he started off defending his sister by
telling Mrs Dubose that his 'sister ain't dirty' and then said
'quietly' 'I ain't scared of you', although Scout 'noticed his knees
shaking'. Likewise, after Pip was asked whether he was 'afraid of a
woman who had never seen the sun' since he was born, Pip was not
fearful of telling the 'enormous lie', so he answered 'no'.
To Kill A Mockingbird and Great Expectations both rely on time, as it
is a very important factor for both Mrs Dubose and Miss Havisham. Pip
could see that all the clocks in Miss Havisham's house were stopped at
twenty to nine, and like the clocks, 'everything in the room had
stopped a long time ago', yet Mrs Dubose yearned for time to go faster
as she set her alarm clock 'a few minutes later everyday'. This shows
that Mrs Dubose is brave, in contrast to Miss Havisham who is a
coward. I think this because Mrs Dubose has 'real courage' as she was
'licked' before she began and saw it 'through no matter what' unlike
Miss Havisham 'who has never seen the sun' for many years just because
she was stood up at her wedding a long time ago. She is a coward as
she is scared to go out into the real world and try to trust other men
again. Miss Havisham has a negative attitude, yet Mrs Dubose is so
positive even though she is very near to her death.
The two novels are very much associated with death and dying. Mrs
Dubose has a syringe by her washstand and she is like a prisoner as
she can only travel onto her porch in her wheelchair and spends 'most
of each day in bed' and everyday at certain times she would have 'one
of her fits'. Her life was basically over, also like Miss Havisham's.
Miss Havisham's clocks had stopped; she had lost a 'rounded figure of
a young woman' and is living in filth. She has imprisoned herself from
the rest of the world and doesn't want to be happy, but wants to
remain in sorrow. A big similarity is seen here as Miss Havisham
chooses not to see the sun, whereas Mrs Dubose has no choice. This
shows that Miss Havisham is arrogant as she can go out and explore but
is a coward, so chooses not to, unlike Mrs Dubose who can't go out
because of her cancer.
Another important point is that both of the women have spread their
misery. However, Miss Havisham intended for this to happen whereas Mrs
Dubose probably didn't want Jem to go through unhappiness. The two
women both have pain; one by a man and similarly Mrs Dubose's pain
could be for her dead husband but also from her cancer.
Miss Havisham has her way of getting her revenge on mankind by
employing Pip to come to her house so that Estella can 'break his
heart' when he falls in love with her. Miss Havisham does this because
her heart was 'broken' by her ex- lover so she wants Pip's heart to be
treated just the same as hers. Nonetheless, Miss Havisham and Mrs
Dubose aren't quite the same because even though Miss Havisham feeds
Pip 'bread, meat and a little mug of beer', she intends in hurting him
emotionally whereas Mrs Dubose later gives Atticus a candy box which
inside, 'surrounded by wads of damp cotton, was a white, waxy, perfect
camellia' to give to Jem. This shows that in the end Mrs Dubose did
give a small but meaningful and loving reward.
The difference in wealth and communities is very much seen in the
scenes where the women are visited as Mrs Dubose lives in a
neighbourhood where people such as Atticus are supportive of her and
show her respect by trying to help her for nothing in return. On the
other hand, Miss Havisham had to pay for Pip to have 'diversion', so
there was probably no one to help distract her, or to come to 'play'
and perhaps fall in love with Estella for free.
Both novels are set at different times with To Kill A Mockingbird
located in the southern parts of the United States of America, and
Great Expectations in England. This links to the language used in the
novels as To Kill A Mockingbird has a major influence from the
'coloured folks' such as the word 'yawl', where as Great Expectations
is written much more formally.
After looking at the similarities and differences, I think that the
major points made were the treatment towards Jem by Mrs Dubose and Pip
by Miss Havisham, including Estella, the resemblance and comparisons
regarding time and also their spread of misery.
I strongly believe that these three points are the most important as
they show why Mrs Dubose and Miss Havisham are doing what they are
doing, living how they are living and what they are going through.