Great Expectations, by Charles Dickens

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Great Expectations – Charles Dickens

‘Great expectations’ is a novel written by Charles Dickens. He was

interested in bringing about change and his novels dealt with such

topics as justice and punishment, the widening gap between the rich

and poor and so on. He believed that the divisions between the classes

had produced a diseased and unhealthy society. During the Victorian

society, women suffered many disadvantages. Women were dependent on

men, unless they were rich. Women were expected to “serve” and obey

their husbands. In this novel the main character is Ms. Havisham. Miss

Havisham is an eccentric wealthy old woman who lives in a manor house

near Pip’s village, who has isolated herself to take her revenge on

men because ‘Compeyson’, the bride groom who she is supposed to get

married left her on the day the marriage was fixed. This resulted in

Ms. Havisham’s isolation. With a kind of manic, obsessive cruelty,

Miss Havisham adopts Estella and raises her as a weapon to achieve her

own revenge on men. She has raised Estella to be the instrument of

her revenge, training her to break men’s hearts. Ms. Havisham calls on

for Pip, a little boy to play in her house. He is both the character,

whose actions make up the main plot of the novel, and the narrator,

whose thoughts and attitudes shape the reader’s perception of the

story. Pip meets Estella, the proud and haughty adopted daughter of

Miss Havisham. She delights in humiliating Pip, calling him a common

laboring boy with coarse hands. She want to make Pip fall in love with

Estella so that she can take her revenge. Ms. Havisham represents

Dickens view of woman who did not perfectly fulfil their female role

as well as the rich upper class who he saw as “diseased”. The way Ms.

Havisham speaks and also the language used by Dickens gives the reader

a clear picture of her. The language used to describe her is

exaggerated and unrealistic as this is the situation in which we find

her in. This essay will explore whether this character is really

unrealistic or whether Dickens intends to show Ms. Havisham to be

exaggerated for a certain reason.

On Pip’s first visit to Ms. Havisham’s house, ‘Satis house’, he

observes a very old house which is barred. The house is made of ‘old

brick, and dismal, and had a great many iron bars to it.’ There was a

large brewery at the side of the house and it seemed that there was no

brewing going on there for a long time. The windows are all walled up.

This gives the impression that the house has been isolated from the
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