The novel Great Expectations by Charles Dickens is one of unrequited love and the desperation for elitism for Pip, a poor orphan boy. Pip is starstruck by Estella, the haughty and cruel, even violent, “daughter” of a rich and eccentric elderly woman named Miss Havisham. Miss Havisham controls and teaches Estella instructions to break the hearts of men as her own personal vendetta against all men after her love for a man is unrequited. Estella has no feelings and even admits that she has “… not bestowed [her] tenderness anywhere” (251). Despite her cruel attitude and disinterest in him, she serves as the most significant beacon in Pip’s life in attaining his goal of becoming a gentleman and breaking free from his poor and lowly life. With Miss Havisham’s control upon her, Estella’s detached emotionless nature and cold arrogance shine through and show how she pilots Pip’s desperation in attempting to reach her and his change in becoming an arrogant gentleman.
Firstly, a recognizable characteristic of Estella is her dispassionate nature. Miss Havisham and Estella are polar opposites. Estella’s “mother” loves her in an eccentric way, lavishing her with fondness and sweet murmurings of “[b]reak their hearts, my pride and hope, break their hearts and have no mercy!” (100). Their moods are so “contradictory of one another,” Pip is left “puzzled [of] what to say or do” (100). Since they feel opposite emotions and Estella cannot feel love, for she has “never bestowed… tenderness anywhere,” and coldly rejects Pip’s feelings for her, she may feel absolutely nothing but the desire to hurt (251). After treating Pip so condescendingly when giving him food, she looks at Pip “with a quick delight in having been the cause of [the...
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...use she is common (132). Like him, Biddy has unrequited adoration, but for Pip himself. Through this, Estella’s importance shines and shows how important she is to Pip. Ultimately, the only reason Pip desires to be a gentleman is “on her account” (136).
Pip “[loves] her against reason… against happiness, [and] against all discouragement,” despite her being heartless and to “have no heart,” Estella is the most influential person in Pip’s life (246 and 251). Without her superiority and emotional detachment, Pip will not strive in his passionate desperation to attain her. Despite, not having human feelings such as love and compassion, Pip “[loves] her simply because [he] found her irresistible” and declares passionately to be “a part of [his] existence…” (245). His bildungsroman is based on his unrequited love for her, for there will no Pip if there is no Estella.
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