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Great Expectations by Charles Dickens

Essay by   •  September 5, 2011  •  Essay  •  452 Words (2 Pages)  •  1,878 Views

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'Great Expectations' is a novel written by Charles Dickens and has many important characters. One of them is a very influential character named Miss Havisham. She brings the plot together and has a central position in the story. Dickens presents her in many ways: through her personality, her surroundings and her heart-breaking history. Miss Havisham is described as a mad and vengeful woman. She is a wealthy old woman who lives in a rotting mansion and wears an old wedding dress every day of her life. She is presented to the reader in her dining room, as this is the room in the whole house which has all the wedding decorations. There is a rotting cake on the table and the entire room is covered in cobwebs. This shows that she doesn't really care care about anything. She only cares about herself and what happened to her. She is not exactly a believable character, but she is certainly one of the most memorable in the book. Miss Havisham's life took a hault when her fiance, Compeyson, stood her up at the altar on their wedding day. Ever since that day, Miss Habisham's life has been distorted. She made the decision that she would never move on. As dramatic as that sounds, she never did. Since that day , she has yet to take off her wedding dress. She stops all the clocks in Satis House at twenty minutes to nine, the moment when she first learned that Compeyson was gone. She also wears only one shoe, because when she learned of his betrayal, she didn't get to put the other on. She willingly stopped her life to sulk in her own self-pity. Her only objective in life is now to take revenge on all males. She develops a deep hatred for all men. She adopts a girl named Estella and raises her to be cruel and heartless in order to break the hearts of others, just as her heart was broken. One of the victims of her scheme is Pip, who falls madly in love with Estella only to have his heart crushed. Miss Havisham and the people in her life suffer greatly because of her thirst for revenge. Miss Havisham is completely unable to see that her actions are hurtful to not only Pip but Estella. She changes at the end of the novel when she realizes that she has caused Pip's heart to break just as hers had. Rather than gaining any kind of personal revenge, she has only caused more pain. Miss Havisham begs Pip for forgiveness, emphasizing the novel's theme that bad behavior can be redeemed by contrition and sympathy.

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