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A character study of Miss.Havisham in Great Expectations.

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Introduction

Even before we meet Miss.Havisham Dickens uses the house to create an impression of her. The house is described as "old brick, dismal and had great many iron bars to it" which reflects that Miss.Havisham is old and rather depressed. The manor house is described as being "barred" many times, suggesting that Miss.Havisham is blocking everyone from entering the premises, she does not want human contact. The house had several names like, "Manor House" and "Satis House". Satis is Latin for 'enough' suggesting that whoever lived there before had everything they needed and wanted nothing else. The word 'Manor' connotes that the house may be large and important. This helps us understand that she was wealthy, important, powerful and well respected. "The great front entrance had two chains across it..." shows that Miss.Havisham is blocking any light from seeping into the house. Dickens uses a lot of words related to the dark. "No glimpse of daylight" again illustrates that all natural light was barred from the house, the only light would have been from a "candle burning". The word candle is used many times, suggesting that the only form of light used in the house was by candle. The brightness of daylight connotes a cheerful, happy life, where as darkness connotes misery and loneliness which reflects Miss. ...read more.

Middle

It is puzzling that the first thing she says to the young boy is about her broken heart which must be very frightening for a young child like Pip. Miss Havisham is "tired" and therefore wants an amusing distraction- she asks him to play because she has a "sick fancy". "Are you sullen and obstinate?" This is unpleasant and illustrates that she does not like children and does not care for Pip. "I stopped, fearing I might say too much". This implies that she makes him feel nervous and Pip is scared of her. "So new to him". Miss Havisham mutters quietly to herself but it is aimed at Estella. Miss Havisham is in a world of her own- she seems a bit distracted. This creates a mysterious atmosphere. Pip thinks that he over heard Miss Havisham say, "Well? You can break his heart" to Estella. She did say this but Pip thinks it is a cruel, nasty, odd thing to say and does not believe that she would say such a thing. Miss Havisham is testing the power to break men's heart, which is the purpose of Estella's training. It is only a social experiment to her. ...read more.

Conclusion

After being jilted, her life has turned "sour" and bitter just like the beer. Miss Havisham has become a "recluse" just like the brewery has been "deserted" and left alone. Her "better days" were before the planned marriage. The word "rank" is also repeated, rank means sick and is parallel to Miss Havisham's life. The garden has become twisted and tangled with weeds just like Miss Havisham's life has become twisted in a bad way. She has tried to twist other human beings just like the weeds become tangled with others. Pip's vision is of Miss Havisham hanging in a "low nook of the building". This shows what an impact Miss Havisham has made on his imagination. She has disturbed and frightened his sensitive nature. The word "terror" is repeated which captures his fear, fear of the vision and even greater fear when the vision vanishes. Pip's vision of Miss Havisham hanging dead shows how he sees her- as a cold, manipulative person not a warm living human being. In chapter eight Miss Havisham seems likes a manipulative, harsh, cruel person. Her whole outlook in life has been distorted-to hate men. She is bitter and cruel in the way she plays games with and teases Pip and Estella for pleasure. Since being jilted, she has led a cold, mechanical life in which real human feelings have been stunted. She has remained unloved and unloving. ...read more.

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