• Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month
  1. 1
  2. 2
  3. 3
  4. 4
  5. 5
  6. 6
  7. 7
  8. 8
  9. 9
  10. 10
  11. 11

Great Expectations - A key theme in the novel is that of pride and revenge - What is the outcome of Miss Havisham's desire for revenge?

Extracts from this document...


Great Expectations: A key theme in the novel is that of pride and revenge. What is the outcome of Miss Havisham's desire for revenge? Charles John Huffam Dickens. An English novelist and one of the most popular writers in the history of literature. Dickens combined storytelling, humour and irony with sharp social criticism of people and places, both real and imagined. Dickens was born February 7th 1812, in Portsmouth. He spent most of his childhood in London and Kent, both of which appear frequently in his novels. He started school at the age of nine, but his education was sadly ended when his father, an amiable but careless minor civil servant, was imprisoned for debt in 1824. Dickens was then forced to support himself by working in a shoe-polish factory. It was then he grew a sense humiliation and abandonment, one, which would haunt him for the rest of his life. As you can see so far, Dickens has had quite a traumatic life, this may be the reason for his ambitions to become a success. He later described this experience, only slightly altered, in his novel David Copperfield (1849-1850). From 1824 to 1826, Dickens attended school. However, he was mostly self-educated. His favourite books were those by such great 18th-century novelists as Henry Fielding and Tobias Smollett, and their influence can be noticed in Dickens's own novels. In 1827 Dickens took a job as a legal clerk. After learning shorthand writing, he began working as a reporter in the courts and at Parliament, perhaps his job helped him develop the power of precise description, this probably aided him when writing as it made his creative writing so remarkable and detailed. In December 1833 Dickens published the first of a series of original descriptive sketches of daily life in London. A London publisher commissioned a volume of similar sketches to accompany illustrations by the celebrated artist George Cruikshank. ...read more.


It is these types actions carried out by Miss Havisham that add to her whole evil character. Miss Havisham is using Estella because she wants revenge against all of the male sex because she feels they are inferior, selfish and evil. This is ironic as everything she hates and despises about males; best describes her as a person, and type of character. This is because when she was younger, she was left standing at the altar by her husband to be. This is probably were a lot of her hatred and her desires for revenge started; she hates the male sex probably because her heart was broken. However if her heart was broken this shows she was once in love and sensitive, adding another side to her complex character. This incident however changed her into a bitter woman, the Miss Havisham we are all familiar with now. " We went into the house by a side door - the great front entrance had two chains across it outside- and the first thing I noticed was, that the passages were all dark, and that she had left a candle burning there. She took it up, and went through more passages, and up a staircase, and still it was all dark, and only the candle lighted us." This gives us the first impression that Miss Havisham may have been a vampire? Or a witch? The way she lives in total darkness and seclusion. They entered into a room in which Miss Havisham was permanently situated "I entered, therefore, and found myself in a pretty large room, well lighted with wax candles. No glimpse of daylight was to be seen it. It was a dressing room, as I supposed from the furniture, though much of it was of forms and uses unknown to me." Here we see further evidence that she is indeed a very strange woman, with no natural light in the room this can again further suggest, could she be a vampire or something else along those lines, this adds mystery and intrigue, it also asks questions, why is she secluded to the world? ...read more.


But also the people closest to him like Joe become distant due to the social divisions. Dickens is showing that social divides are stupid, as everyone is the same. If a country boy can become a gentleman, Dickens shows that this divide is not because of personality but purely down to ignorance. However, Miss Havisham finally realises what she has done and apologises for the way she has been in the past and how she brought up Estella. As Pip leaves the room, he accidentally knocks over a candle and her room goes up in flames, Pip tries to save her but he is unsuccessful and she dies. This refers back to what Pip saw that first time he was at Miss Havisham's house, he saw a figure in the brewery yard, which looked like Miss Havisham hanging there. "I turned my eyes - a little dimmed by looking up at the frosty light - towards a great wooden beam in a low nook of the building near me on my right hand side, I saw a figure hanging there by the neck. A figure all in yellow white, but with one shoe to the feet; and it hung so; that I could see that the faded trimmings of the dress were like earthy paper, and that the face was of Miss Havisham's." This may signify that Pip had an early vision that Miss Havisham would have a painful slow death, this did happen, her death started when she was jilted at the alter and her desire for revenge. Overall you could say that her desire for revenge finally caught up with her, and it was her own fault for wishing bad fortune on other people. Her desire for revenge was one of the reason Pip came back to the house, if she was not so fuelled with revenge through out her life, she may of endured a slightly more peaceful death. I feel that her desire for revenge was met with what she rightfully deserved accident or not. 10 1 ...read more.

The above preview is unformatted text

This student written piece of work is one of many that can be found in our GCSE Great Expectations section.

Found what you're looking for?

  • Start learning 29% faster today
  • 150,000+ documents available
  • Just £6.99 a month

Not the one? Search for your essay title...
  • Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

See related essaysSee related essays

Related GCSE Great Expectations essays

  1. Great Expectations- Miss Havisham

    only serve you, Pip' this imploring tone shows that Miss Havisham wants to help Pip as she has learnt how to love and is now craving for forgiveness in order to be accepted and atone the past, therefore is seen letting go and moving on.

  2. How does Dickens present the character of Miss Havisham in Great Expectations?

    kept all her emotions to her self barring herself from the outside world. The word 'rustly' makes me feel as if Dickens is trying to say that time has passed and everything has been left the to depend on itself, and no one ever tried to help Miss Havisham and

  1. How does Dickens present childhood in Great Expectations?

    he acts, "and deeply revolving that I was a common labouring-boy; that my hands were coarse; that my boots were thick; that I had fallen into a despicable habit of calling knaves Jacks; that I was much more ignorant than I had considered myself last night, and generally that I was in a low-lived bad way."

  2. Miss Havisham

    Satis house, where Miss Havisham lives, is seen as gothic and strange. The house had all 'the windows walled up' symbolising that Miss Havisham is trapping herself from reality. Dickens also highlights her frailty as if the natural light could 'struck her to dust' suggesting that she's almost vampiric or supernatural, adding to the Victorian audiences fascination.

  1. Charles Dickens's writing techniques in Great Expectations.

    Hence, Miss Havisham lived through Estella in order to hurt as many men as possible. In Great Expectations, the male character, by the name of Abel Magwitch, also lives his life through someone else. The character he lives his life through is Pip.

  2. Examine how Dickens shoes that appearances can be deceptive in Great Expectations

    Dickens wants to emphasize the fact that the legal system of the time did not allow for reform. An obviously reformed character, Magwitch is still sentenced to death for returning to Britain after exile, whereas Dickens believes that the legal system should take change for the better into account.

  1. Great Expectations - Theme of class

    Similarly to Pip, Joe also finds literacy arduous. When reading Pip's letter, Joe can barely identify two letters: 'J' and 'O'. We also see this when Joe tells Pip that he 'accidentally held his prayer book upside down.' From these examples, we can deduce that Pips family is uneducated.

  2. Analysing and explaining Charles Dickens' Great Expectations; Chapter 1.

    The sound effects were used in different ways in different parts of the film. In Leans the bird (owl), constantly whistled on with out any change from the beginning to the end of the scene and didn't seem to bother the audience at all.

  • Over 160,000 pieces
    of student written work
  • Annotated by
    experienced teachers
  • Ideas and feedback to
    improve your own work