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In Great Expectations, Is Miss Havisham crazy and/or evil?

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Introduction

Miss Havisham-GCSE Assignment The mad,eccentric and incredibly peculiar Miss Havisham,a wealthy dowager who lives in an old, rotting mansion secluded from the outside world is certainly one of the most memorable creations in the book Great Expectations written by Charles Dickens. From the first introductory scene on encountering Miss Havisham's character it is immediately clear that she is supposed to leave a lasting impression on the reader. Dickens uses a vast variety of imagery and word choice to describe the appearance of the house in which Miss Havisham lives . Satis house,as it was called, emits an ominous presence with its old brick walled up windows and many iron bars.This gives the sense that outsiders where not entirely welcome and rarely visited. The room in which she sat was vividly described as dark with "no glimpse of daylight.. to be seen" and furnished with many old and unrecognisable objects .The vivid setting is emphasised by the young boy,Pip, who narrates this entire experience and describes Miss Havisham at first as "the strangest lady I have ever seen or shall ever see.". The cause or her peculiarity? A single, tragic event which was to take over Miss Havishams life for ever.Her life is defined by the jilting of her fianc�e and lover Compeyson and from that moment forth her world has been one based around heartbreak and betrayel thus, casting herself away from the realms of reality. ...read more.

Middle

However, eventually Miss Havisham is once again betrayed by her only love and daughter, Estella. It begins to become ever clearer that in making Estella in to the cold hearted woman she is,Miss Havisham has been blissfully unaware that by doing this it has not only deeply affected Estella but also herself. "You asked me to give you what you never gave me... I am what you have made me." These words from Estella's mouth convey the large amount of tension building up between the two women. Miss Havisham continually used repetition in her speech" What have I done, what have I done...so hard so hard" to convey the feeling of despondency. Afterwards it is significantly clear that Miss Havisham feels a strong sense of remorse and regret towards Pip and Estella realising how much she has hurt them. This gives her cause to take action and begs forgiveness from Pip when he visits her nearer the end of the book. "If you can ever write under my name,'I forgive her,' though ever after my broken heart is dust-pray do it!" as she "dropped to her knees" at Pips feet. At this point there is a major turning point in the novel ; Pip realises that all her pent up emotion, intense desolation and "wild resentment" had lead to the destruction of her mind, body and soul, "by shutting out the light of day, she had shut out infinitely more." ...read more.

Conclusion

It is then that the unconditional love in her heart over-rides the mistrust and betrayal in her head and Estella finally confides in Pip and tells him that her heart has been through suffering like his had once, long ago. " I have been bent and broken but-I hope- into a better shape." The pressures of Miss Havisham and past affairs to Estella and Pip would no longer have a detrimental effect on their relationship and it was then that Pip "saw no shadow of another parting from her". In conclusion Miss Havisham was neither crazy, nor was she evil. She was mentally ill, driven to insanity with love and pain, with nobody to care for her. She was a confused lady, with nowhere to turn; therefore, she created her own fictional world where nothing changed and her own experience of emotional betrayal cast a prolonging shadow over her entire life. Dickens illustrates the fact that interpersonal and family relationships are forever changing, as remaining still only leads to tragedy. Her character draws in the reader as her peculiarity is mysterious, interesting and somewhat chilling as she is just that little bit different. Charles Dickens uses an exceptionally vast amount of word choice and word imagery to give us this unforgettable impression of one of the most memorable characters ever created in English literature. ?? ?? ?? ?? Lily Copping 4th form ...read more.

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