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

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Lily Copping 4th form

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 fiancée 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. From the exact moment in time when she first learnt Compeyson was gone, the old woman stopped all the clocks from ticking and fixed them at twenty minutes to nine. This links into her somewhat dishevelled appearance at a first glance for only one shoe was upon her foot her bridal veil was “but half arranged” and her “watch and chain were not put on”. Jewels,gloves,trinkets,flowers and a prayer book were all “confusedly heaped” in a pile.

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     Ever since her rejection by fiancée Compeyson, Miss Havisham-in her own world-has effectively stopped time and all that goes with it.

      Then, with a manic obsessive cruelty Miss Havisham adopts a young girl whom she names Estella and raises her as a weapon to wreak revenge on the all members of opposite sex.She inflicts her own sourness and pain on to Estella and successfully turns her into the cold hearted yet alluring creature which Miss Havisham had so fervently sought her to become,dressing her in diamonds and jewels to draw men into the ...

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