Great expectations 7
The author Charles Dickens was a talented illustrator of character. Throughout his novel Great Expectations he presents this gift by creating several unique characters. A dominant character throughout the novel is Estella, adopted daughter of the eccentric Miss Havisham. Estella is cold-hearted, a victim of Miss Havisham, and repentant.
Throughout the novel Estella has a hard time understanding feelings. As a child when Pip would play with her she was cold to him, “And what coarse hands he has! And what thick boots” (57). The characteristic is significantly seen in response to Pip’s declaration of love, “It seems,” said Estella, very calmly that there are certain sentiments, fancies-I don’t know how to call them-which I am not able to comprehend. When you say you love me, I know what you mean as a form of words, but nothing more” (347). Her lack of emotions and understanding give the people who “love” her a difficult time. Estella appears to do what she has to in a manner irritatingly relaxed. She functions like a robot programed to carry necessary tasks. “You may kiss me if you like,” (88), she tells Pip with no feeling, almost as if the kiss was money or a gift. With every cold-hearted action, Estella furthers herself from any true feeling.
Though she advocated it, Estella’s actions weren’t entirely her fault. Motivated by a jilting on her wedding day, Miss Havisham adopts Estella to raise her into a heartless instrument of revenge against men. Estella makes unwise decisions mostly based on Miss Havisham’s teachings. She marries Pip’s rival Walter Drummle who beats her. Miss Havisham pushes Estella to the limit, and ends up hurting Estella, and herself as well. Miss Havisham’s expectations for her isolates Estella into a cold, wretched creature. Ironically, she has turned Estella into her own worst enemy.
A loveless marriage serves as an impetus to Estella’s redemption. When Estella and Pip meet again at Satis House, Estella reveals she has learned how to love, and what it feels like to be hurt. Estella attains redemption, a dominant theme in the novel, through a troubled life. She also gives closure to her relationship with Pip by asking to remain friends, “Be as considerate and good to me as you were, and tell me we are friends” (466). In the end Estella emerges a more compassionate person.
Estella is a character to feel sorry for. The fact that her means of hurting all mankind consisted of simply marrying Drummle makes her seem pathetic. As it turns out she has a heart, only she needed to be beaten to discover it. It is also a wonder why she is loyal for a time to Miss Havisham. Yet, she appears to redeem herself at the end. Estella’s characteristics lead up to one question, is there a shadow of another parting?