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Great Expectation Coursework

Essay Topic:

The first visit Pip had to Miss Havisham’s house frightens and intimidates him ‘the passage were all dark, and that she had left a candle burning.’ Dickens uses dark imagery to show a bit of clue to the audience the kind of person Miss Havisham is and it emphasises the dark side of Miss Havisham. This makes Pip scared because this is because this is different to where he came from, the house was huge.

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This shows how different his life is compared to Miss Havisham and Estella and how mysterious the house seems to him and us.

Dickens creates a frightening atmosphere by describing the house in a really sinister way, ‘grass was growing in every crevice.’ Dickens has portrayed the house as being uncared for because it tells and shows us that Miss Havisham hasn’t cared for herself so if she can’t do that, she obviously won’t care for her house. It shows how mysterious scary and Miss Havisham is. Dickens describes Pip as ‘half afraid’ towards Miss Havisham and the house. This shows how the reader understands his trepidation.

Pip’s social background is much lower compared to Miss Havisham and Estella, his mum and dad are dead, and he lives with his sister and her husband Joe, who is a blacksmith. His sister is worried and afraid Pip will follow in the footstep of her husband and wants him to achieve ‘great expectations’. Pip comes from a poor and low status background, so seeing a house like Miss Havisham’s has different feelings, he feels amazed but at the same time worried. ‘This was very uncomfortable, and I was half afraid.’

Estella treats Pip in a very controlling and rude way. She makes him feel useless and shows him how lower class he is compared to her. She treats him like a dog, always controlling what he does and always saying stuff about how he looks. ‘He is a common labouring boy, and what coarse hand he has.’ This makes Pip start to see who he really is and he begins to worry about how he looks, because before he didn’t really consider himself inferior. Pip also tried to be nice to Estella but every time he tried she never seemed to care or notice. ‘After you miss’ to this she returned ‘don’t be ridiculous boy, I am not going in.’ This is done by Dickens to tell the audience that throughout the novel Pip will go through some adventure and Estella treatment towards him was one of them. It was the beginning.

The house would really intimidate Pip because the Satis House compared to his house is like a palace ‘the great front entrance had two chains across it outside.’ Also all of the riches he sees ‘jewels sparkled on her neck.’ This shows a different side of Pip because of his reaction and also to describe what exactly was inside the house and to describe the opposite of Pip’s life. The entrance to the house was mysteriously dark. Pip has also never seen such wealth before, so his expectations changes after his first visit. He becomes ashamed of himself, his background and Joe.

When Pip first sees Miss Havisham, his reactions are stunned and shocked. Dickens also writes that he feels Miss Havisham is ‘the strangest lady, he has or will ever see.’ The impression given to the reader is that he is scared and full of anticipation. This shows how odd the house is and how Miss Havisham is a contrast to Pip’s life. When Miss Havisham speaks to Pip, she asks him lots of strange questions which makes her seem impatient ‘call Estella, she repeated, flashing a look at me. You can do that, call Estella at the door.’ She speaks to him like he is a servant, always giving him instructions like she owns him or has power over him. ‘Call Estella, you can do that.’ She also moves her hand around a lot, which makes her appear really arrogant and bossy. ‘With an impatient movement of the fingers of her right hand.’

Pip felt very nervous and anxious before he entered Miss Havisham’s room. Dickens describes him as being ‘half afraid’ and he is scared of the dark. Dickens also presents Pip as being very small and scared. This is to emphasise the strangeness of the house and how Pip is out of place.

Dickens uses imagery to describe Miss Havisham as dying or dead, he also describes her as a skeleton, ‘had shrunk to skin and bone.’ The symbolism used is of a dead person. ‘Skeleton seemed to have dark eyes that moved and looked at me.’ Dickens has done this to make the reader shocked because he wants us to feel disgusted and disturbed, and also to infer that she is half dead because of her emotional state.

The effect of Miss Havisham’s treatment on Pip is that he starts to notice who he really is ‘I began to consider them a very different pair, her contempt for me was so strong, that it become infectious and I caught it.’ He also begins to feel ashamed of his social life and he sees the differences between himself and Miss Havisham. Miss Havisham also becomes bossy towards Pip and starts to control him using imperatives ‘play, play, play!’ This would make Pip feel useless, insulted and ashamed of his family and probably wished he had a higher status like Miss Havisham and Estella.

Estella’s treatment towards Pip would affect him by making him feel depressed and make him think that Estella has power over him. Pip feels very strange towards Estella. He is in love with her but she doesn’t seem to care. She talks to him like a 5 year old boy. ‘Don’t be ridiculous boy.’ This will make Pip feel like he is the servant while Estella is the master. Estella tries really hard to put Pip down and it usually works. ‘Her contempt for me was so strong, that it became infectious and I caught it.’ It was like Estella had a disease and that has been given to Pip. She also calls him names ‘a stupid, clumsy, labouring boy.’ At this point of the story, I think Pip feels ashamed of his family especially Joe. To Pip, Estella was his angel of light, his star. ‘Her light came along the dark passage like a star.’ So without Estella, Pip can’t see, he’s nothing. However, like a star, Estella is cold, hard and out of reach.

In the story each of the characters are controlled by one and another. Miss Havisham controls Estella and Estella controls Pip. She wants to get revenge on a male because of what happened with her ex. So she’s using Estella to get revenge ‘well? You can break his heart.’ Estella is controlling Pip because of Miss Havisham also because she is ‘self – possessed’ and too full of herself. Pip is a pawn in their little games.

The immediate effects on Pip of his first visit are that he begins to see the differences between himself, Estella and Miss Havisham. ‘I took the opportunity of being alone in the court – yard to look at my coarse hands and my common boots.’ He believes what he has been told by Estella and starts to call himself he exact words. He begins to believe he really is not worth it.

This has a long term effects in the novel because he becomes a complete different character who looks down at other people, just like Estella and Miss Havisham. Dickens did this to tell the reader that money can change people’s character and no matter how much you have there is still a place in your heart that remembers who you were before.

The long term effect on Pip of his first visit, are that he starts to become ashamed of his family especially Joe. ‘I wished Joe had been rather more genteelly brought up, and then I should have been so too.’ He also starts to hope that he doesn’t end up as a blacksmith like Joe. As the time goes on he becomes a snob. Dickens is showing the negative effects of money/elevation in status.

The Satis House is like the opposite of Pip’s life. He lives in a small house and the Satis House is like a palace, compared to his. It can be seen as a symbol for changing Pip’s personality, background and his heart. Also it changes his behaviour from being nice, to becoming a rude boy and full of himself, just like Estella.

Pip’s visit to the house, is very important because throughout is childhood he had never really had much fun and also his family hope that he can gain an higher status by going to the Satis House. But for his sister she’s hoping by Pip going there he may become wealthy one day and they/she would have a better life. So everything Miss Havisham instructs him to do, he has to obey her ‘with the fear of my sister’s working me before my eyes, I had a desperate idea of starting round the room in the assumed character of Mr Pumblechook’s chaise – cart.’

In the novel Dickens is trying to say that no matter how wealthy you are or how nice you are money can change people. He is trying to tell us that the low social class people (Pip’s family) were provoked by the amount of wealth they saw, and that intimidated them to want to be rich and rise in status.

The reader’s opinion of the effect of Satis House on Pip’s future, is that if he didn’t go to the house, he would be a different character, a different person. So it’s the sister’s fault for most of the way Pip has changed, but also Miss Havisham and Estella’s fault because if he didn’t meet them, he wouldn’t be rude or have knew about so much wealth. He would be happy the way he was.

The whole of the novel hinges that Pip will obviously become a snob and that Pip and Estella might not really get together at first but anything could happen after that.

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