9th Grade Honors/Gifted Literature
23 February 2015 This Girl is on Fire; An analysis on revenge in Great Expectations “But if the oftenrepeated word had been hate instead of lovedespairrevengedire death
[...] sounded from her lips like a curse” (Dickens 221). This quote is a perfect representation of
Miss Havisham because it tells the readers that she’s cold hearted and desires revenge on other people. The character of Miss Havisham in Charles Dickens’
Great Expectations is used to develop the theme of revenge through her interactions with Estella and Pip.
Miss Havisham is a plain example of revenge because of the way she raised Estella. The author illustrates this point when he states, ‘“Hear me, Pip! I adopted her to be loved. I bred her and educated her to be loved. I developed her into what she is, that she might be loved. Love her!”’ (Dickens 221). Miss Havisham raised Estella for her own revenge. She raised Estella to be the person she wanted her to be and not her own person. For instance, ‘“You should know,’ said
Estella. ‘I am what you have made me. Take all the praise, take all the blame; take all the success, take all the failure; in short, take me”’ (Dickens 280). What Estella is saying is that Miss
Havisham made her a replica of a person Miss Havisham thought would be a person who brought people pain that Miss Havisham herself felt. In other words, Estella is like Frankenstein because Estella was created by Miss Havisham, they were both created to be toys in someone elses life. Estella was raised by Miss Havisham to hurt other people like Pip, for example.
While Miss Havisham may seem like a good friend to Pip she really has other intentions with her relations with him. The author demonstrates this through Miss Havisham’s conversation with Pip on page 221 when she is basically telling Pip to love Estella even if she hurts him. This is a direct quotation to Miss Havisham’s theme of revenge. She doesn’t care if Pip gets hurt by
Estella because that is what Miss Havisham wanted all along, to make people feel the pain she feels. Before that though, Charles Dickens’ illustrates this point when he has Miss Havisham say the following to Pip: ‘“Abroad,’ said Miss Havisham; ‘educating for a lady; far out of reach; prettier than ever; admired by all who see her. Do you feel that you have lost her?”’ (Dickens
107). When Miss Havisham asks Pip if he feels that he’s lost her she’s saying that Pip will never be able to have her. Miss Havisham feels that she’s succeeded in her plots of revenge but i the end, it not only causes Pip pain but her as well.
Even though revenge seemed like a good idea in the beginning to Miss Havisham, it not only caused her own downfall but Pip’s as well. Toward the end of the story Miss
Havisham states, ‘“What have I done! What have I done!’ She wrung her hands, and crushed her white hair, and returned to this cry over and over again. ‘What have I done!”’ (Dickens 366).
This shows how Miss Havisham really regrets what she has done not only to Pip but to Estella as well. She manipulated Estella’s emotions by teaching her to become this emotionless cold hearted human being.