'Havisham' Essay

Words: 942
Pages: 4

Havisham essay.

‘Miss Havisham’ is a bitter and twisted character from the novel ‘Great Expectations’ by Charles Dickens. Carol Ann Duffy takes this character and explores her tragic life in the poem ‘Havisham’. Duffy uses Dark themes, structure, symbolism and other poetic techniques to express Havisham’s hatred for men after her tragic wedding when she was rejected by her fiancé. Duffy’s use of these poetic techniques create a sinister character and makes Havisham feel real to the reader.

To begin the poem Duffy uses a shocking short sentence, which contains contrasting word choice to convey an ironic tone from Havisham. The contradictory oxymoron also startles the reader and grasps our attention as we do not expect this beginning.
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This menacing narrative voice continues to add to the sinister mood and Duffy’s use of the combination of symbolism and an oxymoron create a sinister character. The depth of feeling from Havisham through the use of this oxymoron also makes Havisham feel real to the reader.

Eventually Havisham’s self-pity combined with her mental decay makes for a dramatic conclusion to the poem as her emotions collapse and she is un-able to contain her feelings. She leaves the reader on an anti-climax as we are left wondering what happened to her in her vulnerable helpless state. ‘Don’t think it’s only the heart that b-b-b-breaks.’ Duffy uses ambiguity to give several interpretations of the ending as we are un-sure as to how Havisham finishes. The repeated ‘b’ sound could be the last beats of her breaking heart, it could be her voice breaking as she remembers her fate, it could be her last words as she finally emotionally and physically breaks down. It is the uncertainty of Havisham’s end that creates a sinister mood and makes her feel real to the reader.

In conclusion, ‘Miss Havisham’ a character from the novel ‘Great Expectations’ by Charles Dickens is further explored in the poem ‘Havisham’ by Carol Ann Duffy. In the poem Duffy reveals Havisham’s sinister character and makes her feel real to the reader. Duffy accomplishes this through the use dark themes to express Havisham’s sinister character and a menacing narrative voice is used to make Havisham feel real