Brian Jaeger English 326 Great Expectations Paper Professor Fischer
Within two paragraphs of Chapter 44 in Great Expectations, Charles Dickens shows us the extent of Pip's relationship with Estella, while also giving us a theme of misguided emotion that is repeated throughout the novel. The paragraphs where Pip divulges his love for Estella is just one of many times when we see a character trusting his or her emotions beyond reason. Dickens demonstrates how characters are forced to adjust in order to survive, or else allow themselves to be led astray by their own emotions.
Pip lets Estella know how he feels and how he has felt for a very long time in Chapter 44. She had been gracious, and decided to let him off the hook, but he was helpless. His speech demonstrates how helpless and blinded he was, even so much as believing that Estella did him far more good than harm. He allowed himself to be less than satisfied with himself because of her, and he could never be happy when he was around her. She could not return his love, but he continued to direct his hopes for happiness towards her, which caused him far more harm than good.
Miss Havisham makes an unhappy realization during Pip's speech. She sees how her plan to revenge her own misfortune through Estella had hurt Pip so terribly. Miss H. had seen earlier that Estella was incapable of love, even for her guardian. Miss Havisham now sees her own misguided mistake in creating such a woman as Estella, when she really wanted to create someone who could love and be loved. Miss H.Õs hatred twisted her mind into one set on revenge through feeding on another, when she should have been giving life to another in order to move on.
Orlick is a human (barely) who is controlled entirely by his emotions. He has some similarities to Miss Havisham, and his hatred for Pip is what dictates his life. Orlick is defeated by Joe early in the novel, but evil can only be triumphed over, not destroyed. Orlick can never move on, for he has nothing to move on to. He is doomed to always make the wrong decisions because he is an evil man ruled only by his emotions.
Magwitch is a convict who allows his emotions to get the best of him. His hatred is so strong for the other convict that he gives up freedom in order to hunt him down. Magwitch is also ruled by a feeling of love towards Pip, who helped him when he was in need. MagwitchÕs devotion to Pip is part of the good that can come from being ruled by emotions, but it is as blind as any hatred. Pip is perfect to Magwitch, even though he has become quite a monster with his new money and position. The fact that Magwitch is willing to give up his own life just to see his gentleman demonstrates how emotions were clouding the convictÕs judgment.
Other characters show us the difficulties of emotions in daily life. Mr. Jaggers must fight his emotions in order to survive his job, so he develops nervous habits (biting his finger, washing his hands) in order to deal with his feelings. His servant is controlled only by him, her savior. She allowed her feelings of jealousy and anger to get the best of her in a fight. Wemmick is forced to live two lives in order to deal with his stress. Miss HavishamÕs family, except for Mr. Pocket, is ruled by fear and envy of possible inheritors of the old ladyÕs money. Just as in real life, most of the characters are able to control their emotions to a certain level, and that is what Dickens wants the reader to acknowledge.
Estella represents the person with no emotions, trained to feel nothing. She is the extreme to which no human should go in order to supress their emotions. Dickens does not want the reader to strive to be indifferent and unfeeling, but to seize control over their feelings to thrive within society. Biddy knows, as does Dickens, that Pip must find out for himself when his emotions are misdirected, just as all of us must do. Upon first reading this novel, while in ÒloveÓ with a girl so wrong for myself, I felt that Dickens was terribly misguided. I felt that my love for her, and my constant improving of myself, could force her to feel the same way about me someday. Luckily, after six years, I can agree that Dickens was right. I should not have been ruled solely by my emotions, but I had to find out for myself, and I have finally adjusted in order to survive without further damage. (SheÕs still really hot, though.)