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Thread: Estella's Feelings for Pip

  1. #1
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    Estella's Feelings for Pip

    Hi! I'm writing an essay on Estella's character development, and I want to know what other people think about an interaction between Estella and Pip.
    Towards the end of Chapter 44 (XLIV), Pip and Estella share the following exchange:

    I know,” said I, in answer to that action; “I know. I have no hope that I shall ever call you mine, Estella. I am ignorant what may become of me very soon, how poor I may be, or where I may go. Still, I love you. I have loved you ever since I first saw you in this house.”
    Looking at me perfectly unmoved and with her fingers busy, she shook her head again.
    “It would have been cruel in Miss Havisham, horribly cruel, to practise on the susceptibility of a poor boy, and to torture me through all these years with a vain hope and an idle pursuit, if she had reflected on the gravity of what she did. But I think she did not. I think that in the endurance of her own trial, she forgot mine, Estella.”
    I saw Miss Havisham put her hand to her heart and hold it there, as she sat looking by turns at Estella and at me.
    “It seems,” said Estella, very calmly, “that there are 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. You address nothing in my breast, you touch nothing there. I don’t care for what you say at all. I have tried to warn you of this; now, have I not?”
    I said in a miserable manner, “Yes.”
    “Yes. But you would not be warned, for you thought I did not mean it. Now, did you not think so?”
    “I thought and hoped you could not mean it. You, so young, untried, and beautiful, Estella! Surely it is not in Nature.”
    “It is in my nature,” she returned. And then she added, with a stress upon the words, “It is in the nature formed within me. I make a great difference between you and all other people when I say so much. I can do no more.”
    “On whom should I fling myself away?” she retorted, with a smile. “Should I fling myself away upon the man who would the soonest feel (if people do feel such things) that I took nothing to him? There! It is done. I shall do well enough, and so will my husband. As to leading me into what you call this fatal step, Miss Havisham would have had me wait, and not marry yet; but I am tired of the life I have led, which has very few charms for me, and I am willing enough to change it. Say no more. We shall never understand each other.”
    “Such a mean brute, such a stupid brute!” I urged in despair.
    “Don’t be afraid of my being a blessing to him,” said Estella; “I shall not be that. Come! Here is my hand. Do we part on this, you visionary boy—or man?”
    “O Estella!” I answered, as my bitter tears fell fast on her hand, do what I would to restrain them; “even if I remained in England and could hold my head up with the rest, how could I see you Drummle’s wife?”
    “Nonsense,” she returned, “nonsense. This will pass in no time.”
    “Never, Estella!”
    “You will get me out of your thoughts in a week.”

    I know Estella is a cold character and doesn't love Pip, but does this passage show she cares for him? Particularly in "'Nonsense,' she returned... in a week'", I think she does feel a little bad for Pip, and is almost trying to convince herself that Pip doesn't love her. Even more so in when she gives him her hand, Estella acts like she does care for Pip, just not romantically. I'm not entirely sure if that's what Dickens intended for the takeaway to be, though, so I'd like to know what anyone else thinks!
    Also excuse my possibly confusing sentence structure; I'm writing an essay, and my brain is fried. Thank you!!

  2. #2
    Registered User kev67's Avatar
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    Apr 2012
    Reading, England
    I think as an adult she did care for Pip a bit. Pip seems not able to see it. She does not have any romantic feelings for him, but on several occasions it looked like she tried to save him from heartbreak. He knows what Miss Haversham raised her to do. She is inconsistent however, for example, she told Drummel that Pip had been raised a blacksmith, which would have been extremely humiliating for him. I think she thought Pip and her other victims, after a period of heartbreak, would be able to get over her and find more suitable women. Maybe that is how she excuses herself. If Pip had been a better adjusted man, that is what he would have done. Estella was naive about Drummel though. Pip was a gentle soul, and poor preparation for a man like Drummel.
    According to Aldous Huxley, D.H. Lawrence once said that Balzac was 'a gigantic dwarf', and in a sense the same is true of Dickens.
    Charles Dickens, by George Orwell

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