Essay, Research Paper: Great Expectations And Estella

Literature: Charles Dickens

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The Character of Estella One of our first thoughts, like readers, when we finish
the novel is to establish two lists; one of good characters and other of bad
characters. Since this paper is devoted to the character of Estella the question
would be: is she a good character or a bad character? But, before beginning the
analysis of Estella in the novel which will try to give an answer to this
question, we are going to deal with the symbology of the name of Estella. As we
already know, the name of the characters in Dickens is very important. In the
case of Estella indicates her personality, her relation with other characters
and even the way in which she moves along the novel. It is obvious Estella makes
a reference to stars. Stars are cold but beautiful to see. The same happens with
Estella: she has a cold personality but she is very pretty. Remember she was
given to Miss Havisham at night which is when stars appear. Stella (without the
first 'e') is the name of Sydney's beloved. Probably he gave his beloved this
name because she was married in the real life and so, he could not reach her.
Stars are far and they can not be reached by us. In GE Estella is presented as
an impossible dream for Pip. In the same way Pip has expectations in a material
level, Estella would be Pip's love expectation. In a Christian sense, the star
is a quality applied to the Virgin Mary. Stars are used for orientation, to
guide us when we are lost at night. We could say the Virgin Mary lights her sons
in the night of sin. In the novel, Estella appears as a light, it is Pip's
orientation and he always has her in his mind. If we look at the sky we can see
different kinds of stars. One of them is a star which moves and shines in an
intermittent way. That's Estella's movement in the novel. Joe, who is always in
the countryside, and Mr Jaggers, who is always in London, are characters who
appear in series of chapters. In constrast to this, Estella appears in that
intermittent way. And also the way in which Estella's story is presented by the
different accounts of several characters. Perhaps the symbology provided has not
clarified much the question: she's cold but she's very pretty, she's Pip's guide
but he can not reach her. This is something ambiguous (remember also the
ambiguity in which the convict is described in the fourth paragraph of the
novel). The characters in the novel are not extremely good or extremely bad (the
exception would be Joe, in the good part, and Orlick, in the bad part), they are
between the two lists that I mentioned at the beginning of the paper. We will
see this now, with the analysis of Estella. The first time which Estella appears
in the novel is in chapter 8, in the first visit of Pip to Miss Havisham's
house. The first impression Pip has about Estella is also characterized by
ambiguity: he thinks she is pretty but she is proud. Miss Havisham obliges
Estella to play cards with Pip. The first time which appears the card game in GE
is in relation to the battle of sexes since, after her frustrated marriage, Miss
Havisham educates Estella to scorn men and in the card game Miss Havisham wants
to see a victory of a woman over a man. Estella wins but the most important
thing here is that Estella does not want to play with Pip because she thinks he
is common. This shows the pride and the superiority in which Estella is
presented in her relation to Pip, and it's also important because, from this
moment, Pip wants to be educated to be at the same level that Estella. At the
beginning of the novel we, like readers, like Pip because he is poor, a
non-cultivated boy and he is an orphan. Moreover, he, as a narrator, tries to
get the readers' affection using irony and humour from the beginning. We are
emphasizing this fact because in Pip's second visit (in chapter 11) we see how
Estella asks Pip his opinion about her, he answers she is pretty, she hits him
and asks the same question and Pip says nothing. From this moment we don't like
her. After a new card game we have the scene of the fight between Pip and the
other boy. Pip wins and Estella allows him to kiss her as a kind of prize. This
is important because, if the first card game was related with the battle of
sexes, this second card game is more related with the way in which a person
moves in society. Estella tends to search for the company of the winners in
society, the people who have a good position and wealth. And perhaps that's the
reason why she marries Drummle. The failure of this marriage will make to
reconsider her thoughts, this marriage will humanize her, as we will see later.
In the following chapter (chapter 12) we have a new visit of Pip. In a moment in
which Estella is not present Pip agrees with Miss Havisham that Estella is
prettier and prettier. After this we have a new card game, this time more
related to the battle of sexes again since during the game Miss Havisham advises
Estella to break men's heart and because it takes place before Estella's
departure. When Pip goes to Miss Havisham's house for a new visit, Estella has
gone abroad for her education. We have to give a jump to chapter 29 for the
following appearance of Estella. Nevertheless, in the previous chapter, when Pip
is said Estella has come back and she would be glad to see him, Pip goes
immediately to Miss Havisham's. In his coach, whereas he's thinking about
Estella, two convicts go with him in the coach. It's curious this contrast and
we will see other contrast of the same kind later. In this chapter, Pip finds
Estella very changed and prettier, Estella also thinks Pip is very changed.
Estella has come back from France and now she has to go to London. In a moment
in which Estella and Pip go for a walk she recognizes she doesn't remember she
hit him in one occasion and she also admits she has no heart. After this, Pip
thinks he's still an inferior being compared to Estella. Later, Miss Havisham
says to him Estella has been educated to be loved and that night Pip dreams with
marrying Estella. That night it was established that Pip had to look for Estella
when she went to London. The day of the encounter he arrives his appointment
five hours early. When he was waiting for her he sees Wemmick who asks him to go
to the prison with him. Again we have the contrast between the beauty of Estella
and a place like a prison which is gloomy and sordid. But more than a contrast
there is a relation between these two ideas. Notice that Estella's father is a
convict and that Estella's mother didn't go to prison thanks to the fact that Mr
Jaggers's intervention in the trial. When Estella arrives she says she has to go
to Richmond where she is going to be introduced to many people and Pip can go
there whenever he wants. Both of them talk about their fate and Estella thinks
they have to do what they are said. At that moment she lets Pip to kiss her for
the second time in the novel. It seems as though Estella did this whenever she
finds Pip share her situation or her opinions. An important chapter is chapter
38. At this moment of the narration we have the discussion between Miss Havisham
and Estella. Miss Havisham says to Estella she has forgotten her and Estella,
who gives Miss Havisham the treatment of 'mother in adoption', think that's not
true. The old lady asks for Estella's love and she answers she has not been
educated to love, emotion is something she can not feel. In spite of this new
proof of Estella's coldness, Pip is jealous when he sees Estella is flirting
with Drummle and Estella says to Pip she will not deceive him, she has been
educated to make suffer men but she is incapable to do any harm to Pip. There
are two points of reflection here, The first one is that Pip is so blinded by
his love for Estella that he's incapable of seeing that Estella can not feel any
emotion. The second one is Estella's honesty. We'll mention this question in the
conclusion. Six chapters later, Pip makes a new visit to Estella and he declares
his love to her. She becomes indifferent and she confesses she's going to marry
Drummle. She tells that's an idea of her and she has taken this decision because
she was tired of the way of life she was leading. But it's in the last chapter
of the novel when we see the consequence of Estella's decision. Eleven years
later Pip meets Estella in Satis House. Pip thinks Estella has lost part of her
beauty. Both of them talk and Estella recognizes she has thought about Pip. Due
to Drummle's bad treatment, Estella has learnt to value what she had. All this
takes place in a very peculiar setting: at night, with the stars shining and in
a ruined house. it's a very clear pathetic fallacy which comes to represent what
they have become with the passing of time. They have not fulfiled their own
expectations. The great lesson Estella learns is that goodness does not come
from a high social rank, it comes from inner nature. As a star is a heavenly
body which has its own light Estella is a cold character who has a positive
inner quality which is honesty. Estella is an example of how a woman, with good
inner principles, has been a human failure because of the bad education she has
received.
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