Essay, Research Paper: Great Expectations And Sincere Feelings

Literature: Charles Dickens

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Webster’s dictionary defines love in many different ways, “A feeling of
intense desire and attraction toward a person with whom one is disposed to make
a pair; the emotion of sex and romance. To have a feeling of intense desire and
attraction toward (a person) (Webster, love)”. In Great Expectations, Pip is
going through maturity, and is always undergoing maturity. We find that Pip is
always longing for friends, family, and for love. Love can be a number of things
to different people. Love is an emotion, where there is no wrong definition, for
it suits each and every person differently, however some characteristics are the
same amongst everybody. Pip thinks he is in love, but in my paper I investigate
if it’s a real desire of infatuation for Estella, or just a first big crush
which lasted through out his teenage years. Pip’s love for Estella is usually
a one-way street, at least in his eyes. From the moment Pip meets her, he feels
an attraction towards her. At the same token, Estella’s outward feelings
towards Pip are confusing and cruel. From slapping him in the face as hard as
she can, to making him feel as low as dirt saying he has coarse hands and thick
soles and such, Estella is able to crush Pip inside. He feels as though he
cannot let Estella know how he really feels besides telling Miss Havisham and
Estella her self that she was pretty, yet mean. As time goes on, Pip learns all
about Estella from her attitude and appearance. This attitude and appearance is
what Pip wanted to attain so that Estella would love him. In chapter 17 Pip
tells Biddy “ I am not at all happy as I am” (Dickens, 127). He wants to
become a gentleman, a complement to a gentlewoman--Estella. Again telling his
feelings to Biddy, he professes. “ the beautiful young lady at Miss
Havisham’s. And she’s more beautiful than anybody ever was, and I admire her
dreadfully, and I want to be a gentle man on her account” (Dickens, 129). This
is the first time we learned about Pip’s love from Pip. Thus far we assume
that he likes her, but we never actually hear him say it. The reasons, which he
gave Biddy, are his desires, his own infatuation, or a “false love”. Pip has
no real ground to like, let alone love Estella since he hardly knows her at all.
All Pip knows is a young girl, which was taught to break men’s hearts. Estella
is Miss Havisham’s mini me of her self, a heartbroken women who has no
feelings of love, but only hatred in her heart. She taught Estella that men were
bad because of her past, and Estella’s emotions and thoughts we buried under
Miss Havisham’s thoughts. This was so early seen in the beginning when Estella
proclaims that Pip is common. At this moment in time, Pip felt bad and Estella
knew it, but past that she says more insulting things in front of Miss Havisham
for she knows it makes her proud keeping her happy. This was horrible because it
kept Estella from ever really loving somebody throughout the whole novel.
Statements like, “Well? Can you break his heart?” (Dickens, 60) which are
the source for identity crises in this book amongst both Pip and Estella alike.
The actions which came from statements by Miss Havisham are what keeps Pip and
Estella constantly going through out constant identity changes, thus making it
almost near to impossible to love. Pip never would be able to get a true grasp
of who she was because she, like him, would change like the direction of wind at
any given time. For a great duration of the novel, Pip is infatuated with
Estella. He thinks he is in love, but with no solid reasons as to why. As a
reader, it can be perceived that Pip being a young man, is going through changes
and is attracted physically to Estella however that can only measure so much of
love. This was shown when Biddy told Pip she liked him, but he opted for
Estella. Pip experienced new feelings, which he never had experienced, feelings
that he doesn’t know about. Throughout the book we discover that his false
love controls Pip. His infatuation for Estella inspires him to become an
educated gentleman. We, like Pip have no idea how long he will feel like he does
for Estella. We do know his infatuation is for the wrong reasons. Pip really
didn’t have anybody or anything to compare his infatuation with, thus it gave
him no reason not have one. He never had love before, not the love, leaving him
nothing to compare to see if he is really in love. Pip showed beyond a
reasonable doubt in his mind, that he began with a deep infatuation for Estella.
In the end of the novel, he learns that he does love Estella, and that his love
will never be mutual. Throughout the book Pip professes his love for Estella,
but she always says it can never happen. He thinks that there is always hope up
until he finds out she is to be married to Drumle. In chapter 44 Pip makes a
declaration to Miss Havisham in front of Estella, “ What I had to say to
Estella, Miss Havisham, I will say before you, presently- in a few moments. It
will not surprise you, it will not displease you. I am as unhappy as you can
ever have meant me to be” (Dickens, 359). This prepares Estella for what he is
going to say, and assures that Miss Havisham has destroyed him as a man through
Estella. Now that Miss Havisham is content, he turns to Estella, “ you know I
love you, you know I have loved you long and dearly” (Dickens, 361). Now
Estella, along with, the reader know, he loves her officially, and he also tells
her, I should have said this sooner, but for my long mistake. It induced me to
hope that Miss Havisham meant us for one another. While I thought you could not
help yourself, as it were, I refrained from saying it. But I must say it now.
(Dickens, 362) This is the prelude to why he professes his love. He doesn’t
want to see Estella marry Drummle for he knows he cannot ever attain Estella’s
love, but at the same time he wants who ever is going to marry her to treat her
like a queen. He wants to best for her. His boldness to be able to confront a
problem, knowing he will never be apart of the solution shows how much indeed he
does love her. But being Estella she replies to his statements by saying “…
When you say you love me, I know what you mean, as a form of words; but nothing
more…” (Dickens, 362). She makes it known that she has never been in love,
and is certainly not in love with him. If Pip was infatuated with Estella he
would have begged and pleaded and be totally against Estella marrying the
Drummle, but he was mature instead and accepted what the deck had dealt him,
hoping that she would be happy. Pip now comes to the realization that he must
move on. Pip wants, finds, and deals with love. He knows that Estella is out of
the picture. He realizes from her saying I have no heart, at this point in her
life, she is incapable of love. He deals with this by wishing her the best and
wanting the best for her. He will always love her but he knows he cannot have
her. In the beginning we think that he isn’t in love, for he doesn’t even
know Estella, to the terms of what we think would be the foundation for any
loving relationship. She treats him like crap and tries to make him feel like
crap 24 hours a day. The saying, “the ones you hate, are the ones you really
love”, applies in this book. Deep beneath that hard skin, I think Estella has
feelings for Pip-not necessarily the feelings of love, but feelings. Through
Pips trials and tribulations, he has learned all about love. Since Estella was
his first infatuation, he had nothing to compare his feelings to, but in the
future he will always be able to compare. A good guess to how we can imply that
he will love someone would be if he thought of her as a queen. Pip learns and
figures out love from everything he has been through. He is capable of loving
and knowing when love has begun and ended. But, like all good things (like love
and this paper) they must come to an end until another good thing comes along;
another wonderful girl- a girl which loves Pip for Pip, as he does for her.

WWWebster Dictionary “Love” Merriam-Webster, Incorporated 1999 <> (26 November 1999)
Dickens, Charles. Great Expectations. New York. Penguin Classic, 1996
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