The Relationship Between Ms. Havisham and Estella – Great Expectations
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A prodigious part of Great Expectations by Charles Dickens is devoted to the relationship between Estella and Ms. Havisham. Although it may seem like Ms. Havisham has adopted Estella only to get revenge on men, she actually loves Estella and is making her cold hearted because she doesn’t want her go through the same type of heartbreak that she herself went through.
Ms. Havisham’s plan was to make Estella tough so that she would not be vulnerable to heartbreak. Unfortunately, her plan backfired and actually hurt Estella by destroying her opportunity of experiencing love. Ms. Havisham had good intentions for Estella all throughout the novel, but sometimes her pain lured her to start using Estella’s beauty for revenge against men.
One part in the book that substantiates my view is when Ms. Havisham is apologizing to Pip. Ms. Havisham says “When she first came to me, I meant to save her from misery like my own. At first I meant no more” (429). Then she explains how she got carried away because she realized that Estella was sublime and could beguile almost any man. That’s why she started to edify Estella to act malignant towards men and eventually made Estella’s heart austere. Then Pip Says “better to have left her a natural heart, even to be bruised or broken.” Ms. Havisham starts saying “what have I done” again and again. The now dilapidated Ms. Havisham’s crying shows that she did mean well for Estella and just made a mistake that she now regrets.
This also leads to my next point in which Ms. Havisham has so much remorse for what she has done to Estella that she tries to commit suicide by setting herself on fire. This shows that because she really cared for Estella and because she ruined Estella’s life, she thought she deserved to die. She wanted to kill herself, not just the easy way to free her conscience, but a painful death to make herself suffer. Ms. Havisham’s main plan was to save Estella’s heart, getting revenge on men was just an extra yet pleasing coincident that came along in the path of protecting Estella’s heart. However, that coincident disabled Estella’s ability to love.
Another point stated in the book is when Ms. Havisham explains to Pip why she adopted Estella. She says “I told him that I wanted a little girl to rear and love, and save from my fate” (429) She says “save from my fate” and that means that she doesn’t want Estella to go through the same heartbreak that she went through.
You can tell that Ms. Havisham really loves Estella and that she is not just using her, because when Estella and she get into a fight she says, “Did I never give her love! Did I never give her a burning love, inseparable from jealousy at all times, and from sharp pain, while she speaks thus to me! Let her call me mad, let her call me mad!” (330). Because of all the exclamation points, it seems as if she is saying this in a very angry. The tone tells us that because she really does love Estella, she is getting mad because Estella doesn’t realize and appreciate it.
All these events from the story lead to the conclusion that Ms. Havisham really does love Estella and did not adopt her only to fulfil her desire of getting revenge on men. She adopted her because she wanted a child to love and she truly loves Estella as if she was her real daughter.