Great Expectation Essay Estella

(This episode, incidentally, is very similar in tone and temperature to passages in Chapters 30 and 37 of Dombey and Son, written twelve years before Great Expectations, in which Mrs Skewton rails at her daughter Edith, whose cynical marriage to the wealthy widower Paul Dombey she has herself connived at.“Heaven knows we need never be ashamed of our tears, for they are rain upon the blinding dust of earth, overlying our hard hearts. If she tears your heart to pieces – and as it gets older and stronger, it will tear deeper – love her, love her, love her! You have been in every prospect I have ever seen since – on the river, on the sails of the ships, on the marshes, in the clouds, in the light, in the darkness, in the wind, in the woods, in the sea, in the streets.I was better after I had cried, than before--more sorry, more aware of my own ingratitude, more gentle.” ― “Love her, love her, love her! You have been the embodiment of every graceful fancy that my mind has ever become acquainted with.At this point Dickens could have let her live on as a kindly old lady in a rosy cottage – and in his early novels, he would probably have done so – but in his artistic maturity, he must have seen that this would have struck a falsely sentimental note, and instead flames consume her in an accident that has an element of suicide as well as divine justice.Estella is a more conventional figure, a version of the type of unattainable maiden common in Renaissance poetry (as in As You Like It where Orlando calls Rosalind ‘the fair, the chaste, and unexpressive she’).Pause you who read this, and think for a moment of the long chain of iron or gold, of thorns or flowers, that would never have bound you, but for the formation of the first link on one memorable day.” ― “The unqualified truth is, that when I loved Estella with the love of a man, I loved her simply because I found her irresistible.Once for all; I love her none the less because I knew it, and it had no more influence in restraining me, than if I had devoutly believed her to be human perfection .” ― “I'll tell you," said she, in the same hurried passionate whisper, "what real love it. You have been in every line I have ever read, since I first came here, the rough common boy whose poor heart you wounded even then.The stones of which the strongest London buildings are made, are not more real, or more impossible to displace with your hands, than your presence and influence have been to me, there and everywhere, and will be.Nobody who reads the novel ever forgets her first appearance in Chapter 8, in which her decrepitude is so richly and evocatively described.To Pip’s childish eyes, she at first seems like a fairy-tale witch - half-waxwork, half-skeleton, garlanded with jewels but surrounded by stopped clocks, dust and mould: I saw that everything within my view which ought to be white, had been white long ago, and lost its lustre, and was faded and yellow.


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