In the 18th century novel, Great Expectations, by Charles Dickens, women play an important role in shaping Pip’s (the main character) life. But not all of the roles women play in the novel are good ones. Pip has been physically and emotionally wounded by women in his life in some form or another. Miss Havisham raises Estella to be cruel, Estella breaks Pip’s heart, and Mrs. Joe dies. Pip is emotionally hurt by Miss Havisham when she tells Estella to “Break their hearts, my pride and hope, break their hearts and have no mercy!” (Dickens 94). This reinforces Miss Havisham’s want for all men to feel hurt and ashamed, not just Pip. Readers think that she may even get pleasure from seeking out men to hurt, as she has experienced the anguish of heartbreak herself. She is using Estella as a bullet to blast men’s hearts to smithereens. When Herbert and Pip are talking about Miss Havisham and Estella in chapter 22, Herbert says “That girl’s hard and haughty and capricious to the last degree, and she has been brought up by Miss Havisham to wreak revenge on all the male sex” (Dickens 175) about Estella. It is not necessarily Estella’s fault, however. She had been raised to despise men and be cold hearted to them, and does not know any other way to treat men. Some people may even argue that Miss Havisham brought Estella up for that sole purpose. Another reason for Pip’s suffering is when Estella toys with his emotions and discourages his love for her. One of many examples is when Pip and Estella are waiting for a coach to take Estella to Richmond, and they were talking about how Pip could possibly live pleasantly at The Pocket’s house. Pip says he could live “as pleasantly as I could anywhere, away from you.” Estella decides to play the nonchalant ignorance card and says, “You silly boy, how can you talk such nonsense?”(Dickens 267).That sentence would break anyone’s heart, but it is especially brutal for Pip because he has been pursuing Estella for years...
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