Most readers are appalled at the cold-hearted and cruel ways of Estella, but any criticism directed at her is largely undeserved. She was simply raised in a controlled environment where she was, in essence, brainwashed by Miss Havisham. Nonetheless, her demeanor might lead one to suspect that she was a girl with a heart of ice. Estella is scornful from the moment she is introduced, when she remarks on Pip's coarse hands and thick boots. However, her beauty soon captivates Pip and she is instilled as the focal point of his thoughts for much of the remainder of the novel. The fact that Pip becomes infatuated with her is also not Estella's fault. By no means is there any evidence that she loved him. She does not flirt with him in any way. Rather, she tortures Pip with her cruel treatment. Despite her abhorrent quality, Estella is extremely candid; because she seems to have no need for affection, she is able to tell things as she sees them without a thought of what someone else may think. This is in contrast to Pip's obsession of his every action being approved by Miss Havisham and Estella. Estella is also quite intelligent. She is very aware of the manner in which Miss Havisham raised her. She tells Miss Havisham, "I am what you have made me. Take all the praise, take all the blame; take all the success, take all the failure; in short, take me." (Chapter 38). Finally, by the end of the novel, Estella has changed. Through her marriage with Bentley Drummle, she has suffered to learn some valuable life lessons that have transformed her character. Pip remarks on the stark reversal of the once hard Estella, "...what I had never seen before, was the saddened softened light of the once proud eyes; what I had never felt before, was the friendly touch of the once insensible hand." (Chapter 59).
Joe is the only one of Dickens' characters who stands opposed to and apart from the main current of action. He stays away from London, for the most... [continues]
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