Miss Havisham

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Pip first meets Miss Havisham when he is summoned to play with her adopted daughter Estella. Satis house is set in a very upper class area but is very run down, the windows and doors are barred and locked, to keep people in as well as out. There is a dark and brooding image of the house. The reader’s first introduction to Miss Havisham occurs when Pip enters her room which is gloomy and lit only by candlelight. She is dressed in posh clothes like silks and lace, all in white which has now yellowed and shabby with age very similar to her spiteful attitude towards men. She continued to wear her veil, and dried and wilted flowers in her hair. In contrast she wears shining jewels around her hands and neck. He observes that the dress that she is wearing had been put on the figure of a young woman and the carcass on which it now hangs had shrunk to skin and bone. The gloomy and decaying theme continues throughout Pip’s encounters with Miss Havisham. Dickens uses words like “faded”, “no brightness”, “like black fungus” and “the daylight was completely excluded” to relate the atmosphere of both the house and miss Havisham. As he walks to her he notices that all the clocks have stopped at twenty to nine and she says: "Look at me, you are not afraid of a woman who has not seen the sun since you were born?". Dickens uses a great deal of straight forward language in the novel relating to death and decay, especially in his description of Miss Havisham. She openly talks about having her heart broken. Pip notices that it is kind of like she has stopped living and that her life as she knew it had ended once her fiance stood her up. It is as if she is stuck in the past and can’t and will not move forward. We learn later that her fiancé Compeyson abandoned her on her wedding morning at this exact time. Pip describes Miss Havisham’s appearance when he first meets her as “the strangest lady I have ever seen”. He is anxious, scared and confused and his childlike use of imagery...
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