It is human nature to want to be accepted – especially by the one you love. In Great Expectations, Pip portrays this universal truth on-point. He abandons his family, goes deep into debt; and for what; a cruel, misshapen mind that was always plotting against him? A girl who lived to antagonize him? A girl he loved and thought he could not live without.
The very first time Estella meets Pip, he falls in love, and she too. But for different reasons; Pip loves Estella with all of his heart, but Estella falls in love with the fact that Pip is emotionally weak; she prays on that and enjoys tormenting him with her astounding beauty that hides the inexorable girl that she really is. She takes joy in making Pip feel bad about himself – “‘He calls knaves, Jacks, this boy!’ said Estella with disdain before our first game was out. ‘And what coarse hands he has, and what thick boots!’ I had never thought of being ashamed of my hands before; but I began to consider them a very indifferent pair.” (79) “I was so humiliated, hurt, spurned, offended, angry, sorry – I cannot hit upon the right name for the smart – God knows what its name was – that tears started to my eyes”; instead of realizing that Estella is putting Pip down just to be cruel, he becomes self-conscious about himself (77). The effect Satis House and Estella and Ms. Havisham all have a diffident effect on pip. This is the beginning of him always wanting more – for Estella’s approval.
Miss Havisham is always encouraging Estella’s treatment of Pip – and while he does not realize this, he is also craving approval from her. “Miss Havisham would often as me in a whisper, or when we were alone, ‘Does she grow prettier and prettier everyday, Pip?’ and when I said yes (for indeed she did), would seem to enjoy it greedily”; she takes the same cruel comfort that Estella does in looking down on Pip (119).
During Pip’s journey to become a gentleman – for Estella – it is not only her that he wants to impress. He goes...
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