Great Expectations Compare and Contrast Essay

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In the novel Great Expectations by Charles Dickens, imprisonment affects many of the characters literally and figuratively. Estella’s imprisonment is both literal and figurative; she is forced to do what Miss Havisham tells her to do because she was raised to treat others with contempt. Pip’s imprisonment is figurative and has to do with his social class. Estella was imprisoned in the beginning of the novel due to the way Miss Havisham treated her since she was young. Miss Havisham controlled every aspect of her life and gave Estella very little freedom. Miss Havisham is very bitter after she received a letter from Compeyson and realized that he defrauded her on her wedding day. Her wedding dress symbolizes her inability to let go of her dispicable past, which is parallel to her house, which still has the wedding cake on her table. Estella treated Pip with disdain and constantly makes fun of him because she was raised and told to do so by Miss Havisham. When Miss Havisham invited Pip to her house, she whispered to Estella, “Well? You can break his heart.” (58) Estella continued to relentlessly pick on Pip because he was a commoner until he cried. Because she did what Miss Havisham told her to do, she made Pip feel so appalling that he wanted to become a gentleman just so she wouldn’t make fun of him anymore. Estella had no say in what she wanted to do throughout beginning of the story and essentially acted like Miss Havisham’s puppet. Pip is an orphaned boy who lives with Joe and Mrs. Joe and plans to work at the forge like Joe when he grows up. The forge symbolizes Pip and Joe as commoners because they have to work very hard to provide money to sustain the family. Pip doesn’t realize he is a commoner until he visits Miss Havisham’s house upon her request. When he arrives at her house, he sees Estella who continues to belittle and castigate him

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