Great Expectations - Estella


Great Expectations. The Character of Estella One of our first thoughts, like readers, when we finish the novel is to establish two lists; one of good characters and other of bad characters. Since this paper is devoted to the character of Estella the question would be: is she a good character or a bad character? But, before beginning the analysis of Estella in the novel which will try to give an answer to this question, we are going to deal with the symbology of the name of Estella. As we already know, the name of the characters in Dickens is very important. In the case of Estella indicates her personality, her relation with other characters and even the way in which she moves along the novel. It is obvious Estella makes a reference to stars. Stars are cold but beautiful to see. The same happens with Estella: she has a cold personality but she is very pretty. Remember she was given to Miss Havisham at night which is when stars appear. Stella (without the first 'e') is the name of Sydney's beloved. Probably he gave his beloved this name because she was married in the real life and so, he could not reach her. Stars are far and they can not be reached by us. In GE Estella is presented as an impossible dream for Pip. In the same way Pip has expectations in a material level, Estella would be Pip's love expectation. In a Christian sense, the star is a quality applied to the Virgin Mary. Stars are used for orientation, to guide us when we are lost at night. We could say the Virgin Mary lights her sons in the night of sin. In the novel, Estella appears as a light, it is Pip's orientation and he always has her in his mind. If we look at the sky we can see different kinds of stars. One of them is a star which moves and shines in an intermittent way. That's Estella's movement in the novel. Joe, who is always in the countryside, and Mr Jaggers, who is always in London, are characters who appear in series of chapters. In constrast to this, Estella appears in that intermittent way. And also the way in which Estella's story is presented by the different accounts of several characters. Perhaps the symbology provided has not clarified much the question: she's cold but she's very pretty, she's Pip's guide but he can not reach her. This is something ambiguous (remember also the ambiguity in which the convict is described in the fourth paragraph of the novel). The characters in the novel are not extremely good or extremely bad (the exception would be Joe, in the good part, and Orlick, in the bad part), they are between the two lists that I mentioned at the beginning of the paper. We will see this now, with the analysis of Estella. The first time which Estella appears in the novel is in chapter 8, in the first visit of Pip to Miss Havisham's house. The first impression Pip has about Estella is also characterized by ambiguity: he thinks she is pretty but she is proud. Miss Havisham obliges Estella to play cards with Pip. The first time which appears the card game in GE is in relation to the battle of sexes since, after her frustrated marriage, Miss Havisham educates Estella to scorn men and in the card game Miss Havisham wants to see a victory of a woman over a man. Estella wins but the most important thing here is that Estella does not want to play with Pip because she thinks he is common. This shows the pride and the superiority in which Estella is presented in her relation to Pip, and it's also important because, from this moment, Pip wants to be educated to be at the same level that Estella. At the beginning of the novel we, like readers, like Pip because he is poor, a non-cultivated boy and he is an orphan. Moreover, he, as a narrator, tries to get the readers' affection using irony and humour from the beginning. We are emphasizing this fact because in Pip's second visit (in chapter 11) we see how Estella asks Pip his opinion about her, he answers she is pretty, she hits him and asks the same question and Pip