Great expectations Essay
Chapter 11 sees Pip on his second visit to Satis House, and the early introduction of several important characters such as Jaggers and Herbert, who play vital roles in Pip’s later life and ‘great expectations’. Ms. Havisham’s poisoned and hateful mind can be seen through her malicious thoughts that are reflected through her choice of words: ‘I am yellow skin and bone’. She has clearly brooded a great deal over her past and has lived the majority of her adult life full of contempt and bitterness for the entire male race.
An air of Mystery is given to the fact that we do not actually know the cause of Ms. Havisham” resentment, all we do know is that she was once to be married, and due to some occurrence or misfortune, the wedding did not take, but everything, from that fateful day, has stayed still. The time has stopped at ‘twenty minutes to nine’, and even her ‘bride-cake’ is still there. One assumes, after reading the Chapter, that the mystery plot will be solved eventually, and the suspense lures the readers further into the novel . The suspense that surrounds the character of Ms.
Havisham is half-satisfied when the readers find out the truth of what actually happened to Ms. Havisham, (that she victim of a conspiracy of which her money was the ultimate motive), in Chapter 22 from Herbert. Satis House is dismal and unchanging. Like the ‘bride-cake, which now has ‘black fungus’ growing out of it and ‘speckled-legged spiders with blotchy bodies’ running to it, Ms. Havisham has also deteriorated. The vermin, the poison and the hate also rush flood to her mind, causing her to lose all control of any logical decisions or rational thoughts.
Like the cake, Ms. Havisham is also ‘dropping to pieces’, ‘covered with dust and mould’. Ms Havisham could be described as being Satis House herself, she has become part of her landscape, as she herself says: ‘It and I have worn away together’. All the death images, ‘corpse-like’, ‘shroud’, ‘grave-clothes’, all symbolise the slow death of Ms Havisham, the cruel image of her rotting and decaying a result of her twisted, evil mind. The suspense and thrilling horror surrounding Ms. Havisham sustains the readers’ attentions, as they listen attentively to hang on to every word she speaks, in the hope of any clues to what tragedy she was victim of that has made her into the person she is.
The dull nonsensical conversations made by the relatives emphasise just how intriguing Ms. Havisham’s character is. Her dramatic flairs of speech and over-exaggeration: ‘when they lay me dead’ captures the readers much more than the repetitive, irrelevant conversation made by the relatives. Ms. Havisham’s relations are characterised as being money-greedy, selfish people.
Their only reasons for visiting their half-sister is simply for her large fortune and in the hope that they, once she is finally dead, will inherit each large portions of her money. The dreary, dull conversations that seem to have no concluding points underlines the uselessness and narrow-mindedness of these people. Certainly, the descriptions of the relatives are far from flattering: ‘… so very blank and high was the dead wall of her face’. Dicken’s has chosen to make these characters into comic figures.
They represent Dicken’s view of the majority of middle-high class of society, educated yet still fools. Camilla, in particular, provides entertainment for the audience with her ridiculous self-pitying airs: ‘I cried about it from breakfast to dinner’. Her pretence is obvious, and one may guess from Ms. Havisham’s contempt for her relations that she understands that they care not for her but for her money: ‘… when you come to feast upon me’. Ms. Havisham’s relations are the image of a selfish and materialistic side of society.
The readers are given an early introduction to the character of Jaggers, Pip’s future lawyer and guide to his fortune and the world of industrious, educated so-called gentleman. Again, like Ms. Havisham, the readers are lured into the ‘burly man’ on the stairs. The description is mysterious and surprisingly detailed for just a stranger: ‘eyes set very deep in his head’. When Pip states: “He was nothing to me, and I could have had no foresight then, that he would be anything to me” Our suspicions are nearly confirmed that Jaggers will play an important part in Pip’s later life.
Jaggers’ description is interesting when one looks for clues in his personality, his eyes also being described as being: ‘disagreeable sharp and suspicious’, a clue to Jaggers’ alertness and ability to see through people as if they were transparent. His ‘bushy black eyebrows that wouldn’t lie down but stood up bristling’ symbolises Jaggers’ habit of attentively understanding a persons’ mind by every move that they make. The hands that ‘smelt of scented soap’ is Jaggers’ future tagline or reference to himself, the idea of washing away the guilt of dealing with guilty criminal convicts.
Herbert, ‘the Pale young gentleman’ is first introduced in this chapter, as an unhealthy boy, with ‘pimple on his face’ and a ‘breaking out at his mouth’, yet, his brave attitude and desperation to fight a fair and just battle appeals to the readers. As he says to Pip after he has been so easily defeated: ‘That means you have won’. Even Pip is surprised by his moral integrity: ‘He was so brave and innocent’, his ability to accept defeat and fight an unlikely battle gains respect from the readers, and Herbert is seen as a comical figure at his vain attempts fight back at Pip.
He later carries the image of honesty when he is an adult, and represents the gentleman whose of free-spirit, whose cares lie not in money and reputation, but in the happiness of life. In Chapter 11, we are introduced to several new characters and are given distinct and sometimes obvious clues to Pip’s later life. They later play a great influence on Pip’s thoughts, actions, and journey to become a true gentleman.