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How does Dickens shape the readers’ first impression of Miss Havisham? Free essay! Download now

Home > GCSE > English literature > How does Dickens shape the readers’ first impression of Miss Havisham?

How does Dickens shape the readers’ first impression of Miss Havisham?

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Downloads to date: N/A | Words: 1800 | Submitted: 01-Sep-2008
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Miss Havisham's character in Dickens' Great Expectations.


In Miss Havisham’s room, there was a dressing room equipped with furniture. This shows that she is a rich person because in the 19th century, those people with dressing room in their house are considered to be rich. Pip noticed that there was a draped table with a gilded looking glass i.e. a glass decorated with gold. This also reflected on the richness of Miss Havisham. Because Pip was a poor boy, most of the things he saw in the room were strange to him and so their importance is not known to him. ‘‘whether I should have made out this objects so soon, if there had been no fine lady sitting on it, I can not say’’

Pip became fearful as a result of the person he saw in the room due to her appearance. ‘‘I saw that the bride within the bridal dress had withered like dress, and like flowers, and had no brightness left but the brightness of her sunken eyes’’.This means that the bridal dress had became old and had lost its colour and that the person he found inside the room (Miss Havisham) is old and had shrunk in size. ‘‘Had no brightness left but the brightness of her sunken eyes’’. Here Dickens used the word brightness and withered to inform the readers that almost everything Miss Havisham was wearing had lost its colour and that only her deep eye socket was bright. Pip then compared Miss Havisham to a horrible wax work of a person he has seen when he was young ‘‘Once I had been taken to see some ghastly waxwork at the fair, representing I know not what impossible personage lying in state’’.That the wax work looks like a dead body with a horrible face. He also talked about the remains of skeleton that was displayed in his church for people to come and see ‘‘Once, I had been taken to one of our old marsh churches to see a skeleton in the ashes of rich dress, that had been dug out of a vault under the church pavement’’.Here Dickens uses this two personal metaphors to tell the readers how horrible Miss Havisham looks. Basically he is saying Miss Havisham was a combination of the 2 bodies he had seen before because the dress she was wearing was hanging on her. Her body was not plump instead it was skinny and loose and this makes her look like a skeleton. Pip then thought that both the wax work and the skeleton he had seen seemed to have dark eyes that moved and was looking at him(he was referring to Miss Havisham) and as a result, he was scared saying ‘‘ I should have cried out if I could ’’, but he can not because he’s too frightened to cry out. As a result, the reader felt sorry for Pip as they were scared as well about Miss Havisham’s description by Pip.

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