Miss Havisham seems a particularly creepy figure as she sits at a dressing table in an old, yellowed wedding gown. The room seems to be frozen in time, and Miss Havisham, dressed as a bride, looks more like a corpse. When Pip sees Miss Havisham, she is still wearing her wedding dress. “She was dressed in rich materials – satins, and lace, and silks – all of white. Her shoes were white. And she had a long white vail, dependant from her hair, and she had bridal flowers in her hair, but her hair was white. ” Making Miss Havisham wear her wedding dress at first gives us the impression that she maybe is meant to be getting married that day.
However we do soon find out that she has been in her dress for years. This shows us that Miss Havisham is depressed. Throughout the next 10 or so chapters, Pip leaves and moves to London with the money from an unknown source. Pip becomes a gentleman living with his friend. In Chapter 27, Joe Gargery comes to visit Pip in London. After Pip reads the letter from Joe’s new wife, he then says “Let me confess exactly with what feelings I looked forward to Joes coming. Not with pleasure… ” This sentence shows us that Pip had grown up and matured also. And even become a snob.
Pip now looks down on Joe as he is common and not a gentleman like Pip. These few lines spoken by Pip start to make us feel a bit distant from him as he is now so different, it’s as if the reader doesn’t know this man. When Pip arrives, he greets Joe saying “How are you Joe? ” to which Joe replies “Pip, how air you Pip? ” Joe’s speech is a garbled attempt at sounding over-eloquent. It could read as if Joe is mimicking Pip, trying to say that he is posh, however, I think that all Joe is trying to do is act more upper class than he is infront of Pip so as not to embarrass him.
However, he does. Joe then says “Us two being alone now sir-” as to which Pip interrupts. By calling Pip “Sir,” and he seems to use his hat to divert his nervous energy, and it’s constantly falling on the floor. This passage makes the reader feel uncomfortable for both Pip and Joe as the use of dramatic irony sets in. We know what both the characters are thinking and feeling, yet they do not. In Chapter 48, we read that Pip has to travel back to meet Miss Havisham. She has requested to meet with him.
In chapter 49 Pip arrives at Miss Havisham’s house. On of the first few lines we read are after Miss Havisham say “Thank you” to Pip and we read that Pip “remarked a new expression on her face, as if she were afraid of me. ” This shows automatically that there has been a role reversal. Earlier Pip had been weak and timid and now it is as if Miss Havisham is the child. The cruelty of her actions seems to have finally hit her, and she breaks down, crying “What have I done! ” and even falls to her knees before Pip and begs his forgiveness.
Dickens uses Miss Havisham in this Chapter as if she had ‘seen the light’ and wants to repent her sins. At first in the book we don’t really like her, but now as she repents we grow fond of her and do indeed like her. Pip leaves the room, though returns a few minutes later on some odd presentiment. Just as he walks through the door, the old woman’s dress catches fire, and Pip wrestles her to the ground to smother the flames. Both of them are burned, Miss Havisham so badly that she is wrapped in gauze and laid out on the bridal table, in a sort of hideous echo of her normal white bridal gear.
The doctor warns that there is danger of her going into nervous shock. To conclude. Charles Dickens, one of the great writers of his time, uses many different techniques in Great Expectations to manipulate the reader’s feelings towards a character, such as repetition, confusion, the use of colours and dramatic irony. He uses his techniques to make us feel sorry for the ‘bad’ characters yet he controls this so that by the end we do Infact like them, which is why he is know worldwide for his work today.