Great Expectations

what happened when pip visited miss havisham's house the first time?

refer chapter I arrived at miss havisham from the story great expectation

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Chapter 8:

Pip spends the evening at Mr. Pumblechook's and is brought to Miss Havisham's after a meager breakfast. They are met at the gate by a young woman, Estella, "who was very pretty and seemed very proud." Estella lets Pip in, but sends Mr. Pumblechook on his way. She leads him through a dark house by candle and leaves him outside a door. He knocks and is let in. There he meets Miss Havisham, a willowy, yellowed woman dressed in an old wedding gown. She calls for Estella and the two play cards, despite Estella's objection that Pip was just a "common labouring-boy." "Well," says Miss Havisham, "you can break his heart." Estella insults Pip's coarse hands and his thick boots as they play.

Smarting from the insults, Pip later cries as he eats lunch in the great house's yard. He explores the yard and the garden, always seeing Estella in the distance walking ahead of him. Finally, she lets him out of the yard and he walks the four miles home, feeling low.


Dickens uses strong imagery to describe Miss Havisham's house ("The Manor House" or the "Satis House") as barren of feelings or even life, even before we meet the bitter Miss Havisham and the rude Estella: "The cold wind seemed to blow colder there, than outside the gate..." Again we have a strange mystery: Why is this woman always in the dark, and dressed in a wedding gown? Who is the young and pretty Estella and what is she doing in such a morbid place?

Pip's first taste of "higher society" is a bitter one, and it leaves him ashamed and embarrassed rather than justifiably angry. Pip is, in fact, just a toy for both Miss Havisham, who wants him to "play," and Estella, who treats him roughly while at the same time flirts. Pip, torn between being insulted and his attraction to Estella, opts to feel ashamed of his upbringing -- so much so that he "wished Joe had been rather more genteelly brought up." His new found respect and love for Joe was being spoiled by his embarrassment of being brought up in a lower class family.