Webster’s dictionary defines love in many different ways, ‘A feeling of intense desire and attraction toward a person with whom one is disposed to make a pair; the emotion of sex and romance. To have a feeling of intense desire and attraction toward (a person) (Webster, love)’;. In Great Expectations, Pip is going through maturity, and is always undergoing maturity. We find that Pip is always longing for friends, family, and for love. Love can be a number of things to different people. Love is an emotion, where there is no wrong definition, for it suits each and every person differently, however some characteristics are the same amongst everybody. Pip thinks he is in love, but in my paper I investigate if it’s a real desire of infatuation for Estella, or just a first big crush which lasted through out his teenage years.
Pip’s love for Estella is usually a one-way street, at least in his eyes. From the moment Pip meets her, he feels an attraction towards her. At the same token, Estella’s outward feelings towards Pip are confusing and cruel. From slapping him in the face as hard as she can, to making him feel as low as dirt saying he has coarse hands and thick soles and such, Estella is able to crush Pip inside. He feels as though he cannot let Estella know how he really feels besides telling Miss Havisham and Estella her self that she was pretty, yet mean. As time goes on, Pip learns all about Estella from her attitude and appearance. This attitude and appearance is what Pip wanted to attain so that Estella would love him. In chapter 17 Pip tells Biddy ‘ I am not at all happy as I am’; (Dickens, 127). He wants to become a gentleman, a complement to a gentlewoman–Estella. Again telling his feelings to Biddy, he professes. ‘ the beautiful young lady at Miss Havisham’s. And she’s more beautiful than anybody ever was, and I admire her dreadfully, and I want to be a gentle man on her account’; (Dickens, 129). This is the first time we learned about Pip’s love from Pip. Thus far we assume that he likes her, but we never actually hear him say it. The reasons, which he gave Biddy, are his desires, his own infatuation, or a ‘false love’;. Pip has no real ground to like, let alone love Estella since he hardly knows her at all. All Pip knows is a young girl, which was taught to break men’s hearts.
Estella is Miss Havisham’s mini me of her self, a heartbroken women who has no feelings of love, but only hatred in her heart. She taught Estella that men were bad because of her past, and Estella’s emotions and thoughts we buried under Miss Havisham’s thoughts. This was so early seen in the beginning when Estella proclaims that Pip is common. At this moment in time, Pip felt bad and Estella knew it, but past that she says more insulting things in front of Miss Havisham for she knows it makes her proud keeping her happy. This was horrible because it kept Estella from ever really loving somebody throughout the whole novel. Statements like, ‘Well? Can you break his heart?’; (Dickens, 60) which are the source for identity crises in this book amongst both Pip and Estella alike. The actions which came from statements by Miss Havisham are what keeps Pip and Estella constantly going through out constant identity changes, thus making it almost near to impossible to love. Pip never would be able to get a true grasp of who she was because she, like him, would change like the direction of wind at any given time.
For a great duration of the novel, Pip is infatuated with Estella. He thinks he is in love, but with no solid reasons as to why. As a reader, it can be perceived that Pip being a young man, is going through changes and is attracted physically to Estella however that can only measure so much of love. This was shown when Biddy told Pip she liked him, but he opted for Estella. Pip experienced new feelings, which he never had experienced, feelings that he doesn’t know about. Throughout the book we discover that his false love controls Pip. His infatuation for Estella inspires him to become an educated gentleman. We, like Pip have no idea how long he will feel like he does for Estella. We do know his infatuation is for the wrong reasons. Pip really didn’t have anybody or anything to compare his infatuation with, thus it gave him no reason not have one. He never had love before, not the love, leaving him nothing to compare to see if he is really in love.
Pip showed beyond a reasonable doubt in his mind, that he began with a deep infatuation for Estella. In the end of the novel, he learns that he does love Estella, and that his love will never be mutual. Throughout the book Pip professes his love for Estella, but she always says it can never happen. He thinks that there is always hope up until he finds out she is to be married to Drumle. In chapter 44 Pip makes a declaration to Miss Havisham in front of Estella, ‘ What I had to say to Estella, Miss Havisham, I will say before you, presently- in a few moments. It will not surprise you, it will not displease you. I am as unhappy as you can ever have meant me to be’; (Dickens, 359). This prepares Estella for what he is going to say, and assures that Miss Havisham has destroyed him as a man through Estella. Now that Miss Havisham is content, he turns to Estella, ‘ you know I love you, you know I have loved you long and dearly’; (Dickens, 361). Now Estella, along with, the reader know, he loves her officially, and he also tells her,
I should have said this sooner, but for my long mistake. It induced me to hope that Miss Havisham meant us for one another. While I thought you could not help yourself, as it were, I refrained from saying it. But I must say it now. (Dickens, 362)
This is the prelude to why he professes his love. He doesn’t want to see Estella marry Drummle for he knows he cannot ever attain Estella’s love, but at the same time he wants who ever is going to marry her to treat her like a queen. He wants to best for her. His boldness to be able to confront a problem, knowing he will never be apart of the solution shows how much indeed he does love her. But being Estella she replies to his statements by saying ‘… When you say you love me, I know what you mean, as a form of words; but nothing more…’; (Dickens, 362). She makes it known that she has never been in love, and is certainly not in love with him. If Pip was infatuated with Estella he would have begged and pleaded and be totally against Estella marrying the Drummle, but he was mature instead and accepted what the deck had dealt him, hoping that she would be happy. Pip now comes to the realization that he must move on.
Pip wants, finds, and deals with love. He knows that Estella is out of the picture. He realizes from her saying I have no heart, at this point in her life, she is incapable of love. He deals with this by wishing her the best and wanting the best for her. He will always love her but he knows he cannot have her. In the beginning we think that he isn’t in love, for he doesn’t even know Estella, to the terms of what we think would be the foundation for any loving relationship. She treats him like crap and tries to make him feel like crap 24 hours a day. The saying, ‘the ones you hate, are the ones you really love’;, applies in this book. Deep beneath that hard skin, I think Estella has feelings for Pip-not necessarily the feelings of love, but feelings. Through Pips trials and tribulations, he has learned all about love. Since Estella was his first infatuation, he had nothing to compare his feelings to, but in the future he will always be able to compare. A good guess to how we can imply that he will love someone would be if he thought of her as a queen. Pip learns and figures out love from everything he has been through. He is capable of loving and knowing when love has begun and ended. But, like all good things (like love and this paper) they must come to an end until another good thing comes along; another wonderful girl- a girl which loves Pip for Pip, as he does for her.
WWWebster Dictionary ‘Love’;
Merriam-Webster, Incorporated 1999
(26 November 1999)
Dickens, Charles. Great Expectations. New York. Penguin Classic, 1996