In Chapter 44 of Great Expectations, what does Pip say to Estella and how does she respond?

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accessteacher | High School Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

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It is in this important chapter that Pip confronts the woman who he had thought to be his benefactor and also the woman that he has come to love. When he turns to Estella, having spoken to Miss Havisham, he confesses his love for her, even though that now he knows the identity of his benefactor he recognises that any hopes of a marriage with her are highly unlikely. As he repeats his declaration, Estella only shakes her head, "perfectly unmoved." When she does respond verbally, she responds in such a fashion that kills any hope of marriage but also reveals more about her character and the kind of person that Miss Havisham has brought her up to be:

"It seems," said Estella, very calmly, "that there are sentiments, fancies--I don't know what to call them--which I am not able to comprehend. When you say you love me, I know what you mean, as a form of words; but nothing more. You address nothing in my breast, you touch nothing there."

Note how Estella reveals how successful Miss Havisham has been in bringing her up to be a breaker of hearts. She is untouched by emotion, unable to participate or truly understand such feelings as love and desire. Her heart is literally unreachable and even Pip's most ardent declaration of love is unable to produce in her any form of excitement. Note how she responds "very calmly" and that she is unable to describe fully the emotions that Pip expresses. She is innaccessible.

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