In Chapter 38 of "Great Expectations," what is the Richmond relationship between Pip and Estella?

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amy-lepore eNotes educator| Certified Educator

In Chapter 38, Pip visits Estella in Richmond.  Despite her cruelty toward him, he convinces himself that he is more miserable away from her than her teasing and insults make him when he is with her.  She uses Pip to tease her other beaus, so Pip is never completely happy when he is near her.  While in Richmond, Pip goes to his club and watches Drummle toast Estella which angers Pip.  Pip challenges Drummle to prove how he knows Estella since he believes Drummle can not know her as well as Pip does.  Drummle brings a note from Estella to Pip the next day as proof, and this crushes Pip since he knows how cruel and unworthy Drummle is for Estella.  Pip tries to warn Estella of these factors, and she tells Pip that she "deceives and entraps" all of her men...except Pip.

This comment gives him hope again, but also makes him miserable since he knows Drummle is not worthy of her attentions and Pip more than anything wants to believe that Pip has been chosen for Estella by Miss Havisham.


lit24 | Student

 In furtherance of Miss Havisham's diabolic plan to wreak vengeance on all men for the humiliation she suffered at the hands of Compeyson who cheated her on her wedding day Estella, on her return from France as an elegant lady  is to stay in Mrs.Bandley's (a former friend of Miss Havisham) home in Richmond on the outskirts of London city. Ch.33.

Pip, however,foolishly imagines that Miss Havisham has transformed Estella into an elegant lady to prepare her to become his  wife and becomes passionately infatuated with her: "my spirit was always wandering,wandering, wandering about that house." Ch.38.

Estella, on the contrary, uses Pip only as a means of making all her other admirers jealous by pretending to be intimate with Pip while in private she would remain aloof and cold towards him. Although Pip spent a lot of his time with her,he confesses dejectedly that "they were all miseries to me. I never had one hour's happiness in her society, and yet my mind all round the four-and -twenty hours was harping on the happiness of having her with me unto death." Ch.38.

Pip's conditon in Ch.38 could be termed as pathetic, because time and again Estella warns him not to fall in love with her: "will you never take warning?"Ch.38. Pip is blind in two ways: 1. he fails to recognise that Estella is actually Molly's daughter and 2. that Estella is only a puppet in the hands of Miss Havisham to take revenge on all men. 

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Great Expectations

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