Chapter 8: How does Estella's contempt affect Pip and what do their interactions reveal about each of them?

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mwestwood's profile pic

mwestwood | College Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

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When Pip arrives with Uncle Pumblechook at Satis House, a beautiful young lady comes to the gate, but she only admits Pip.  Once inside the gate, Pip asks the young lady about the house; she tells him, but adds "But don't loiter, boy." Calling Pip "boy" many times, she conducts him through many a dark passage until he is sent on his own, saying,

“Don't be ridiculous, boy; I am not going in.” And scornfully walked away, and—what was worse—took the candle with her.

Pip encounters the recluse, Miss Havisham, who beckons to Estella to play cards with Pip.  Estella looks at Pip contemptuously,

"With this boy!  Why, he is a common laboring boy!" 

Estella speaks of Pip as though he is not present in the room.  She ridicules his calling the knaves jacks, and derogates his "coarse hands" and thick boots.  Pip, of course, is embarrassed by his boots and is awkward in her presence.  He misdeals and Estella castigates him as "a stupid, clumsy, laboring boy."  When Miss Havisham asks him what he thinks of Estella, Pip tells her that he finds her "very proud" and "insulting."  After the games, Estella leads Pip down the dark passagway again and tells him to wait.  When she returns she has some bread and meat.  Pip describes the scene,

She put the mug down on the stones of the yard, and gave me the bread and meat without looking at me, as insolently as if I were a dog in disgrace.  I was so humiliated, hurt, spurned, offended, angry, sorry, that tears started to my eyes.

Estella is delighted to see these tears of Pip's.  When she returns with keys to let him out. 

She gave me a triumphant glance in passing me, as if she rejoiced that my hands were so coarse and my boots were so thick...

Then, Estella asks Pip why he does not cry again: and, she pushes him out the gate with contempt. Clearly, her haughtiness and contempt for Pip have greatly injured him.  For, as he walks homward, he bemoans that he should have such coarse hands and be more ignorant that he had considered himself.  Pip feels that he is in "a low-lived, bad way." 

dssnmurthy's profile pic

dssnmurthy | College Teacher | (Level 1) eNoter

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When Pip meets Miss Havisham and Miss Estella  in rich clothes, neatly dressed and rich living he has passion for her. He plays cards with Estella and is insulted, humiliated and called rough coarse and common by Estella. He finds Estella to be proud, beautiful insulting young lady. He is very sad to have listened to all that Estella pronounced.

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