In chapter 8 of "Great Expectations," what does  Miss Havisham's appearance aptly remind Pip of?

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mwestwood eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Upon seeing Miss Havisham in the dim light of the candle on her dressing table, Pip remarks that he is reminded of both a "waxwork" at a Fair to which he was taken and an exhumed "skeleton in the ashes of a rich dress" dug out of a vault in a church graveyard.  Likewise, the waxwork was of "I know not what impossible personage lying in state," Pip states.

These images are appropriate to Miss Havisham who is, in a sense, the living dead.  For, her spirit was killed at twenty minutes to nine in the morning of her wedding day when she received the news that the groom would not be present for the wedding.  Since that moment, all progression as a vibrant person has been halted.  She has not even put on the other shoe, and she remains as she was when the news reached her at twenty until nine o'clock.  Thus, she is a shell of what she once was, a wax-like figure near to ashes.  This allusion to ashes is even more pertinent as in Book the Third of "Great Expectations," Miss Havisham is burned as she comes too close to the fireplace.

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Great Expectations

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