How does Dickens create sympathy for his characters in Great Expectations? foucusing on miss havisham and setting

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amy-lepore eNotes educator| Certified Educator

With regard to Miss Havisham and the setting of her house...especially the room with the wedding cake and feast still laid out on the table...one can not help feel sorry for her.  She is still wearing her tattered wedding clothing, and has never put on the last stocking or shoe.  She is in a perpetual state of waiting for her love to come marry her, which we all know by now is not going to happen.  All the clocks are stopped at the exact time she found out that he wasn't coming.  Everything in that house is as if time stopped, except for the aging process and the rot and filth.  The bugs have made a feast of the food, her satins and laces are rotting and hanging in threads from her thin, wrinkled, and aging body.  She is hateful (understandable, don't you think?) and she does teach Estella to be hateful to all men, but she is still a very pitiful character.  Any reader who puts himself into her shoes would understand and relate to the pain and suffering she has gone through. 

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Great Expectations

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