Great Expectations Questions and Answers
by Charles Dickens

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What did Herbert tell Pip about Estella near chapter 25?

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Dolly Doyle eNotes educator | Certified Educator


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Herbert reveals how Estella is being used as a tool of vengeance by Miss Havisham. He knows about all this because he was also used as a playmate for Estella years ago.

Estella bears no relation to Miss Havisham, but was adopted by her. Miss Havisham was jilted by a lover years ago and now seeks to break the hearts of men the way a man broke hers. Herbert says that Estella is cold and haughty not because she is naturally as such but because Miss Havisham molded her that way so she could hurt men in Miss Havisham's place.

At this point, both Pip and Herbert assume Miss Havisham is Pip's mysterious benefactor. It won't be revealed that it's actually Magwitch until much later.

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litteacher8 eNotes educator | Certified Educator

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In chapter 22, Herbert Pocket tells Pip Estella’s story.  He’s a relative, so he has the inside scoop.

He tells Pip:

“I don't say no to that, but I meant Estella. That girl's hard and haughty and capricious to the last degree, and has been brought up by Miss Havisham to wreak revenge on all the male sex.”

This is the first time Pip learns a little bit of his place in the scheme, as a playtoy for Estella to learn her revenge against men.

We learn that she is the daughter of Magwitch and Molly.  Molly is now working for Jaggers, and Magwitch is the convict that Pip helped in the marshland as a young boy.  Molly wanted to kill the baby to get back at Magwitch.  Magwitch was sent to Australia, and Estella was sent to live with Miss Havisham, so that she would be safe.  Apparently  no one realized how unstable she was (or cared)!  Miss Havisham was so unstable because she was jilted at the altar on her wedding day.

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