Who has lost the most in Great Expectations?

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Michael Foster eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Many of the characters in Great Expectations experience loss. Pip has lost his blood relations (his sister surviving into the story but dying from Orlick’s attack), with only Joe remaining. He loses Biddy to Joe, when he realizes that Estella can never be his and thinks that he and Biddy might be married. He has lost his dream of becoming the kind of gentleman he imagines. Estella has lost her parents as well, never knowing that they were both still alive. She loses her security when she marries Drummle, who is abusive to her but has the grace to free her by dying.

Over all, it is Miss Havisham who has lost the most, having nothing left when she dies. She has driven Estella away when the girl experiences the sad results of her teaching. She has never had any kind of relationship with her Pocket cousins, as much as they hang on to her in hopes of some inheritance. She almost loses Pip through her taunting and cruelty, but in the end it is Pip who is with her to rescue her from the flames. He still regards her with some affection, despite his realization that she is not his benefactor, and mourns for her at her death, but mostly because of all the things in life that she willfully threw away with both hands.

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Great Expectations

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