Illustration of Pip visiting a graveyard

Great Expectations

by Charles Dickens

Start Free Trial

In Great Expectations, how does Estella treat Pip at their first meeting?

Expert Answers

An illustration of the letter 'A' in a speech bubbles

Estella treats Pip very scornfully when they first meet. They first encounter one another when she lets him into Satis Hall, where he has come to meet Miss Havisham. From the start, Estella seems haughty and proud. She makes no effort to smile or be pleasant, and she calls Pip...

This Answer Now

Start your 48-hour free trial to unlock this answer and thousands more. Enjoy eNotes ad-free and cancel anytime.

Get 48 Hours Free Access

"boy" over and over, although they seem to be the same age. As Pip recounts:

She seemed much older than I, of course, being a girl, and beautiful and self-possessed; and she was as scornful of me as if she had been one-and-twenty, and a queen.

Estella has been raised to be cold by Miss Havisham. This is Miss Havisham's way of getting back at all men because of the hurt she suffered when her betrothed left her at the altar. Pip, of course, doesn't understand this and assumes when he comes into his great expectations that Miss Havisham is behind his new status. He believes she wants to raise him up to be a gentleman so that he can marry Estella, but that could not be further from the truth.

Approved by eNotes Editorial
An illustration of the letter 'A' in a speech bubbles

When they first meet, Estella treats Pip horribly.  She makes fun of his appearance, his stature (social status) and how he speaks.  She mentions his clothing and his thick-soled shoes.  She repeats the phrase "common boy" when referring to him or even speaking directly to him.  Then she teases him for calling the Jacks (in a deck of cards) Knaves.

In fact, she seems eager to make him cry. Miss Havisham raised her to be cruel and reject any form of love. She herself was never taught to love or how to feel loved.  So her first encounter and many more after that with Pip are all very hard on him.  He so badly wants to win her over, only to finally realize that she will never have him. 

Approved by eNotes Editorial
An illustration of the letter 'A' in a speech bubbles

In Great Expectations, how does Estella treat Pip on his second visit?

In Chapter XI of Great Expectations, Pip returns to Satis House and finds it occupied with guests, but Estella is even crueler to Pip, hitting him and calling him names.

When Pip arrives at Satis House for his second visit, Estella comes to lead him into a gloomy room with a low ceiling. There are some people already in the room, and Estella tells Pip to stand by the window and wait until he is called. Later, Estella calls to Pip and again they walk along a dark passageway.

"Well, miss," I answered, almost falling over her and checking myself.
..."Am I pretty?"
"Yes; I think you are very pretty."
"Am I insulting?"
"Not as much as you were last time," said I.
"Not so much so?"
She slapped my face with such force as she had.
"Now?" said she. "You little coarse monster what do you think of me now?"
"I shall not tell you."

Estella then accuses Pip of waiting until he is upstairs to report her cruel act to Miss Havisham or Mr. Jaggers, who is also there. Then she asks him why he does not cry; Pip replies that he will never again let her see him cry. After this, Miss Havisham has him walk her around a room with a rotting cake. She tells Pip it is her birthday. After this they return to the first room and Miss Havisham has Pip and Estella play cards. All the time that they play, Miss Havisham draws Pip's attention to Estella's beauty, which she enhances by placing jewels on her throat and hair.

Later, Pip encounters the pale young gentleman, who insists that they box and follow the rules of the Marquis of Queensbury. Pip proves the stronger. So Pip says "good afternoon" to him and returns to the courtyard. There Estella stands "with a bright flush on her cheeks." "You may kiss me if you like," she tells Pip. Although Pip kisses her, he feels as though the kiss were given the coarse common boy as a piece of money might have been, and that it was worth nothing.

It was a mere token prize to the boy who won the fight--nothing more.

Last Updated on
An illustration of the letter 'A' in a speech bubbles

How does Estella treat Pip in their first meeting?

Estella is scornful and arrogant to Pip on their first meeting. She calls him "boy" over and over again, even though they are about the same age. She does this despite the fact that he is very respectful of her and calls her "miss." Pip notes that she acts as if she is older than he is. He attributes this to her being a beautiful girl and very self assured. He says she behaves as "if she had been one-and-twenty, and a queen."

What Pip doesn't know at this point is that Estella has been deliberately brought up by Miss Havisham to be proud and scornful of the male sex. Miss Havisham means for her to break Pip's heart in revenge for her own distress and heartbreak at having been left at the marriage altar many years before.

Last Updated on