15 Oct 2009

Sample Essay: Movie: American Beuty

Many of the characters in the film exhibit symptoms of severely low self-esteem. At the end of the film, many of these characters have begun to recover  to like themselves and their lives. But two principal characters are quite the contrary. Lester and the colonel are two very specific cases and are quite different to the rest of the characters.

ells the story of Lester Brunham, an ordinary American man who finds a way to free himself from his mundane, loveless existence. For one year, Lester lives the opposite of the traditional American Dream: he quits his job, blackmails his boss, gets a job working at a fast-food restaurant, and spends his time smoking pot with the teenage dealer next door and lifting weights in his garage. While this transformation could be dismissed as a run-of-the-mill mid-life crisis, actually Lester is getting his self esteem back. Many would describe his behavior as infantile but a regression doesn’t have to necessarily mean that one is infantile or that he or she has a disorder. It is a defense mechanism against dissatisfaction in life and it helps Lester cope with what his life has become. One of the most surrealistic scenes in the movie is when Lester actually sees his wife with another man. Lester’s deeply repressed wife, Carolyn, is having an affair with a local real-estate giant and when he hears them cuddling and giggling through the microphone of the drive in where he works he just continues to behave as a waiter and pays no attention to his wife’s attempts to explain thing. On the other hand had the “before” Lester found put that his wife is having an affair, he would most probably have a fit of rage since that used to be one of few things that would break the monotony of old Lester’s life. Actually the entire movie revolves around Lester’s rejuvenation and re discovery of life, with his radical moves he has regained the force and the adrenaline of youth. His rejuvenation and self esteem grow to such a point where he seriously contemplates seducing a girl that is the age of his daughter.

But that is only the first layer that one gets out of the movie. Even if Lester does have fantasies about the moment of sleeping with his daughter’s friend he does not want to take her virginity, because even if he seems to have been rejuvenated Lester is still a mature and grown person who is merely getting back in touch with the things is life that used to make him happy. He smokes pot, he works out, he gets a crappy job, and he starts living life again, trying to make up for all the time he has lost being a corporate hooker (as he puts it). He tries to get his wife and daughter back, and to start relationships with them anew but he fails miserably, so he pursues happiness as best as he can. Making friends with a strange kid he met one night, who turns out to be his neighbour, and his drug dealer, as well as his daughters boyfriend. Lester is the ideal person for the male menopause anti-hero. He pisses everyone off, he black mails his boss, he spits on the pretend family illusion that many families have, he does things his own way, because he fells he has lost everything. He even gets his car, the car he always wanted, the whole point being that one day Lester decides that he has had enough nuisance, from everyone, and that he will live life the way he should, and he lets no one stand in his way.

The paradox of the entire movie is that Lester dies as soon as he rediscovers life. It is almost as the director is sending us a message that it is dangerous to enjoy life or at least that alternative ways of life might get you killed, even by accident. Had Lester not smoked pot, the colonel’s son wouldn’t roll his joints and than the colonel wouldn’t think they were having oral sex and consequently the colonel wouldn’t try to kiss Lester and wouldn’t kill lester in order to keep his secret. Interestingly enough throughout the movie only the colonel seems confident of himself and presents himself as somebody who is in absolute control in his fascist military manner. Ironically enough as repressed homosexual he is the one who turns out to have the least self confidence  and self esteem, we may therefore conclude that the gay hating colonel hates himself and that Lester died in his prime living the life of a teenager and without actually ever finding real love since the love of his wife never really existed or died long ago.

11 Oct 2009

Sample Essay: Lolita,Humbert's Obsession

Love is an abstraction that can be described about as easily as telling someone where the sky begins. It is a concept that can only be based off the person thinking it. So to be in love can mean something completely different to two separate people. In the story of Lolita, many people claim that Humbert Humbert was just obsessed with Lolita. But what is obsession? Why can’t obsession be love? I believe that Humbert, or in the non-fictional case, Nabokov, can only decide that. And because of this I believe we have to trust Humbert in his feelings toward Lolita that they are not totally out of love and not purely of obsession, but a combination of both.

What is the difference between obsession and love? If you were to ask someone whether or not it was love or obsession that caused a man, a husband, if you will, to remain faithful to his wife, I’d be willing to bet their answer would be love. The ideas of love and obsession and very small. I don’t see much of a difference at all. Or rather, I see a form of unity. The only difference, maybe, would be the reciprocating party. For if the other does not love on an equal plane, then perhaps the allusion of obsession can drift in. But again, in the eyes of the beholder, what may be obsession to others, is true love to them.

The book itself has been a controversy for years. It was unable to find a publisher for quite some time (Edmunds). And as Stephen Metcalf, accurately sums it up, “Public taste was never meant to catch up to Humbert Humbert…[yet] you must look past its beauty to recognize how shocking it is,” (Metcalf). So we come back to the dichotomy of love v. obsession. The word obsession always seems to have a bit of distaste to it. But how can something that needs to have its beauty overlooked to see how shocking it is, be considered distasteful. I understand the man, Humbert Humbert is quite vile in thought, but because he is writing this down for us in the form of a journal written in prison, then doesn’t his eloquent words overrule obsession and therefore enter the vein of love?

It is clear from the beginning that Humbert clearly has strong feelings for this woman. Starting from the first chapter, from the first two lines, we feel this power. “Lolita, light of my life, fire of my loins. My sin, my soul.” (Nabokov 1). This is not to say that his love for her is not an obsession, because one cannot have one without the other. This is a totally logical statement. If a mother was not obsessed with her child, could she provide for it in the manner a mother must? If Beethoven wasn’t obsessed with music, could he have been able to write his ninth? Yet, this argument, I understand is not the same as Humbert’s love/obsession for Lolita, but the point I’m trying to get at is, aren’t some forms of love encouraged by obsession and some forms of obsession encouraged by love? Please, though, do not misunderstand me, for as I write this, I am horrified that there could be an acceptable rational which could condone a pedophile to love a child in the same way two people of the same age could. No situation should be acceptable. But to belabor the point, we are only reading one person’s version. It is only his world we see, and therefore we have to be more objective.

To grasp the full concept of Humbert’s words, the reader not only has to look back in time, but look forward as well (McLaughlin). Written in “The Review of Contemporary Fiction,” Robert McLaughlin states that, “Lolita is often two things at once…By generating this disturbingly both/and perspective, it calls for a strategy of double-reading on our part.” (McLaughlin). I couldn’t agree more. What McLaughlin is saying is that even what we are reading, the literal word itself, has two meanings. This explanation is quite relevant in the discussion of whether or not Humbert was in love or obsessed. Because if we only see Humbert’s view as obsessive then we miss half of the idea, which is enough to skew the entire meaning. Hearing only Humbert’s words as obsessive or as love would be to throw down judgment upon the narrator and condemn the book and the Nabokov. We would be undermining the very thing that complex literature does, which is to explain the world.

Going back to one of Humbert’s relationships, one could say that Annabel was Humbert’s first real “love”, since he met her when they were young and had never actually consummated their love. But placing Lolita against that kind of feeling, driving Humbert out of the mental prison of the twenty-four year love/obsession with Annabel, shows that his feelings leaned toward love.

I think the notion of obsession derives from his insatiable allure to “nymphets”. It is wrong to overlook that he, in fact, has a problem with sexually lusting after young children. This, especially in today’s world, is hard to stomach. Watching the protagonist fanaticize over girls while they play on the playground is unnerving, to say the least. But when he is describing the kind of person it takes to find “nymphets” attractive, Humbert paints a very despicable person who is also self-aware of such flaws, one who is, “…a madman, a creature of infinite melancholy,” (Nabokov 18). There is no mention of love in that description. When realizing what kind of man lusts after a “nymphet” only a twisted need appears, only a sick obsession.

As time in the novel progresses, we begin to see even more of Humbert’s bizarre qualities. After Valeria leaves him for the taxi driver, Humbert goes to New York and has several breakdowns. This again leads me to believe that Humbert had some serious issues in relation to his mental health, which plays in greatly to his obsession with young girls. But the question of love vs. obsession comes in, after Humbert meets Lolita for the first time. The incident I am thinking about is in chapters thirteen and fourteen.

Though it is extremely disturbing, we have to look through Humbert’s eyes on morality, play the clichéd “devils advocate”. In chapter thirteen Humbert describes a sexual episode with the unknowing Lolita where he clearly violates her. But the strange thing, the thing that might point to a feeling of love within Humbert is in chapter fourteen when he is pleased with himself that he has managed to pleasure himself, yet while also keeping the purity of Lolita. He says, “I had stolen the honey of a spasm without impairing the morals of a minor,” (Nabokov 65). Yet, within the next several sentences he claims that, “What I had madly possessed was not she, but my own creation, another, fanciful Lolita…” (Nabokov 65). It strikes me as odd, that these two ideas would be joined so paradoxically together in such quick succession; one with the keeping of moral purity and the other dealing with an invention. This is why, again, I feel that we cannot simply declare that Humbert was singularly obsessing or singularly in love; it is a combination of both.

Like I said earlier in the essay, for it to be love, there must some form of reciprocation. Even though Lolita is a child and more than likely implying a childlike crush on Humbert, she does respond positively to him. And because he is our narrator, we are only being told this story through his words. We have no choice but to believe what he is saying to be true. Again I am forced to believe this a combination of love and obsession due to Humbert’s desire to obtain sleeping pills so he can give them to Lolita and Charlotte, therefore being able to fondle Lolita. This is not reciprocated on the part of Lolita, which would fall toward the obsessive.

It is not until the end of the book, where it should be, I suppose, that the true metaphor of the love/obsession debacle is quasi-resolved. On page 327, Humbert tells us about writing about Lolita, he says, “I thought I would use these notes in toto at my trial, to save not my head, of course, but my soul. In mid-composition, however, I realized that I could not parade living Lolita.” (Nabokov 327). I think that in the entire shameless obsession Humbert has acted in, we see here that he is sincere in his love for her and that he realizes he has done wrong.

It is quite reasonable to see Nabokov’s character, Humbert, as a pedophilic maniac, who stalks children and seduces them in subtle and disgusting ways, but it is impossible to justify the authenticity of his manifesto and whether or not he loves her. We have to place trust, however hard that may seem, into the narrator, and that he is telling the truth of his feelings.

1. A specific mention of time, is when Humbert says that it has been twenty four years since he has had any feelings toward a girl that were not related to Annabel. Humbert believes that this expansive amount of time is quite significant in relation to love.

2. The very fact that at the end of the novel he is in prison shows that he was ultimately not in control. Because if he was in control Lolita would have never run off and Humbert never would’ve killed Quilty.

3. b: I find the protective nature Humbert’s specter will show if any man decides to treat his wife badly, interesting. This change in attitude is quite drastic.

4. Yes, I think he has come to love, but since he has obsessed over her for such a long time, I also feel like he sees Lolita as strictly his. So again, it’s not as simple as plainly saying he has come to love her.

Works Cited.

Edmunds, Jeff. “‘Lolita’: Complex, often tricky and ‘a hard sell’.” CNN.com 9 Apr 1999
4 Oct 2008


McLaughlin, Robert. “Lolita: A Janus Text.” The Review of Contemporary Fiction 1995.

Metcalf, Stephen. “The Disgusting Brilliance of Lolita.” Slate Magazine 19 Dec 2005 4

Oct 2008 < http://www.slate.com.id/2132708/>.

Nabokov, Vladimir. Lolita. Fifth. NewYork: Alfred A. Knopf, Inc. 1955.

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05 Oct 2009

Sample Essay: The Politics, Economy, and Liberal Cosmopolitanism of Venice

Justice and Mercy in “The Merchant of Venice”

The Merchant of Venice is one of the most frequently performed plays of Shakespeare. Written between 1594 and 1598 in Elizabethan England where the playwright lived, the play is thematically rich. The themes of mercy, religion (Christianity and anti-Semitism), love and revenge, law and justice are all inextricably interwoven into the plot lending it the complexity that is characteristic of human emotions and relationships. The inexplicable unfolding of these underlying emotions and ideas contribute to the drama. One school of critics are of the opinion that the play is fundamentally allegorical, addressing such themes as the victory of mercy over justice, New Testament forgiveness over Old Testament law and love over money. Shakespeare also portrays the economic trends of the Renaissance period, the growing power of money and emerging capitalism in Merchant of Venice.

The dramatist has interwoven the ideas of justice and mercy throughout the plot, rendering them one of the prominent themes. The Christian merchant Antonio was forced to enter into a contract with Jewish usurer Shylock when he had to borrow money from him to help his friend. His friend was Bassanio, who was living in debt, but required the funds to travel to Belmont and woo Portia, a rich heiress. Because most of Antonio’s money is tied up in his ships, he cannot help Bassanio, but agrees to post his property as collateral so Bassanio can obtain a loan. Bassanio borrows money from Shylock who had reason to hate Antonio and his Christian friends as they often ridiculed him. Antonio had treated Shylock disdainfully, had spat upon him and had threatened his livelihood by lending money to others without interest, Shylock insists on the condition that if funds were not returned in three months, Antonio must forfeit a pound of flesh. Antonio agrees to this strange condition, confident that his ships will return with merchandise soon and he will be able to repay the loan. Meanwhile when Shylock’s daughter Jessica elopes with Bassanio’s friend Lorenzo, taking with her jewels and gold and converts to Christianity, Shylock’s hatred for Antonio and his friends intensifies. This is depicted in Act 2, Scene 8, when Salanio and Salarino exchange news in a Venetian street. They inform him that Antonio’s ships are lost and ask him if he will exact the forfeit of his bond. Shylock answers that he will as he was always ill treated by Antonio and his friends. His sentiments are evident in the following extracts:

“I am a Jew. Hath not a Jew eyes? Hath not a Jew hands, organs, dimensions, senses, affections, passions? Fed with the same food, hurt with the same weapons, subject to the same diseases, healed by the same means, warmed and cooled by the same winter and summer, as a Christian is? If you prick us, do we not bleed? If you tickle us, do we not laugh? If you poison us, do we not die? And if you wrong us, shall we not revenge? (3. 1. 23)”

“…if it will feed nothing else, it will feed my revenge; he hath disgraced me, and hinder’d me half a million, laughed at my losses, mock’d at my gains, scorned my nation, thwarted my bargains, cooled my friends, heated mine enemies – and what’s his reason? I am a Jew.” (3. 1. 47-52)

The multiple themes of justice and mercy, love and revenge, Christianity and anti-Semitism all come to a climax in the court room scene in Act 4, Scene 1.

..    At the Venetian court of justice before the Duke of Venice, the duke asks Shylock to show mercy by giving up his claim for a pound of flesh. Shylock refuses. Bassanio then offers Shylock more than he is owed, but Shylock continues to insist on exacting a pound of flesh. Nerissa, dressed like a law clerk, arrives and introduces the disguised Portia as Bellario, a learned doctor of law. Portia entreats for mercy on behalf of Antonio,

‘The quality of mercy is not strain’d,
It droppeth as the gentle rain from heaven
Upon the place beneath: it is twice bless’d;
It blesseth him that gives and him that takes:
‘Tis mightiest in the mightiest: it becomes
The throned monarch better than his crown;
His sceptre shows the force of temporal power,
The attribute to awe and majesty,
Wherein doth sit the dread and fear of kings;
But mercy is above this sceptred sway;
It is enthroned in the hearts of kings,
It is an attribute to God himself;
And earthly power doth then show likest God’s
When mercy seasons justice.” (4. 1. 180-193)

She tells Shylock mercy cannot be forced from someone; it must be freely given. Ordinary people are seldom asked to display this quality. It is a gift given from kings and rulers. Shakespeare explores the tension between justice and mercy through the attitudes of Shylock and Portia. Portia’s understanding of mercy is based on the way Christians in Shakespeare’s time understood the difference between the Old and New Testaments. According to the writings of St. Paul in the New Testament, the Old Testament depicts God as stern and exacting. The New Testament portrays a God who forgives rather than punishes and offers salvation to those who forgive others.

The theme of mercy also ties in with the theme of religion. Portia says, “it is an attribute to God himself” and refers to the God of the New Testament, who is seen as merciful. The idea that Christians are merciful is repeatedly enforced in the play. In the extract Shylock says that mercy is for fools, or Christians, “I’ll not be made a soft and dull-eyed fool, to Christian intercessors.”

The theme of revenge is linked to the theme of religion as Shylock believes that revenge is a Christian quality (just as Portia believes that mercy is a Christian quality).

“If a Christian wrong a Jew, what should his sufferance be by Christian example? – why revenge!” (3. 1. 63-64)

Shylock seeks revenge by exploiting the power of the law, and Portia manipulates the law to turn it against Shylock.

This theme is also repeated in the scene that Shylock demands his justice by the letter of the law and the forfeit of his bond. Portia lets Shylock have the chance to take the moral path or the letter of his bond. Shylock insists on the penalty, complacent in the knowledge that law and justice is on his side, deaf to appeals for mercy. Then suddenly the balance of power in the trial changes. Portia warns Shylock that when he cuts away the pound of flesh, he must take only flesh, not blood; for the signed agreement calls only for a pound of flesh and nothing else.

‘Then take thy bond, take thou thy pound of flesh;
But, in the cutting it, if thou dost shed
One drop of Christian blood, thy lands and goods
Are, by the laws of Venice, confiscate
Unto the state of Venice.” (4. 1. 308-312)

Portia expounds on mercy, but it is doubtful whether Sherlock was granted this mercy. All his worldly goods were to be divided between his daughter and Antonio, although Antonio gives them back on the condition that he gives up his religion and adopts Christianity.

“The Jew shall have all the justice, soft no haste!

He shall have nothing but the penalty.” (4. 1. 317)

Bloom in “Shakespeare’s Politics” says that Shylock and Antonio act as representatives of Judaism and Christianity, respectively, and that it is Shylock’s absolute deference to the law that necessarily brings about his downfall. In this interpretation, Bloom illustrates the limits of law as to its ability to ultimately protect and maintain justice.     In Tovey’s “The Golden Casket: An Interpretation of the Merchant of Venice”, the play is treated as an allegory relating philosophy and politics.

In “The Merchant of Venice”, justice and mercy are recurring themes, and the interplay between them has a key role in determining the outcome of the play.

Works Cited

1.     Bloom, Allan with Harry V. Jaffa. Shakespeare’s Politics, 3rd ed., Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1981. pp. 16

2.     Cummings, Michael J. The Merchant of Venice – A Study Guide, http://www.cummingsstudyguides.net, 2003.

3.     Tovey, Barbara. The Golden Casket: An Interpretation of The Merchant of Venice, pp. 261-287, ISI Books, 2000.

26 Jun 2009

Sample Essay: Great Expectations By Charles Dickens

“We need never be ashamed of our tears”.

Charles Dickens

The 1861 novel of the English writer Charles Dickens, “Great Expectations”, is one of the greatest English novels in the last three centuries. What made this novel one of the greatest is its sheer realism, realism that most probably had occurred in Victorian-age England. The realism that was abundant in the novel dealt with love, betrayal, the deceiving power of money, etiquette, pride, prejudice, devotion and gratitude. The story primarily revolved around the protagonist Philip ‘Pip’ Pirrip whose life had the most uncanny of events, coincidences and significant twists, his rise to the life of being a London gentleman, a companion to the rich old spinster Miss Havisham and her beautiful but snob adopted daughter, Estella. The novel has three parts, the First, Second and Third Stage of Pip’s Expectations. Each stage of Pip’s Expectations are the respective chapters of his life, his life as a child, his life as a paid companion to the Havishams and his subsequent life feigning his class and being ashamed of his humble origins with his sister and her husband, who was Pip’s first father figure, since he was an orphan. His eventual status of being a London gentleman and his affairs with the people of the elite and high society.

One of the most interesting aspects of this Dickensian novel is the plot on love, and though the novel has two distinct and contrasting endings. Pip matured as a paid companion to Miss Havisham and her daughter, admiring her as who she was, even if the fact that she is a rich snob makes him lonely, and it made him afraid to show or confide to anyone his humble beginnings and signs that he lacked etiquette and gentleman virtues. His love for Estella never waned, in spite of the warnings his friend and the Havishams’ relative Herbert that Estella was being brought up to exact revenge on the male population to avenge Miss Havisham’s agonizing pain when she was abandoned by an erstwhile lover.

Ironic as it may have seemed, but Miss Havisham never loved Estella for real. She gave her all she had, provided her more than enough and yet the young Estella had always longed for love. The companionship that Pip gave was paid, and the two protagonists seemed to have shared a phony love, though in the more pleasant ending of Dickens, they ended up being together and vowed never to part was again. Going back to Estella, Miss Havisham raised her in a way that she had to be loved by everybody. In one scene in the novel, when Pip was asked by Miss Havisham if he admired Estella, she blurted out incessantly, “Love her, love her, love her, love her, love her, love her! If she favors you, just love her, if she wounds you, love her, if she tears your heart to pieces, love her, and as it gets older and stronger, it will tear deeper, love her, love her, love her, love her!”  This relentless yelling of Miss Havisham at Pip only insinuated that she had treated Estella with utmost care, and she only expected the best treatment reciprocated. Pip almost thought that Miss Havisham was mad, for in his mind, had the word “love” was replaced by “hate” her yelling would have certainly sounded more like a horrifying curse.

In the more latter part of the story wherein Pip is on the verge of being eaten by jealousy because of the many men entertained by Estella, the words uttered by her seemed to at least comfort him in the most subtle way. “Do you want me then to deceive and entrap you?..” those words of Estella subtly reminded Pip that he is the only person whom she trusts completely. Their phony love for each other seemed to have reached a new level, a level where it had shed off its coating of pretension and welcomed the dawn of a new chapter in Pip’s life, his pursuit of Estella’s love.

The plot of the blossoming love between Pip and Estella was not the primary object of the novel. It had only pictured that though often embedded in the most unpleasant of elements and unlikely circumstances, love could still thrive, if the two sides who are in love can hurdle the trials that life has thrown at them. The trials and challenges that came their way were in no way easy to accept, Estella raised in such a way that she could never be the woman she wanted to be, and Pip having to accept his role in society as somewhat of a pretender, having had to hide his roots just to conform with the hypocrisy of high society. This could not have taken place without his mysterious benefactor, who gave him a generous allowance up until the time that he reveals himself to Pip. Pip, on the other hand, was somewhat blinded by the elegance and prestige of the upper class life, kept hastening efforts to hide his true identity, roots and humble life.

Ingratitude, as well as gratitude, was also a major plot in Charles Dickens’ novel. This was evidenced by the part in which Joe Gargery, Pip’s brother-in-law whom he looked up to as a father, visited him in his posh London inn. The lowly but dignified  blacksmith Joe, who was amazed and stunned at the lifestyle Pip was having, several times addressed Pip as “Sir” and not the usual “Pip”. This somewhat flattered Pip but made him feel uncomfortable, this is ironic again, because Joe too was not too comfortable addressing Pip in that manner because he had treated him like is own son all his life prior to Pip’s arrival in London. Pip could not hide the disappointment he has towards Joe because of the latter’s evident complete lack of manners and etiquette. Joe was not to blame for this. He was never accustomed to living with class and being in the company of gentlemen. But the way Pip showed his disappointment was sheer ingratitude to the man who cared for him when he was young and treated him as if he was his own son, when in fact, Pip was Joe’s brother-in-law. And his ferocious ambition to be a member of the elite society was exposed when he was informed of Joe’s visit. He not reacted with pleasure or excitement, but instead with fear and dread that someone might see him in the company of a poor, lowly blacksmith, he feared the degradation of his image. That was one of the biggest character flaws that Pip possessed.

Another show of his ungratefulness was when he learned of the identity of his benefactor. Pip, instead of being grateful to the man who molded him into a fine young gentleman who possesses manners, was overwhelmed with disgust when he learned that Magwitch (his benefactor) was a criminal who have had brushes with the law and was still a fugitive hiding from authorities. And instead of being at least grateful to what he has amassed and what has been given to him unconditionally, he planned on returning all of his received belongings to Magwitch, whom he regarded as a hardened criminal who had gotten his wealth from wrongdoings. Until the very end of the novel, Pip never performed an act of gratitude towards the criminal who made him who he is and saved him from the life of mediocrity which he truly deserved, for Pip’s morals regarding his origin and ambitious adventures have made life a living pretension for him, except for the fact that he was loving and adoring Estella with all that he is.

But on a lighter note, in spite of his very ambitious ways, Pip was still a human capable of loving, understanding and concern. He had treated Herbert as a true friend, for it was he who taught Pip the ways of the rich and the ins and outs of the upper class society. Herbert was one of Miss Havisham’s heirs, so he need not acquaint himself with the lifestyles of the rich, for e himself belonged to the upper class society. Herbert, without reluctance, had accepted Pip the way he was and the way he had evolved. Through the toughest times facing Pip, he was there by his side. Pip on the other hand, had also seen the good inside Herbert and so he defends him against the accusations of Herbert’s aunt, Miss Havisham, that Herbert was only after the fortunes that he was going to inherit when she dies.

Contributing to the earlier part of the novel, and most in part to the end of it, is regret. Though there was nothing wrong with the way Pip fell in love with Estella, there was some kind of a flaw while he was on the course of pursuing her. His childhood friend Biddy was obviously in love with him and he did not even dare try to show his little appreciation. All throughout his life, Biddy has cared for him, even becoming his teacher in the evening school, all of Biddy’s efforts were futile, for she did not possess the quality that Pip wanted in a woman, which was class and elite upbringing. As many times aforementioned, the overpowering factor that influenced Pip in all of his decisions was ambition; Biddy was very kind and intelligent, caring and loving, and would have been a perfect wife for him, but instead, he chose to pursue the classy Estella, who put him in the most unusual emotional situations he had encountered his whole life, and made him traverse long and arduous roads. Pip’s regret was evident when, after being estranged from Estella, he returns home to propose to Biddy, only to know that she had already married Joe Gargery, the man whom he looked up to as a father. His regret has come to a halt when Dickens wrote the ending upon the request of readers. He had met the widowed Estella and vowed to her that they are never to be separated again.


Dickens, Charles. Great Expectations. London: Dover Publications, 2001.

“Great Expectations.” 2006. The New York Theatre Experience, Inc. 27 Apr. 2007


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