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Chapter 38: Estella With Miss Havisham Again... Notes from Great Expectations

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Great Expectations Chapter 38: Estella With Miss Havisham Again...

Estella lives in the house of a woman named Mrs. Brandley, who was a friend of Miss Havisham's before her seclusion. Pip feels as if he haunts this house, for his spirit is always looking for Estella. Estella has many admirers these days, and though Pip goes to visit her in Richmond often, he still feels despair about the prospect that they'll ever be together.

At Miss Havisham's request, Pip accompanies Estella back to Satis, and as at their last visit, Pip detects Miss Havisham's odd desire to see Estella make a wreck of him. What's different this time is that Estella confronts Miss Havisham and accuses the old woman of making her cruel and incapable of love. To every accusation Miss Havisham makes of Estella being "proud" or "hard," Estella responds by pushing the blame right back on her patroness, saying things like, "Who taught me to be hard?" Estella, defined like all people by her successes and failures, nonetheless feels like she's done nothing to really earn either:

"'So,' said Estella, 'I must be taken as I have been made. The success is not mine, the failure is not mine, but the two together make me.'" Chapter 38, pg. 356

Pip is disturbed by all this, and he does not sleep at all during his first night at Satis. In the night, he hears Miss Havisham lurking about, moaning, making loops with a candle in her hand around her dreadful house.

Topic Tracking: Love 9

More disturbing news on the topic of Estella hits Pip when, at a meeting of the Finches of the Grove, the dreadful Bentley Drummle announces that he has kept company with Estella. Pip throws a little fit and demands evidence, and the next day Drummle brings him a note in Estella's hand that says she's danced with Drummle several times. At a dance some time later, Pip confronts Estella and says she shouldn't hang around with such a despicable character as Bentley Drummle. Estella is irritated, though she says that while she "deceive[s] and entrap[s]" many men, including Drummle, this is not what she's doing to Pip.

The chapter ends with a hint from Older Pip that something big is about to happen to in the story, that for young Pip, the roof is about to cave.

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