By Anne Gilmour. November 1996.
Of the major themes from Charles Dickens novel "Great Expectations" to be discussed as to their importance concerning its structure, I have selected "Love" in the context of human relationships, "Isolation" and finally "Redemption". The loneliness isolation brings can only be redeemed by the loving associate of our fellow man, this is a two way thing.
"Had grown diseased, as all minds do and must and will that reverse the appointed order of their maker."
In isolation the greatest sin we commit against ourselves and others, is to shun human companionship as Miss Haversham did. After her betrayal in love she hardened her heart towards her fellow man. By hardening her heart and suppressing her naturally affectionate nature, she committed a crime against herself. Miss Havershams love for Compeyson is of a compassionate kind, this blinded her to his true nature, as Herbert remarked, "too haughty and too much in love to be advised by anyone." At Compeysons desertion her anger and sorrow became extreme and she threw herself and Satis House into perpetual mourning and a monument to her broken heart, shutting the world out and herself from the world. Her only concession is in her adoption of Estella.
Miss Haversham has ulterior motives in adopting Estella, this is not a loving action on her part, but a calculated manoeuvre to turn the child into a haughty, heartless instrument of revenge against men. Estella is encouraged to practice her disdain on Pip and to break his heart. Paradoxically, Miss Havershams greatest sin, is against herself. By hardening her heart she loses her generous, affectionate nature and becomes withered inside emotionally. Her punishment is that the heartless young woman she has made, uses her lack of feelings against Miss Haversham.
Estella herself is isolated, as for most of the novel she takes pleasure in her role of avenger. Her isolation is in part responsible for Pips snobbery and his estrangement from Joe and Biddy. Like Miss Haversham she becomes a victim of her own machinations. She enters into a loveless marriage to Drummle, who is cruel to her. This shows that no matter how heartless one tries to be, there is always someone more heartless. The instrument of revenge punishes the avenger and is punished in return.
Pip feels emotionally and geographically isolated on his arrival in London. Jaggers isolation is his deliberate rejection to human involvement, he ...