Embittered Woman in Great Expectations, A Rose for Emily, and Sunset Boulevard

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The Embittered Older Woman in Great Expectations, A Rose for Emily, and Sunset Boulevard The character of the delusional, embittered older woman is prevalent in literature and movies. Since Dickens created the memorable Miss Havisham in Great Expectations, she has evolved with the times into many other well-known characters, including Miss Emily in Faulkner's "A Rose for Emily" and Norma Desmond in the film Sunset Boulevard. In each of these incarnations, the woman seeks revenge after a man's betrayal prevents her from meeting society's expectations of women, but finds no peace in her bitterness and ends up becoming a shriveled shell of the person she once was. By examining how the Miss Havisham archetype has been…show more content…
She still has her money, but without a husband, she has no place in society and shuts herself away to escape the humiliation. In her insanity, she becomes a macabre parody of the angel in the house, wearing a wedding dress that has long ago turned yellow and keeping Satis House exactly as it was just before the wedding. "It was then I began to understand that everything in the room had stopped, like the watch and the clock, a long time ago," Pip says. Instead of being the bride at the wedding feast, or the hostess at a dinner, Miss Havisham is the meal, visualizing herself being cannibalized by her relatives. "Now you all know where to take your stations when you come to feast upon me," she tells the Pockets. Compeyson feasted upon her heart and her money, leaving her to expect that anyone she thought had cared for her would do the same. Miss Havisham also mocks the "angel in the house" in the way she raises Estella. Instead of teaching Estella to be loving and obedient, she teaches her coldness and hatred, planning to use her to seek revenge on all men. "With this boy? Why, he is a common labouring boy!" Estella says when Miss Havisham orders her to play cards with Pip. "Well! You can break his heart," Miss Havisham replies. She teases Pip by constantly pointing out Estella's

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