'Havisham' Essay

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Havisham essay.

‘Miss Havisham’ is a bitter and twisted character from the novel ‘Great Expectations’ by Charles Dickens. Carol Ann Duffy takes this character and explores her tragic life in the poem ‘Havisham’. Duffy uses Dark themes, structure, symbolism and other poetic techniques to express Havisham’s hatred for men after her tragic wedding when she was rejected by her fiancé. Duffy’s use of these poetic techniques create a sinister character and makes Havisham feel real to the reader.

To begin the poem Duffy uses a shocking short sentence, which contains contrasting word choice to convey an ironic tone from Havisham. The contradictory oxymoron also startles the reader and grasps our attention as we do not expect this beginning.
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She even begins to make animalistic screams which are symbolic of darkness and death. ‘cawing nooooo’ this neologism of ‘no’ suggests an animalistic persona where her sense of language has broken down to a series of noises which highlight her extreme mental decay. This also suggests her self-pity but makes the reader feel sympathy for the narrator as she desperately screams at the wall showing how lost and pathetic she has become over time. The ‘cawing’ is also symbolic of death and darkness as it is resembling a crow which the reader links with death, darkness and the devil. This combination of neologism and symbolism creates a sinister mood. Duffy’s use of neologism to emphasis Havisham’s mental decay makes her feel real to the reader and her animalistic person adds to her sinister character.

Duffy goes on to show Havisham’s layers of feelings as she expresses her exterior feelings of hatred, anger and revenge which contrast with her true feelings of love for her past lover. It is the rejection from her lover which sends her into this downward spiral which eventually results in her feelings of hatred for all men and desperate want for revenge. ‘love’s hate behind a white veil’ This oxymoron places love and hate side by side and conceals both emotions behind a symbolic white bridal veil, which is ironically white and contrasts with her
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