Unexpected Influences in Great Expectations

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When one thinks of a strong, influential person, they most likely will first think of a world leader or president. These are examples of influential leaders, but in Charles Dickens' Great Expectations, the most influential characters on Pip are people who would appear to be minor female characters in the novel. One would assume since the time of Great Expectations was set the first half of the 19th Century, which was the time of the Victorian Era, that the men of the novel would have a greater influence on the women of the novel. However, Pip is impacted greatly by women throughout his life, even more so than men. Pip's greatest female influence in life was Estella, but the purpose of this paper is to discuss the influence of more minor…show more content…
Miss Havisham had been heartbroken by Compeyson earlier in her life and she never completely recovered from that heartbreak. Out of revenge she taught Estella also to be cruel to men. Miss Havisham tells Estella: “Break their hearts, my pride and hope, break their hearts and have no mercy” (Dickens 94)! Later in the story, Estella and Miss Havisham get into a fight and Estella says that Miss Havisham had “taught her to be proud and hard” (Dickens 306). If Miss Havisham had not used Estella to seek revenge, Estella may have truly fallen in love with Pip. Miss Havisham realizes how badly she had hurt Pip once Estella gets married to Drummle. She “dropped on her knees at my [Pip's] feet...” ( Dickens 400) “'Oh!' she cried despairingly. 'What have I done! What have I done'” (Dickens 400)! Pip was very gracious towards her and assured her that he had forgiven her. After she got badly hurt in the fire, she had a message written to him and he responded by saying: “Take the pencil and write under my name, 'I forgive her'” (Dickens 405). The final influential female in Pip's life was Biddy. Biddy was the most kind-hearted woman in the story, but Pip did not appreciate her as much because she did not have social status and was not wealthy. Pip had a special place in his heart for her, however, and if Estella had not been so blinding to Pip, he might have seen how precious Biddy was to him. He knew that Biddy was a much better person
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