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June 30, 2014

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I'm going to post because Miss Havisham is a great character and I think this question deserves a response. I don't hate Miss Havisham but I can see why someone would. I don't pity her because her misery is sort of her own fault. She doesn't have to keep everything in her house the same. She doesn't have to keep focusing on her grudge. She does it because she wants to do so. I guess my feeling towards Miss Havisham can best be described as horrified fascination.

That's well put, Cody. Sort of like the proverbial slow-motion trainwreck that one can't look away from!

I can understand also why someone wouldn't like her, if she had pushed Estella towards Pip in a healthy manner, perhaps they would have fallen in love at a young age and had a nice relationship, without heart break. I really like Miss Havisham though, she seems other worldly in a way, experienced in the most awful form of heartbreak. I think of her as so tragic, each minute moving further and further away from the moment before she learned the truth, from her happiest moment.

Perhaps relevant here is Duffy's poem, "Havisham". Rather an extreme view, but I think it shows both views - she's hateful and we understand why, but it's probably she who hates herself most.

Havishampoem
Beloved sweetheart bastard. Not a day since then
I haven’t wished him dead. Prayed for it
so hard I’ve dark green pebbles for eyes,
ropes on the back of my hands I could strangle with.

Spinster. I stink and remember. Whole days
in bed cawing Nooooo at the wall; the dress
yellowing, trembling if I open the wardrobe;
the slewed mirror, full-length, her, myself, who did this

to me? Puce curses that are sounds not words.
Some nights better, the lost body over me,
my fluent tongue in its mouth in its ear
then down till I suddenly bite awake. Love’s

hate behind a white veil; a red balloon bursting
in my face. Bang. I stabbed at a wedding cake.
Give me a male corpse for a long slow honeymoon.
Don’t think it’s only the heart that b-b-b-breaks.
Carol Ann Duffy

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  • A blog for all things Dickens -- quotes, reflections, adaptations, references and tributes from other authors, and more.

Happy 200th, Mr. Dickens!

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