Monday, January 28, 2008

Characters...some pretty detestable ones!

What did you think of the characters in Great Expectations, both collectively and individually? Was Pip such a pipsqueak that you found it impossible to like him? Was Miss Havisham just cracked enough to drive you batty? Was Estella just a wench at heart or evilly alluring?


Wendy said...

Unlike a lot of readers, I didn't despise Pip. He had a pretty tough upbringing - and I saw him as mostly immature and misguided. I thought he redeemed himself in the end. Miss Havisham was a fantastic character - scary, crazy, eccentric...yup, she is one I'll remember. I really disliked Estella - I wasn't completely convinced that she could have no heart...I mostly saw her as spoiled and cold. I thought she got what she deserved. I loved Joe - who wouldn't? He was just this wonderful, simple, caring character.

Iliana said...

I also liked Pip quite a bit. I didn't like his actions but in a way that made him a lot more real to me. I can see how just how badly he wanted something more from life that he was willing to get it at any cost. I was thoroughly intrigued by Miss Havisham and I wish there had been more about her. She was a truly unique character. Estella... I keep going back on forth on my feelings about her.

Alicia said...

Pip is confused from beginning to end. He doesn't know what's expected of him and most the time he's just trying to wing it while keeping an eye on Estella.

Estella is a product of her circumstances and her lack of will.

Miss Havisham was my fav. character.
How would it be to be able to hold a grudge forever? To have nothing else in your mind but the way you were worries about the mortgage, no tv distractions, nobody suggesting you should go to a therapist.
Cleopatra dyed the Nile black when her heart was broken.
Call me a romantic, but how great would it be to make it all stop and be able to lick your wounds when that's the only thing you want to do?

Andi said...

I'm enjoying reading everyone's thoughts on the characters.

As I was reading through I kept thinking, "This reminds me of Paradise Lost!" and by that I mean that the "bad" characters are always so much more interesting to me than the good ones. When I read Paradise Lost in college I found Satan SO much more interesting than any of the good characters. He was multi-faceted, logical, compelling. The other characters were just stamps.

Dickens "good" characters" are drawn quite a bit better than Milton's...they're not all totally flat, but I still found the tortured ones much more interesting.

I also had to ask myself why I'm so compelled by Miss Havisham and Estella when they're such gross, ugly portraits of women. And I guess the answer is, I enjoy seeing a "bad girl" in literature that is just as multi-faceted and tortured as some of the male "villains" I've enjoyed. I couldn't help but think, "You go on Estella. You be a bitch." lol Maybe I'm just warped.

Michaelann said...

Pip was an ok character, but I found the others in his company so much more interesting. Herbert was such an interesting character with his homelife being what it was and his positive lookout on life. I like the contrast that Wemmick made for himself in his life, keeping personal and business so separated and so different. His skills seemed to have been wasted in his current position and he should have been an inventor. Miss Havisham was so creepy and I would have bolted the first time I saw her as a child.

Ann Marie said...

Only finished the book last night because I had exams for the first half of the month so sorry for my lack of commenting this month.

I was very mixed with some of the characters, Pip especially. At first I liked him, it was understandable that he'd want riches having spent so much time in his youth around Miss Havisham. But when he ended up ignoring Joe and Biddy, even after it had appeared he had learnt his lesson when his sister died, I really felt he didn't deserve any of the friends he had. But towards the end when he began to realise his mistakes and show affection to Magwitch, I liked him again.

I didn't have much sympathy for Estella until she commented to Miss Havisham about how was she suppossed to love given everything she'd been told as she grew up. Miss Havisham I remained neutral on up until the end. She was interesting but I didn't know if I liked or disliked her. But seeing how willing she was, even after all she did to Pip, to help him I sympathised with her.

I think my favourite character was Wemmick. Such different sides to one person was great to read. I especially loved how he was at home with the Aged.

I have to admit though towards the end of the book I did say outloud, 'what is this Lost?' because all the characters were connected in some way or another.

Smiley said...

I have to say this was the most difficult book to get through. The only character I actually liked was Joe. He was so sweet and so kind. Wendy has it right.. He is just as simple caring character. And since Pip was an ass who never appreciated Joe's (or Biddy's) love for him I didnt really like him. The very thought of someone holding a grudge for as long as Miss H. did is crazy in itself...

Lara said...

I'm two days late, but I finally finished the book a few minutes ago! So...what did I think of the characters? I suppose the simple answer is "conflicted". Pip was indeed a pipsqueak, but he was manipulated to be one by his early exposure to Miss Havisham. Then there ever an excuse to ignore the people who love you, as he ignored Joe and Biddy? I don't know! Estella was indeed a wench at heart, but Miss Havisham made her so and, frankly, I was glad of it because she was such an excellent bad girl (I'm with Andi on this one!). I, too, loved Wemmick the best - I liked how he had his at-work personality and his at-home personality (and particularly liked how he referred to his father as "The Aged" or "Aged P" and said "Halloa!"). As for Miss Havisham, that woman was completely nutters. :)

Kim L said...

I really liked Joe, Herbert, and Wemmick. How much I liked Pip kind of fluctuated throughout the book. I can't imagine what it would be like to be separated from your family and live mostly unsupervised with no experience whatsoever in handling money and be given all of this money. I don't think Pip was a terrible person, just influenced by his situation in life, like most people. I liked him best when he finally decided to show kindness towards Magwitch.

I really don't have too much sympathy for Miss Havisham, honestly. There's plenty of jilted brides in the world, and only the fact she was so wealthy allowed her to be so eccentric. She would have been better off if someone would have shaken her out of her depression. I'll give this to her, though, she is plenty stubborn! Not everyone wants to spend the rest of the their lives wallowing in bitterness, but she did. And she didn't let anyone stop her. Boy I just shudder imagining what her marriage would have been like if her intended hadn't left her. I think they would have been miserable together, if Miss Havisham is that stubborn and bitter.

As for Estella, I feel a little ambivalent towards her. She did have a hard time in life being raised so forcefully by Miss Havisham, but she did have choices to make later in life, and she could have chosen better.