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The Name “Estella” in Great Expectations

The Name “Estella” in Great Expectations

The name of the characters in a Dickens’ novel, Great Expectations, is very important. In the case of Estella, the name indicates her personality, her relation with other characters and even the way in which she moves along the novel.

In Spanish, the word for star is “estrella”. Since Spanish is a “romance” language, estrella is undoubtedly derived from the Latin word for star. Stars are cold but beautiful to see. The same is true for Estella: she has a cold personality but she is very pretty. Estella was given to Miss Havisham at night – which is when stars appear. The first time Estella appears is in chapter 8, in the Pip’s first visit to Miss Havisham’s house. The first impression Pip has about Estella is also characterized by ambiguity: he thinks she is pretty but she is proud. Miss Havisham obliges Estella to play cards with Pip. The first time that the card game appears the battle of sexes occurs since, after her frustrated marriage, Miss Havisham educates Estella to scorn men and in the card game Miss Havisham wants to see a victory of a woman over a man. Estella wins but the most important thing here is that Estella does not want to play with Pip because she thinks he is common. This shows the pride and the superiority in which Estella is presented in her relation to Pip, and it’s also important because, from this moment, Pip wants to be educated to be at the same level that Estella – he hopes that he can reach out and touch a star.

Stella (without the first ‘e’) is the name of Sydney’s beloved. Probably he gave his beloved this name because she was married in the real life and so, he could not reach her. Stars are far away and they cannot be reached. In the novel, Estella is presented as an impossible dream for Pip. In the same way Pip has expectations in a material level, Estella would be Pip’s love expectation.

In Christianity, the star is related to the Virgin Mary. Stars are also used for orientation, to guide us at night. In the novel, Estella appears as a light, it is Pip’s orientation and he always has her in his mind.

If we look at the sky we can see different kinds of stars.

Great Romantic Expectations

In Great Expectations Pip is devastated to find out that the convict he helped years ago on the marshes is the benefactor of his riches in life. His distress is exemplified by the fact that he deserted his loyal friend Joe for the life that the convict Magwitch has given him. His greatest grief, however, came from the fact that he believed he could never win the love of Estella, learning that she had married Bentley Drummel. Pip remained in a depression over his situation until he discovered the truth of Estella’s parentage. The strange coincidence of these findings cause Pip to change his attitude toward his further expectation and resume his belief that he still might have a chance with Estella.

Clearly the story is well underway before any indication is made to the truth about Estella being an adopted child of Miss Havisham. After this is established through the revelation of Herbert telling Pip this story, Pip gradually starts to pick up clues of his own from different sources. He notices the similarities of Molly, Jagger’s housekeeper, and questions Wemmick about her resemblance to Estella. Then Pip continues his pursuit by questioning Miss Havisham about Estella’s background. Disclosures by Magwitch start to mesh the story together in Pip’s mind as he puts his entire finding together in a neat little package. That package is the picture of the true parents of Estella.

Most interesting as the clues unfold are the connections between Estella, Magwitch, and Miss Havisham to the lawyer Mr. Jaggers. For each one of them he has provided a service or has been in their employ. In addition to their connection to Jaggers they were all connected to the convict Compeyson through his victimization of them each in a different way. Pip sees all of these connections gradually through his pursuit of the facts. Through his endeavors he is strangely affected by the true realization of the truth of Estella’s parents.

Pip continues to question and observe the actions of those connected to his query to corroborate his guesses. He does not truly understand his intent on proving the identity of Estella’s parents. Just before Pip comes to the conclusion that Molly may be the mother of Estella his depression is spoken of by referral his mood to stop reading newspapers since he heard the news of Estella marrying Drummle. Then Pip looks at Molly and decides that she is the woman who surely gave birth to Estella.

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