Great Expectations- Love

Essay by PaperNerd ContributorHigh School, 10th grade February 2002

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In the Webster dictionary, the word "˜love' is defined as "a strong affection for another, based on kinship ties." Although this is correct, love can be interpreted in various ways, and consists of many different kinds. Throughout Great Expectations, Dickens displays unrequited love, unconditional love, and also fatherly love.

Unrequited love is clearly displayed through Pip and Estella. When Pip, a common boy, first meets Estella, a disdainfully proud and wealthy girl, he is blinded by her beauty and falls in love with her at first sight. Estella is a spiteful young girl who has been trained by her adopted mother, the eccentric Miss Havisham, to cruelly break men's heart. Estella turns into the center of Pip's "great expectations," to become a gentleman, though she has no feelings for Pip and treats him with strong discourtesy. Years later, after Pip has turned into a gentleman, he still desires Estella, and spends time with her, knowing that the beautiful girl's presence only causes him pain.

She warns Pip with clarity that she is unable to love men, because of Miss Havisham's teachings, and has no feelings towards him. But Pip, being blinded by love, remains in her company with the hope she will change. Estella "hold[s] a place in [Pip's] heart," (466) but there is no place for him in her heart.

Through Pip and Joe, Dickens displays unconditional love. Joe was a caring and loving blacksmith who raises Pip. He is the only adult Pip could ever love, and the only person who shows a tender affection towards the lonely boy in his childhood years. Joe raises him as if he was his own child and never lays a hand upon Pip. Later in the novel, Pip personifies a snob when he isolates Joe and Biddy because...