What Is Miss Havisham's Biggest Mistake

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Miss Havisham’s Biggest Mistake Of course Miss Havisham made many mistakes in her life. Everyone eventually does. Was it falling in love with Compeyson? Was it adopting Estella in the first place? No, Havisham’s gravest mistake was the motivations she had for adopting her. In Great Expectations, Charles Dickens uses Miss Havisham to illustrate the negative impact of her desire to live through her daughter Estella. Miss Havisham is selfish. This is not something the readers can tell right away, but as they move through the book it becomes increasingly obvious. She is not selfish in regards to her money or her possessions. She is selfish in the way she chose to raise Estella. She adopted and groomed her solely to become a revenge puppet, or…show more content…
The readers see this when she decided to marry Drummle. Instead of having to deal with unwanted advances from an affectionate husband for the rest of her life, where she would have to act in love, she married Drummle. He’s slow and arrogant, but easy. He does not have to deal with her and she does not have to deal with him. It’s a win win. But it is not happiness. Marrying and living with someone you have no respect for is not a way to live. Aside from the unhappiness, being married to him was dangerous: “I had heard of her as leading a most unhappy life… Her husband, who had used her with great cruelty, and who had become quite renowned as a compound of pride, avarice, brutality, and meanness” (Dickens 242). Estella did not understand that she deserved better or she was just so put off of having to act in love, that she stayed with a person that abused her. Thanks Havisham. Because Miss Havisham was not able to, she lived her deluded fantasies of wreaking havoc on the male sex through her adopted daughter, effectively ruining her life. Not only were her life and relationships ruined, but so was her perspective of herself. No one should ever believe that they are defective, incapable of love, or even that they should just accept abusive situations. In short, Miss Havisham is selfish. She is selfish because the effects of living through her daughter will have negative consequences that will follow her around until the day she
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