untington a lifetime of mistakes, like Estella, who realized


Mr. Donaruma

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English, 2


essay 2

            There’s no doubt that humans have been
taught that when you do something wrong, you apologize for it. However, Great
Expectations by Charles Dickens is a book that highlights the importance of
making up for it/atoning for your mistakes. In the book, sometimes, they choose
to atone for a lifetime of mistakes, like Estella, who realized she needed a
little warmth in her life that had been constructed in the cold. Other times, they
realize that they’ve been doing something wrong for a little while, like Pip,
who realized he’d been damaging a friend who had done nothing but be kind to
him. Lastly, they realize they’ve been affecting someone else for their whole
life, like Ms. Havisham, who realized she’d raised someone that was hurting people
who were helping her.

            When you
spend your entire life being one way, it’s difficult to decide whether or not
you’ve been doing it right. From an early age, Estella had been raised to
believe that guys are the enemy and all she needed to do was break one and
she’d be golden. What Ms. Havisham didn’t know about this was that she’d really
been raising her to possess a stone-cold heart. Estella eventually realized
what she had been doing once Pip came into her life and decided that she’d make
up for it by marrying Drummle. Drummle was dumb, rude and a terrible match for Estella
but she chose to do this because it’s what she thought she deserved. “You must
know’ said Estella condescending to me as a brilliant and beautiful woman
might. ‘That I have no heart- if that has anything to do with my memory.” (page
162) Estella says that to Pip trying to convince him that she has no feelings,
therefor, Drummle is perfect for the lifestyle she had created for herself. She
knew she’d stuffer in that marriage, so she let it happen to atone for causing
others to suffer. However, that’s not the only way Estella atoned for her
mistakes. Starting at a very young age, right when they met, Estella had
treated Pip so terribly. “For I have seen you give him looks and smiles this
very night, such as you never give to- me.’ ‘Do you want me then,’ said
Estella, turning suddenly with a fixed and serious, if not angry, look, ‘to
deceive and entrap you?’ ‘Do you deceive and entrap him Estella?’ ‘Yes, and
many others-all of them but you.” (page 307) Estella explains to Pip that he
should stay away because she genuinely cares about him as a friend and does not
want to hurt him. This was Estella’s atonement for leading him on and hurting
him when they were younger.

            Very early on, Herbert was introduced to Pip when Pip
was challenged to a fight in which he won in a couple punches. However, Pip
didn’t know it was the same guy until later in the book. Pip and Herbert very
quickly became best friends, but Pip wanted to rise in society and he
did it quicker than Herbert due to money differences. “So, leaving word with the shop man on what day I was wanted
at Miss Havisham’s again, I set off on the four-mile walk to our forge;
pondering, as I went along, on all I had seen, and deeply revolving that I was
a common laboring-boy; that my hands were coarse; that my boots were thick;
that I had fallen into a despicable habit of calling knaves Jacks; that I was
much more ignorant than I had considered myself last night, and generally that
I was in a low-lived bad way.” (original motivation,
page 105) This left Herbert feeling
the need to keep up with him which ultimately pulled him into enormous debt. To
make up for this, Pip decided to become an anonymous benefactor and try to help
reverse the mistakes he’d made. On his twenty-first birthday, pip received a
sum of 500 pounds and went to Mr. Wemmick for advice on what he should do. “This friend,” I pursued, “is trying to get on
in commercial life, but has no money, and finds it difficult and disheartening
to make a beginning. Now, I want somehow to help him to a beginning.”
(page 323) After getting some bad advice from Mr. Wemmick, Pip decided to still
go with his plan and be an anonymous benefactor to Herbert, so he could atone
for bringing him far down.

          Toward the middle of the book, we
find out that Ms. Havisham had been left at the altar. This greatly affected
the way she raised Estella but didn’t feel pity for it until she saw how it
affects Pip and is able to relate to that same feeling of sadness. From that
moment on, Ms. Havisham feels the need to make up for intentionally hurting him.
To do this, she begs pip to let her know of something she can do for him to
help repeating “What have I done!” (page 401) and she even offers money which Pip takes to further help Herbert.
To try and convince Pip that she’s truly sorry, she explains that “When she first came, I meant to save her from
misery like mine,” and “Take the pencil and write under my name, ‘I
forgive her!” (page 405) Ms. Havisham was a prime example of someone who let
their past affect another person’s life and then tried to fix it once they
figured out they were causing someone the same pain.

not all mistakes are forgivable, Charles Dickens’s Great Expectations highlights those wrongs that can be made right. Sometimes,
they choose to atone for a lifetime of mistakes, like Estella. Or, other times,
they realize that they’ve been doing something wrong for a little while, like
Pip. Lastly, they realize they’ve been affecting someone else for their whole
life, like Ms. Havisham. These characters were able to realize how they had
been ruining the lives of others and were able to make sacrifices to try and make
up for it. However, don’t always depend on apologizing because one day,
eventually, you won’t be able to fix it no matter how you try.