Write a commentary on this passage (pg 54- 59), which explains the reasons for Pip’s distress at the end. This passage is a crucial section of the book, as it is here that Pip realizes how coarse and common he is and where he first feels dissatisfied with Joe and realizes him not to be an idol. At the end of this section, Pip breaks down in tears and kicks the walls. Here I attempt to analyze the reasons for Pip’s distress at the end. To begin with, Pip is disinclined to go to Ms. Havisham’s house and play. He has never met Ms.
Havisham but regards her as a peculiar, reclusive woman. He spends the night at Mr. Pumblechook’s house and leaves for Ms Havisham’s after a weary morning of arithmetic. Thus he arrives at the house dreading the visit and annoyed with Mr. Pumblechook. The following events further Pip’s anger, irritation and lower his self-confidence, which results in him breaking down. An arrogant but stunning young girl, Estella, who is about the same age as Pip, haughtily admits Pip into the house. The house is dark and eerie.
Sunlight has not entered it for many years. Estella leads Pip through the dark passages of the house before instructing him to go into a particular room. She talks to Pip in a condescending manner and treats him like a child. Pip enters the room, as instructed and encounters Ms. Havisham, who is dressed in her wedding clothes and is adorned with magnificent jewels. He is immediately overcome with fear on seeing her and compares his trepidation with prior frightening incidents he had experienced. The room seems to be ‘ stuck in time’.
The clocks have all stopped working and remain at twenty to nine. Ms. Havisham’s clothes have faded and are yellow. Pip later notices that everything in the room is worn out. He compares Ms. Havisham to a corpse. Pip is terrified of Ms Havisham’s peculiar personality. He compares his fear when she touches his heart to that when he encountered the prisoner in the graveyard. Although Ms. Havisham is undoubtedly a queer person, Pip’s initial attitude towards her is not one of perplexity or surprise but that of fear.
This is primarily because he has heard rumours about her eccentric idiosyncrasies, which cause him to dread her even before he has set eyes on her. When he realizes that she is indeed weird, Pip becomes terrified of her. Ms. Havisham then tells Pip that she has ‘sick fancies’ and asks him to play. Pip feels unequal to this task as his fear of Ms. Havisham and the gloomy atmosphere make him cringe at the very thought of playing. However he is worried that Ms. Havisham will complain to his sister and he will be upbraided.