by Charles Dickens
Great Expectations Chapter 44 Quotes
How we cite the quotes:
"Out of my thoughts! You are part of my existence, part of myself. You have been in every line I have ever read, since I first came here, the rough common boy whose poor heart you wounded even then. You have been in every prospect I have ever seen since - on the river, on the sails of the ships, on the marshes, in the clouds, in the light, in the darkness, in the wind, in the woods, in the sea, in the streets. You have been the embodiment of every graceful fancy that my mind has ever become acquainted with. The stones of which the strongest London buildings are made, are not more real, or more impossible to be displaced by your hands, than your presence and influence have been to me, there and everywhere, and will be. Estella, to the last hour of my life, you can't choose but remain part of my character, part of the little good in me, part of the evil. But, in this separation I associate you only with the good, and I will faithfully hold you to that always, for you must have done me far more good than harm, let me feel now what sharp distress I may. O God bless you, God forgive you!" (44.70)
Sigh. This is pretty much one of the best love speeches ever, right? And notice that Pip grounds his description of love in images of nature and of the landscape that surrounds him: Estella isn't even human, she's so much a part of the particles around him. But—and this is just a thought—maybe this is part of the reason that Dickens didn't want Estella and Pip to end up together: his love isn't exactly selfless. In fact, it's still all about himself.
"Estella," said I, turning to her now, and trying to command my trembling voice, "you know I love you. You know that I have loved you long and dearly." (44.37)
Hm. We can't help but think that when Pip uses the word "love" here, he means something else. This sounds a lot more like "obsession" and "infatuation" than actual, grownup love.
"Don't be afraid of my being a blessing to him," said Estella; "I shall not be that. Come! Here is my hand. Do we part on this, you visionary boy—or man?" (44.65)
Estella may pretend that she never thinks about Pip, but it sounds like she's actually been keeping quite the eye on him. The "visionary boy" is the boy who continues to hope she will requite his love. The man in Pip is he who is wise enough to give up and to recognize that Estella can't be won nor melted. Which one is Pip? We're not sure, and we don't think he is, either.