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Before I could answer (if I could have answered so difficult a question at all), she repeated, "Love her, love her, love her! If she favours you, love her. If she wounds you, love her. If she tears your heart to pieces – and as it gets older and stronger, it will tear deeper – love her, love her, love her!" (2.29.85)
Pip is Miss Havisham’s puppet, and Miss Havisham is acting out the revenge that she has for so long wanted to take on her former fiancée. In this moment, Miss Havisham is like a wound-up toy that is malfunctioning – all the wires are popping out and it’s beginning to smoke. She works herself into a frenzy as she manipulates Pip’s emotions. To Miss Havisham, love seems to be both unattainable and the tool that she uses to wound those around her.
She said the word often enough, and there could be no doubt that she meant to say it; but if the often repeated word had been hate instead of love – despair – revenge – dire death – it could not have sounded from her lips more like a curse. (2.29.88)
When love is spoken of in Satis House, the opposite of love is always invoked (silently). Perhaps love is not love without hatred and sorrow present as well. The Roman poet, Ovid, once said, "love is a kind of warfare," and, indeed, love always seems to be followed by destruction in the world of Great Expectations.
"Told me! You have never told me when you have got your hair cut, but I have had senses to perceive it. You have always adored her, ever since I have known you. You brought your adoration and your portmanteau here, together. Told me! Why, you have always told me all day long. When you told me your own story, you told me plainly that you began adoring her the first time you saw her, when you were very young indeed." (2.30.21)
Try as he might, Pip cannot hide his big, big love for Estella. This passage might not strike our modern sensibilities as being strange, but in a Victorian society, when everything pertaining to sex and love was suppressed, repressed, and contained to tea-time banter and glove-stealing, the fact that Herbert not only notices Pip’s love but names Pip’s love is kind of remarkable. This naming indicates Herbert’s knack for keeping it real and it also reinforces just how far gone Pip is. Again, we wonder how Pip can hang such passion upon a woman who is as cold as a glacier.