by Charles Dickens
Great Expectations Pip Quotes
The lady whom I had never seen before, lifted up her eyes and looked archly at me, and then I saw that the eyes were Estella's eyes. But she was so much changed, was so much more beautiful, so much more womanly, in all things winning admiration had made such wonderful advance, that I seemed to have made none. I fancied, as I looked at her, that I slipped hopelessly back into the coarse and common boy again. O the sense of distance and disparity that came upon me, and the inaccessibility that came about her! (29.38)
Is it just us, or does Pip seem a lot more interested in thinking about the distance between himself and his dream than about the dream—i.e., Estella—itself? We get the sense that he wouldn't even know what to do with her if he got her.
"I am ashamed to say it," I returned, "and yet it's no worse to say it than to think it. You call me a lucky fellow. Of course, I am. I was a blacksmith's boy but yesterday; I am—what shall I say I am—to-day?" (30.26)
Just like today, most of the people in Pip's life derive their identity from the job that they do. Pip wants to be a gentleman who derives his identity from what he is rather than what he does—but he's not there yet. He can still only dream about it.
While my mind was thus engaged, I thought of the beautiful young Estella, proud and refined, coming towards me, and I thought with absolute abhorrence of the contrast between the jail and her. (33.4)
We're not so sure that Estella and the jail have so little in common. They're both associated with death, and they're both locked up tight. One is a dream and one is a nightmare, but other than that—yep, pretty similar.