Study Guide

Great Expectations Love

By Charles Dickens


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Ugh, Pip. Pip is totally that friend of yours who will not shut up about his crush. He spends hours analyzing her last text message, changes his IM status to "available" as soon as she logs on, and endlessly scours her Facebook photos to speculate if she's dating anyone. But is this really love? He's caught up in that state where your crush is some unattainable object, so he never gets a chance to find out that Estella has weird habits and stinky feet like anyone else. Meanwhile, Clara and Herbert, not to mention Joe and Biddy, seem to have much less lofty ideas about love. So, who ends up happier? Is it better to love an unattainable but perfect object, or settle down with an imperfect but real partner? We're pretty sure we know what Great Expectations thinks.

Questions About Love

  1. Does Pip's sister love him? Does she love her husband? Or is she just as incapable of love as Estella is?
  2. Does Miss Havisham's heartbreak justify her outlook on life? Does she love Estella?
  3. Okay, honestly: what does love even mean in this novel? Is it a feeling, or is it a way of acting?
  4. When do we see people really loving one another? What's the relationship between love and gratitude? Does love need to be reciprocal?

Chew on This

Love is not blind in Great Expectations, but it is blinding.

In Great Expectations, there's no such thing as love without some kind of loss.