Perhaps the image of Miss Havisham, sitting forlornly in her faded, yellow wedding dress, veiled and with wilted, dead flowers in her grey hair, is a striking scene. Equally so is ‘Satis House,’ a dismal, melancholy residence where she lived- assisted by her adopted daughter, Estella.
Exploring the text of ‘Great Expectations,’ by Charles Dickens, the children in Year Six History, discovered the powerful imagery that brings to life the theme of ‘house and home’ - conveying Victorian history, the difference between classes and, of course the satire Dickens employs in providing his characters with great names and mannerisms – Uncle Pumplechook being one example!
In the extract studied, Pip has been summoned to Miss Havisham’s Manor House, to play with Estella- as if ‘play’ can be immediately switched on! There are dark winding passage ways, a room where time has stood still from the moment Miss Havisham was deserted by her husband to be, leaving her jilted at the altar.
The description of her house is rich in imagery and Dickens wonderfully conveys the sadness and bitterness that Miss Havisham holds.
Here are some of the children’s impressions of her residence, taken only from reading the text. The words transformed themselves into a gallery of mental images, yet each unique to every child. The accuracy of the drawings correlate so well to the text!
Despite challenging vocabulary and some archaic phrases, the children were able to interpret meaning and, in many cases recognise the humour Dickens is so famous for.