Power and Dominance

Nathan Greenberg "12, English 60, Brown University, 2009

authors —>Charles Dickens —>Works —>Great expectation —>Leading Questions>

You are watching: Who is molly in great expectations

When Pip an initial encounters Molly, she physical figure stunshim. The does not yet recognize her together Estella"s mother, however alreadyhe senses miscellaneous “striking" about her.He likens she to the Weird sisters in Macbeth, recalling the her facelooked as if it to be “disturbed through fiery air" of a cauldron.Throughout the night Pip has challenge taking his eyes off of Mollyand is shocked when Mr. Jaggers suddenly seizes she hand as shereaches throughout him to clear the table:

Her entrapped hand to be on the table, but she had already put herother hand behind her waist. “Master," she said, in a low voice, withher eyes attentively and entreatingly addressed upon him. “Don"t."

"I"ll present you a wrist," repetitive Mr. Jaggers, v an immovabledetermination to display it. “Molly, permit them see your wrist."

"Master," she again murmured. “Please!"

"Molly," stated Mr. Jaggers, not looking in ~ her, however obstinately lookingat the opposite next of the room, “let them watch both her wrists. Showthem. Come!"

He take it his hand from hers, and also turned the wrist increase on the table. Shebrought her other hand indigenous behind her, and held the 2 out side byside. The last wrist was lot disfigured, — deep scarred and scarredacross and across. When she hosted her hands the end she took she eyes fromMr. Jaggers, and also turned them watchfully on every among the rest of usin succession.

"There"s strength here," claimed Mr. Jaggers, coolly tracing the end the sinewswith his forefinger. “Very couple of men have the strength of wrist that thiswoman has."

This illustration occurs in ~ the end of a long discussion around physicalstrength in i m sorry Pip and his friends have actually fallen to “barring andspanning" your arms to display off your muscles. By illustration attentionto Molly"s exceptional strength, Mr. Jaggers accentuates the boys"relative weakness. His case that “very couple of men have the strength ofwrist" the Molly has could be seen as an attempt to humble them.However, the demonstration walk not only reveal Molly"s power; that alsoreveals her lack thereof. She begs to be released yet Mr. Jaggersignores she pleas, “obstinately looking in ~ the opposite next of theroom". Despite her physics power, Molly rectal a place of greatweakness. She is totally at the mercy of her master; as a servantand a woman she can not refuse him. However, the revelation the shemay have committed murder suggests that she to be not always sosubmissive. Wemmick defines Molly as a “wild beast tamed". Bydemonstrating his prominence over this "wild beast", Mr. Jaggersasserts his own strength. His cruelty toward Molly have the right to thus it is in seenas a type of “barring and also spanning", a metaphorical flexing ofmuscles.


1. Molly"s pleas for Mr. Jaggers to release her are similar tothe small girl"s pleas because that Anodos to stop poignant her ball inPhantastes:

I put out both mine hands and also laid host of it. It began to sound asbefore. The sound rapidly increased, it rotates it prospered a low tempest ofharmony, and the globe trembled, and quivered, and throbbed between myhands. I had not the love to traction it away from the maiden, though Iheld it despite her make the efforts to take it it indigenous me; yes, i shame tosay, despite her prayers, and, in ~ last, she tears. The music wenton growing in, intensity and also complication of tones, and the globevibrated and also heaved; till at critical it to explode in our hands, and also a blackvapour damaged upwards from the end of it; climate turned, as if blownsideways, and enveloped the maiden, hiding even the zero in itsblackness.

What function(s) execute these scene serve? Is the fact that themaiden is a young girl whereas Molly is a center aged womansignificant? Why? walk the fact that Anodos is ashamed by hisactions whereas Mr. Jaggers appears to have actually no remorse significant?Why?

2. Were women frequently convicted of murder at the moment inwhich great Expectations take away place? What about at the time in i beg your pardon Dickens to be writing? How, if in ~ all, to be women and men dealt with in different way by the England"s penal code?

3. Space there other examples in good Expectations the physicallystrong personalities in location of weakness? What might great Expectations suggest about the relationship in between strength andpower?

4. The way in which Mr. Jaggers dominates Molly is reminiscent of rape. Does that seem likely that Dickens plan this step to havesexual undercurrents? exactly how is rape commonly depicted in Victorianliterature? Is it regularly veiled through symbolism?

5. Eventually, Pip discovers that Molly is Estella"s mother:

I looked again in ~ those hands and also eyes that thehousekeeper, and thought of the inexplicable emotion that had actually come overme when I critical walked — no alone — in the ruined garden, and through thedeserted brewery. Ns thought just how the exact same feeling had come earlier when Isaw a confront looking at me, and a hand waving to me from a stage-coachwindow; and how it had actually come ago again and had flashed about me likelightning, as soon as I had passed in a carriage — not alone — v a suddenglare of irradiate in a dark street. Ns thought how one link of associationhad helped that identification in the theatre, and how together a link,wanting before, had actually been riveted for me now, when I had passed by achance swift indigenous Estella"s surname to the fingers v their knittingaction, and also the attentive eyes.

See more: How To Format Gamecube Memory Card ? How Do You Reset A Gamecube Memory Card

And I feeling absolutely particular that thiswoman to be Estella"s mother.

What relationship, if any, exists between Molly"s hands as they aredescribed in this scene and also her “disfgured" wrists? go Molly"sphysical appearance change the means Pip see Estella?