Words of Wisdom:

"With great power comes great responsibility." - SoPhIsTiCaTeD_fOrD

Compare the Poems “Havisham” and “the Laboratory” 1

  • Date Submitted: 03/23/2011 03:12 PM
  • Flesch-Kincaid Score: 79.3 
  • Words: 346
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Miss Havisham is aware of her own stink - because she does not ever change her clothes nor wash. She stays in bed and screams in denial. At other times she looks and asks herself “who did this” to her? She sometimes dreams almost tenderly or erotically of her lost lover, but when she wakes the hatred and anger return. Thinking of how she “stabbed at the wedding cake” she now wants to work out her revenge on a “male corpse” - presumably that of her lover.

The poem is written in four stanzas which are unrhymed. Many of the lines run on, and the effect is like normal speech. The poet

uses many adjectives of colour - “green”, “puce”, “white” and “red” and
lists parts of the body “eyes”, “hands”, “tongue”, “mouth”, “ear” and “face”.
Sometimes the meaning is clear, but other lines are more open - and there are hints of violence in “strangle”, “bite”, “bang” and “stabbed”. It is not clear what exactly Miss Havisham would like to do on her “long slow honeymoon”, but we can be sure that it is not pleasant.

Why does the poet omit Miss Havisham's title and refer to her by her surname only?
Why does the poet write “spinster” on its own? What does Miss Havisham think about this word and its relevance to her?
What is the effect of “Nooooo” and “b-b-breaks”? Why are these words written in this way?
What is the meaning of the image of “a red balloon bursting”?
How far does the poet want us to sympathize with Miss Havisham?
Does the reader have to know about Great Expectations to understand the poem?
Does Miss Havisham have a fair view of men? What do you think of her view of being an unmarried woman?
Perhaps the most important part of the poem is the question “who did this/to me?” How far does the poem show that Miss Havisham is responsible for her own misery, and how far does it support her feelings of self-pity and her desire for revenge?

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