“I begin to think,” said Estella, in a musing way, after another moment of calm wonder, “that I almost understand how this comes about. If you had brought up your adopted daughter wholly in the dark confinement of these rooms, and had never let her know that there was such a thing as the daylight by which she has never once seen your face—if you had done that, and then, for a purpose, had wanted her to understand the daylight and know all about it, you would have been disappointed and angry? . . .”
“Or,” said Estella, “—which is a nearer case—if you had taught her, from the dawn of her intelligence, with your utmost energy and might, that there was such a thing as daylight, but that it was made to be her enemy and destroyer, and she must always turn against it, for it had blighted you and would else blight her—if you had done this, and then, for a purpose, had wanted her to take naturally to the daylight and she could not do it, you would have been disappointed and angry? . . .”
“So,” said Estella, “I must be taken as I have been made. The success is not mine, the failure is not mine, but the two together make me.”
makes this speech to Miss Havisham in Chapter
Estella concludes this metaphor by reminding Miss Havisham that she made her as she is, and that Miss Havisham is responsible for her creation. Estella says that both Miss Havisham’s “success” (Estella’s coldness and cruelty) and her “failure” (Estella’s inability to express her emotions and inability to love) make her who she is. This quote is extremely important to Estella’s development as a character, because it indicates her gradual arrival at self-knowledge, which will eventually enable her to overcome her past. The speech is also one of the best descriptions of Estella’s character to be found in the book.