Great Expectations

Great Expectations

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Satis House Symbol Icon
Satis House is a symbol of frustrated expectations. The word "satis" comes from the Latin word for "enough," and the house must have been given its name as a blessing or as a premonition that its residents would be satisfied with the lives they led between its walls. Yet throughout the novel, Satis House houses nothing but dashed dreams and bitter disappointments. Miss Havisham turns the house into a shrine to her betrayal by Compeyson for twenty years. Likewise, Pip's most tenderly cherished expectation—that he will marry Estella—is formed and destroyed at Satis House. The disappointments Satis House contains can only be repaired at the expense of the house itself. Thus, Miss Havisham rediscovers her heart just as her wedding chambers are destroyed by fire. Thus, Pip and Estella look towards a happier relationship only after the house is razed.

Satis House Quotes in Great Expectations

The Great Expectations quotes below all refer to the symbol of Satis House. For each quote, you can also see the other characters and themes related to it (each theme is indicated by its own dot and icon, like this one:
Social Class Theme Icon
). Note: all page and citation info for the quotes below refers to the Dover Publications edition of Great Expectations published in 2001.
Book 1, Chapter 15 Quotes

Miss Havisham and Estella and the strange house and the strange life appeared to have something to do with everything that was picturesque.

Related Characters: Pip Pirrip (speaker), Estella Havisham, Miss Havisham
Related Symbols: Satis House
Page Number: 85
Explanation and Analysis:

Pip plans to visit Miss Havisham’s house (Statis House) after an extended absence. He reflects here on the way he continues to idealize the dwelling and those within it.

This description is deeply ironic in its use of the term “picturesque.” The term means, in a general sense, pretty or attractive, but it has a specific connotation of quaintness and delicacy. Recall that Satis House is decrepit, Miss Havisham is a deranged parody of upper class sensibilities, and Estella is a mean-spirited critic of Pip’s every action. None of this is particularly picturesque. Yet Pip reduces these qualities to the even-keeled word “strange,” thus focusing on their unusual and alluring nature, as opposed to what is actually quite negative about the strangeness.

The next phrase is similarly ambiguous. Instead of directly saying that he enjoys or idealizes their house and life, Pip obscures his point with a series of odd qualifiers. The helping verb “appeared” indicates that they are not actually picturesque, and the phrase “something to do with everything” marks the fragility of this relationship. Thus Dickens shows how deeply Pip’s assessments of upper class life have been warped by his emotional connection to Miss Havisham and particularly Estella. He is unable to actually observe what is picturesque or not—and he can only form bizarre connections based on his intuitive attraction to their lifestyle.

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Satis House Symbol Timeline in Great Expectations

The timeline below shows where the symbol Satis House appears in Great Expectations. The colored dots and icons indicate which themes are associated with that appearance.
Book 3, Chapter 43
Social Class Theme Icon
...of shopping for more gentlemanly goods). Told at Richmond that Estella has gone back to Satis House , Pip feels disconcerted—he has always chaperoned her trip in the past. (full context)
Social Class Theme Icon
Pip travels back to the village to visit Satis House and is surprised to run into Bentley Drummle at the Blue Boar. The two have... (full context)
Book 3, Chapter 44
Integrity and Reputation Theme Icon
Justice Theme Icon
Pip goes to Satis House and explains to Miss Havisham and Estella that he has met his patron but doesn't... (full context)
Book 3, Chapter 49
Parents Theme Icon
Pip asks about Estella's past. Miss Havisham tells him Mr. Jaggers brought Estella to Satis House after Miss Havisham asked him to find her an orphan girl. She does not know... (full context)
Book 3, Chapter 59
Integrity and Reputation Theme Icon
Still, Pip secretly wishes to revisit the site of Satis House for Estella's sake. He has heard that she has been abused by and separated from... (full context)