Posted by: marycib | September 22, 2010

Esther’s Insecurity

Esther’s insecurity becomes more pronounced after her illness when she realizes that her features have become so changed that Charley has removed all of the mirrors from her room and the adjoining room. Although Esther does not at first seem to care much that she looks different and even says to Charley, “It matters very little, Charley. I hope I can do without my old face very well”, she soon begins to dwell on the matter (Dickens 498). Esther’s contemplation of Ada’s reaction especially confirms that she is concerned about how much her looks have changed. “I hope it was not a poor thing in me to wish to be a little more used to my altered self before I met the eyes of the dear girl I long so ardently to see, but it is the truth” (Dickens 501). Esther’s fear of seeing Ada might stem from the notion that Ada is always portrayed as being a beautiful young woman, whereas Esther has never been known for her beauty, but rather her kindness. Esther cannot even bear to see Ada’s own face when she states, “Yet I never saw her, for I had not as yet the courage to look at the dear face, though I could have done so easily without her seeing me” (Dickens 503). Esther might feel that seeing Ada’s beautiful face would make her feel worse about her own altered appearance. Esther seems to fear Ada’s reaction to her changed looks the most. Esther’s lack of confidence also increases when she imagines Mr. Woodcourt’s response to her changed appearance. “What should I have suffered if I had to write to him and tell him that the poor face he had known as mine was quite gone from me and that I freely released him from his bondage to one whom he had never seen!” (Dickens 509). Although she is nervous to see her guardian, she knows that he would never shun her for her appearance. Esther even seems comforted by her guardian’s reaction and says to herself, “‘He has seen me, and he loves me better than he did; he has seen me and is even fonder of me than he was before; and what have I to mourn for!’” (Dickens 498). Even though Esther is well loved by many people, she still worries whether everyone will still love her when she appears so altered.


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