Suffering is a Strong Teacher

atkins bookshelf quotations“[S]uffering has been stronger than all other teaching, and has taught me to understand what your heart used to be. I have been bent and broken, but—I hope—into a better shape.”

Estella speaking to Pip in the final chapter of Great Expectations by Charles Dickens. Most readers do not know that Dickens actually wrote two endings to Great Expectations. In the original manuscript, Pip and Estella meet; she has suffered greatly. Estella’s first husband was abusive and when he died, she married a poor doctor. Estella and Pip then part as strangers. One of Dicken’s friends read the manuscript and suggested that he end the novel on a more positive note. And that is the ending we all know: Pip and Estella reunite, walking off hand-in-hand.

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