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In Chapter 29 of Great Expectations, why does Pip not visit Joe?When Pip returns to...

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bayhaylay | Student, Grade 9 | eNotes Newbie

Posted April 12, 2011 at 7:04 AM via web

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In Chapter 29 of Great Expectations, why does Pip not visit Joe?

When Pip returns to home for a visit, why doesn't he visit Joe?

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mwestwood | College Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

Posted April 12, 2011 at 7:38 AM (Answer #1)

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After Joe's uncomfortable visit in which Pip is ashamed of him before Herbert, Joe tells Pip that he will not come to London again as he belongs on the forge and not in the city.  He humbly tells Pip that there will be less fault to find in him if Pip visits him at home.  Touching Pip gently upon the forehead, Joe departs.  Pip stands at the top of the stairs assessing himself, then he runs out into the streets to find Joe, but he is gone.

In the next chapter of Great Expectations,  Pip's conscience yet bothers him regarding his embarassment by Joe's visit, so he thinks,       

It was clear that I must repair to our town next day, and in the first flow of my repentance it was equally clear that I must stay at Joe's. 

However, Pip, the snob that he has become, makes excuses to himself that he is unexpected, his bed will not be ready, his visit will be inconvenient, and he will be too far from Miss Havisham's if he stays at the forge.  Interestingly, though, Pip calls himself a word that he has used for Uncle Pumblechook:  a swindler; for, he recognizes his pretentiousness.

Ironically, by staying at the Blue Boar, Pip overhears two convicts, who ride behind him, speak of the bank notes that he was given as a boy.  This incident is one of Dickens's characteristic coincidences which foreshadows the visit from the old convict.  Also ironically, "swindler" that he is, Pip reads in the newspaper in the Blue Boar's tavern of how Pumblechook has taken credit for being the mentor of the area's "Telemachus."

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