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How would you describe Pip and Mrs. Joe's relationship throughout Great Expectations?

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mustang4 | Student, Grade 9 | eNotes Newbie

Posted January 6, 2011 at 8:45 AM via web

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How would you describe Pip and Mrs. Joe's relationship throughout Great Expectations?

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dawninmoon | Student, Undergraduate | eNoter

Posted January 22, 2011 at 3:50 PM (Answer #1)

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I like to answer this question by picking out important events of the story. First of all I like to discuss the character of Mrs Joe who is Pip's (the hero of the novel) sister.The first opportunity we get to know the influence of Mrs Joe upon Pip is when on Christmas Eve, Pip had to stole food from his own sister's house for a frightening man in a village churchyard. The man was a convict who has escaped from a prison ship. It proves that even though Pip is Mrs Joe's brother , he had no permissions for doing something against her sister's will.Mrs Joe is also a kind of mother figure towards Pip because she brought Pip up "by hand"which means that she bottle fed him when he was younger.But it is also true that Mrs Joe is a tough person to handle. Mrs Joe always beats Pip around and has nothing good to say about her little brother. Mrs Joe's furious self even attacks her own husband Mr Joe who is a kind man and a blacksmith without any ambition and it is assumed that Pip will follow his footsteps in near future. We can say that Mrs Joe is a woman who raised Pip with heavy hand and is a generally unpleasant woman. But she changes unimaginably when a mysterious intruder clobbers her with an iron shackle. After this , Mrs Joe turns kind , though she is almost completely lost her capability for living her life. She dies while Pip is in London and her death brings Pip back to marshes for the funeral and to stay with Mr Joe.

Throughout the novel Great Expectations Pip's character and personality changes. There are some influences over him which made it occur.One of the main influences over the character of Pip is of course  is a girl named Estella who lives in the Manor House near Pip's home in the marshes. Although she insults Pip constantly , he falls in love with her. So when she tells "And what course hands he has! And what thick boots!" he takes it to heart. He begins to feel ashamed of his uneducated family and longs to be a gentleman.Indeed Estella's influence over Pip is a bad one. Another influence which is rather a good one is of the convict for whom Pip felt the first guilt in his childhood for stealing the food from his own sister's house. His name is Magwitch. He provided money for Pip when in London so that Pip can enjoy his life as a gentleman. When Pip first find out that his benefactor is not Estella's step mother Miss Havisham but a mere convict , Pip was disappointed, partly because the source of his money was of a lower class person. But eventually Pip figured it out that even a lower class person like Magwitch can be great and friendly.It is obvious that Pip was greatly influenced by Magwitch. His pride of being a gentleman was humbled by a lower class character. Last but not the least I like to add Mr Joe in this list. He was always a father like character towards Pip and he was also Pip's best friend(truly in heart). At first Pip was also embarrassed by Mr Joe and his simple manners but as the novel progresses we find out that he is Pip's true friend and surely a good and trustworthy person.Later when Pip falls sick , Joe nurses him back to health and pays off all of his debts. Joe is often in Pip's mind as a reminder of the simple and honest life he left behind , when he left the marshes.

There are others who also influenced upon Pip to make him the hero as he is of the novel but in this short space I like to end this here with the three major among them.If anything said wrong let me know,ike to correct it myself too.

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litteacher8 | Middle School Teacher | (Level 1) Distinguished Educator

Posted February 20, 2011 at 8:01 AM (Answer #2)

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I am not sure if you are asking us to describe both characters, or to look at their relationship.  I assume you are asking about the relationship between Pip and his sister.

Pip is heavily influenced by the death of his parents.  His sister raises him.  She married Joe Gargery, thus the name Mrs. Joe. 

Mrs. Joe is a cruel, hard woman.  She is verbally and physically abusive to Pip.  By saying she raises him "by hand" with "Tickler," Dickens uses irony to point out that she beats him regularly with a cane.  Joe, on the other hand, is kind and caring.  Joe does not interfere with Mrs. Joe's abuse, and in fact she often attacks him too.  It is not hard to see why Pip would take the money and want to leave her behind as quickly as possible.

Ironically, Mrs. Joe changes when Orlick attacks her.  She reverts back to childlike innocence in her final days, while Joe and Biddy care for her.  Biddy is the opposite of Mrs. Joe in many ways, and is kind and sweet to Mrs. Joe even after how poorly she treated her family. 

Once Pip leaves, he does not have much contact with her.  Pip does feel some sympathy for Joe at his sister's death, but he is pleased that Joe marries Biddy.  Pip later regrets not paying more attention to the people who really cared about him, such as Biddy and Joe.  Perhaps if his sister had better treated him, he would have.

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capricorn377 | Student, Grade 9 | eNoter

Posted April 26, 2012 at 7:58 PM (Answer #3)

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WHOOOO thanks helped me out a TONNNN!!!

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