In Chapter 40, How does Abel Magwitch resemble Joe? Identify at least four characteristics they share.Can you give proof?

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mwestwood's profile pic

mwestwood | College Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

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Joe Gargery and Abel Magwitch of Great Expectations are the only two people who deeply love Pip. Even after Pip in his snobishness has neglected Joe by not visiting him, it is Joe who comes to his rescue after he is burned.  It is Joe who tenderly attends to his fever, sitting by his beside until he recovers.  And when Pip hears "the dear old home voice" of Joe and looks upon the face that "hopefully and tenderly" watches him, Pip recriminates himself,

"Oh, Joe , you break my heart!  Look angry at me, Joe. Strike me, Joe.Tell me of my ingratitude.  Don't be so good to me!"

But, laying his head on the pillow at Pip's side and putting his arm around Pip's neck, Joe says,

..."you and me was ever friends.  And when you're well enough to out for a ride--what larks!"

Likewise, the old convict, Magwitch, has a tender fondness and love for Pip.  Remembering the boy who was kind to a miserable wretch, Magwitch saves the money he has made sheep farming and the gift from his boss, sending this money to London so that Pip may become a gentleman.  With a nostalgia for the child that he has lost, Magwitch risks hanging to return to London to see the young man who has become a gentleman because of him.  Upon their first encounter, he holds Pip's hand, calling him "dear boy."  Although repulsed at first by Magwitch and the realization that he is his benefactor, Pip innate sympathies are aroused at the pitiable condition of the old convict.  He elicits Herbert's aid in trying to get Magwitch out of the country, but the convict is arrested.  Nevertheless, Pip remains by the old man's bedside as he dies from having contracted pneumonia in the cold waters of the river.  To ease Magwitch's spiritual pain, Pip tells him that his daughter yet lives; she is beautiful and he loves her.  At this news, the prisoner raises Pip's hand to his lips and kisses it. Still holding Pip's hands lovingly, he dies.  Like Joe Gargery, Magwitch dearly loves Pip and is unselfish in his relationship with him.  From both these men, Pip learns invaluable lessons.

ajmchugh's profile pic

ajmchugh | High School Teacher | (Level 1) Associate Educator

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One of the most striking similarities between Abel Magwitch and Joe is the way Pip describes--and is repulsed by--their lack of table manners at mealtime. 

In Chapter 40, Pip gives Magwitch food, and observes the way he eats:

He ate in a ravenous way that was very disagreeable, and all his actions were uncouth, noisy, and greedy.  Some of his teeth had failed him since I saw him eat on the  marshes, and as he turned food in his mouth, and turned his head sideways to bring his strongest fangs to bear upon it, he looked terribly like a hungry old dog.

This observation repulses Pip, who loses his appetite by watching Magwitch devour his food. 

In a similar situation, Pip observes Joe eating in Chapter 27 and is embarrassed by Joe's lack of table manners--especially since Herbert is present.

He fell into such unaccountable fits of meditation, with his fork midway between his plate and his mouth; had his eyes attracted in such strange directions; was afflicted with such remarkable coughs; sat so far from the table and dropped so much more than he ate, and pretended that he hadn't dropped it;

Again, Pip's judgmental behavior, his feelings of superiority, and his new-found gentlemanly manners cause him to look down upon both Joe and Magwitch because they don't possess the proper manners which Pip has just recently learned. 

lit24's profile pic

lit24 | College Teacher | (Level 3) Valedictorian

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1. Both Joe and Magwitch are the surrogate parents of Pip. In Ch.7 we read of how Joe came to adopt Pip:

I said to her, 'And bring the poor little child. God bless the poor little child,' I said to your sister, 'there's room for him at the forge!'"

Similarly, in Ch.40 Magwitch remarks,

"And this," said he, dandling my hands up and down in his, as he puffed at his pipe; "and this is the gentleman what I made! The real genuine One! It does me good fur to look at you, Pip. All I stip'late, is, to stand by and look at you, dear boy!"

2. However, Pip is always embarrassed by both Joe and Magwitch and would prefer not to have any contact with both of them in London city. In Ch.27 when Joe writes to him saying that he is coming to London to visit him, Pip says:

Let me confess exactly, with what feelings I looked forward to Joe's coming.

Not with pleasure, though I was bound to him by so many ties; no; with considerable disturbance, some mortification, and a keen sense of incongruity. If I could have kept him away by paying money, I certainly would have paid money.

Similarly, throughout Ch. 40 Pip wishes that Magwitch had never come to meet him in London and he does his best to keep Magwitch's presence in his room a secret:

He was to remain shut up in the chambers while I was gone, and was on no account to open the door.

3. Both Magwitch and Joe do not how to eat elegantly using a fork. In Ch.27 Pip is embarrassed by Joe's table manners:

Then he fell into such unaccountable fits of meditation, with his fork midway between his plate and his mouth; had his eyes attracted in such strange directions; was afflicted with such remarkable coughs; sat so far from the table, and dropped so much more than he ate, and pretended that he hadn't dropped it; that I was heartily glad when Herbert left us for the city.

Similarly, in Ch.40 Pip is repulsed by the Magwitch devours his food:

He ate in a ravenous way that was very disagreeable, and all his actions were uncouth, noisy, and greedy.

4. The clothes that both of them wear when they are in London do not suit them. In Ch. 27 Pip describes Joe as,

As to his shirt-collar, and his coat-collar, they were perplexing to reflect upon - insoluble mysteries both. Why should a man scrape himself to that extent, before he could consider himself full dressed?

Similarly, in Ch.40 Pip remarks on Magwitch's dress in the following manner,

Next day the clothes I had ordered, all came home, and he put them on. Whatever he put on, became him less (it dismally seemed to me) than what he had worn before. To my thinking, there was something in him that made it hopeless to attempt to disguise him. The more I dressed him and the better I dressed him, the more he looked like the slouching fugitive on the marshes.

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