Illustration of Pip visiting a graveyard

Great Expectations

by Charles Dickens

Start Free Trial

Why do Joe and Biddy name their son Pip in Chapter 59 of Great Expectations?

Expert Answers

An illustration of the letter 'A' in a speech bubbles

Eleven years pass before Pip, the prodigal son, returns to the forge; during this time he has lived with Herbert and his wife Clara and worked as a clerk for Clarikker and paid all his debts, while staying in touch somewhat with Joe and Biddy.  However, he is surprised at he approaches the forge to find the graying Joe with Biddy and two children, one of whom is a little boy that bears a striking resemblance to himself. Pip is also surprised to learn that the child has been named Pip in his honor. As Pip takes a stool beside the boy, careful not to rumple his hair as he had loathed this action as a child himself, Joe tells him, 

“We giv' him the name of Pip for your sake, dear old chap, ... and we hoped he might grow a little bit like you, and we think he do.”

Certainly, Pip is touched by Joe's last remark since he has been so arrogant and inconsiderate of Joe in the past.  But, it is typical of Joe's forgiving heart and charity that he would name his own son after the little boy of whom he was so very fond and misses so much.

See eNotes Ad-Free

Start your 48-hour free trial to get access to more than 30,000 additional guides and more than 350,000 Homework Help questions answered by our experts.

Get 48 Hours Free Access
Approved by eNotes Editorial