Compare the Pip-Joe relationship with the Pip-Magwitch relationship.

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Pip, who is fatherless, finds father figures in both Joe Gargery, his brother-in-law, and in Abel Magwitch, his benefactor/convict. The characters of both men are opposites at first glance: Joe is a calm, kind, and thoughtful blacksmith, while Magwitch is a bitter, violent criminal. Yet through the progress of the story, Pip has similar feelings about both: shame for their social condition in relation to his own desire to be an upright gentleman, and thus a rejection of both. With Joe, Pip feels he has progressed beyond that working-class comrade from his youth, being ashamed of his uncouth dress and manners when he comes to London to visit, as well as resentful of his own ignorance of the “right way” to live, such as calling a knave a jack when he and Estella first met and played cards. Pip even tries to avoid seeing Joe when he returns to his birthplace. Pip feels shame for his rejection of Joe, at least in hindsight, and eventually returns to his love for the blacksmith when he realizes the true nature of his inheritance from Magwitch.

Pip’s shame of Magwitch (Provis) when the convict returns to England from exile is founded on the criminal background of his benefactor. It is only when Magwitch is unsuccessful in his escape and is fatally injured that Pip openly expresses his fondness for the man who tried to make a gentleman of him. In this way, Pip’s relationships with both Joe and Magwitch become more of a son’s love and gratitude for a father. With all their flaws, Pip accepts Joe and Magwitch for the goodness that is in their hearts, rather than the outward appearance or rough background from which they come.

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