In Great Expectations, do you think that Joe's attitude has changed toward Pip after Pip has the idea of being uncommon?

Expert Answers

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

Joe never treats Pip differently, even after he visits Miss Havisham and begins to want more for himself.  He is puzzled by Pip’s new ambitions, and objects when Pip lies about what really happens at Miss Havisham’s house.

Joe considers himself Pip’s friend.  He is not really an authority figure.  Pip resents him somewhat for not being more of a gentleman.

After spending time with Estella and Miss Havisham, Pip is no longer satisfied with who he is.  He blames some of this on Joe.

I determined to ask Joe why he had ever taught me to call those picture-cards, Jacks, which ought to be called knaves. I wished Joe had been rather more genteelly brought up, and then I should have been so too. (ch 8, p. 44)

Joe has no problem with Pip becoming wealthy.  He wants the best for him.  He does object to Pip’s lying to Mrs. Joe and Uncle Pumblechook about what happened at her house.

“There's one thing you may be sure of, Pip,” said Joe, after some rumination, “namely, that lies is lies.  (ch 9, p. 49)

Joe does not believe Pip’s lying is good, because he wants him to be honest.  He does not understand why Pip thinks he is “ignorant and backward” now that he has seen Estella.

When Joe goes to Miss Havisham so she can pay him to indenture Pip, Joe is embarrassed and insists on talking to Pip instead of Miss Havisham, which makes Pip ashamed of him.

Throughout the story, good old Joe does not change.  Pip changes, and becomes a worse and then better person, but Joe remains a stable and stalwart supporter of Pip no matter what he does.

Approved by eNotes Editorial Team

Posted on

Soaring plane image

We’ll help your grades soar

Start your 48-hour free trial and unlock all the summaries, Q&A, and analyses you need to get better grades now.

  • 30,000+ book summaries
  • 20% study tools discount
  • Ad-free content
  • PDF downloads
  • 300,000+ answers
  • 5-star customer support
Start your 48-Hour Free Trial