In "Great Expectations", was Joe better off without Pip?i need facts from the book 2 support an answer. Thanks for any help you can provide.

Expert Answers
ms-mcgregor eNotes educator| Certified Educator

To the reader, it might seem Joe is better off without Pip. But, we have to realize that when the novel opens, Pip is the only child Joe has to raise. There is a strong bond between the two of them. He loves Pip as his own and is proud to have him as an apprentice. Joe doesn't stand in Pip's way when he gets an unknown benefactor but that doesn't mean he's better off. He misses Pip terribly. Joe loves Pip so much that he takes care of Pip when Pip is sick and penniless. Joe seems to be a mature enough character that he realizes Pip will come to his senses eventually. Of course, Joe is correct and in the end Pip realizes he owes Joe a huge debt of gratitude. Pip, in turn, does not stand in Joe's way when Joe marries Biddy.

mwestwood eNotes educator| Certified Educator

With a shrew for a wife and physically demanding work, having Pip in his house was the one beautifully tender part of Joe's life.  For, he and Pip were equals in defending themselves against the cruelty of Mrs. Joe.  They sat together and talked, Pip accompanied Joe places such as the tavern.  Pip is like a little brother that Joe has to love and protect.  Without Pip, sharing and meaning and happiness are missing in Joe's life.

amy-lepore eNotes educator| Certified Educator

I don't think so.  Joe and Pip were very close and in cahoots against Mrs. Joe when she went on rampages.  Joe loves Pip even though Pip is embarrassed by Joe's unsophisticated manner and his uneducated mind.  Joe is a simple man, and Pip has become too big for his britches.  Perhaps Joe might be better off with the Pip that Pip has become...the stuffy, gentleman Pip who is condescending and overbearing. 

huntgoddess | Student

Dickens modeled Joe Gargery on a skilled craftsperson he admired.

G.K. Chesterton said that Joe Gargery and Trab's boy---"don't know ya, don't know ya, 'pon my word, don't know ya"---together personify the British working class.

Maybe they personify the American working class, as well. They work hard, tell the truth and have no pretense.


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Great Expectations

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