In Great Expectations, what examples in the book prove that Joe is really happy?

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litteacher8 eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Joe lives a hard life.  He is a blacksmith, which is a rugged, physical and very tiring trade. He marries a harsh, abusive woman who does not think highly of him.  She also constantly barrages him with both physical and verb attacks.  He also is left responsible for his nephew, Pip.

Despite all this, Joe could best be described as happy-go-lucky.  Whatever happens, Joe just goes with it.  He cares for his wife, even though she is cruel.  He has a childlike innocence, and is more of a compatriot than parent to Pip.  He repeatedly protects Pip from his wife, and warns him when she is “on the rampage” and planning to beat him.

Joe acts more like a friend to Pip than an adult.  In fact, Pip does not consider Joe the head of the household.  Joe also indicates that he cares for Pip as a companion and not like a father.  In chapter 2:

“You know, Pip,” said Joe, solemnly, with his last bite in his cheek, and speaking in a confidential voice, as if we two were quite alone, “you and me is always friends, and I'd be the last to tell upon you, any time."

 No matter what happens, Joe seems to live his life cheerfully.  When Mrs. Joe is attacked, he cares for her and brings in Biddy to help.  He then marries Biddy, giving him a chance to be truly happy since Biddy has a similarly sweet, childlike personality.

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Great Expectations

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