How would you describe the relationship between Pip and Joe in chapter four of Great Expectatins?  

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Payal Khullar | College Teacher | (Level 2) Associate Educator

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In the novel Great Expectations by Charles Dickens, Joe is the husband of Pip’s sister, Mrs Joe Gargery. It is Mrs Joe who raised Pip after the death of both the parents. Mrs Joe is a strict and callous lady who keeps reminding poor Pip of the sacrifices she made for him. Both Joe and Pip struggle to live with a tough and insensitive person like Mrs Joe.

In chapter four, we find that Pip is afraid of being caught for helping a victim and he remains this way throughout the dinner. Mrs Joe is nice only in the company of guests. Otherwise, she is heartless and keeps cribbing. Together, Joe and Pip bear the brunt of her rants. The guests at the dinner, Wopsle, Hubble, Pumblechook pass comments that upset Pip a lot. While everyone keeps talking nonsense, Joe and Pip silently eat the dinner. They are not allowed to argue or cross-question. Joe tries to comfort Pip by serving him gravy several times.

Thus we see Joe and Pip share the same status in the family (in contrast to Mrs Joe). Joe is kind, caring and protective towars Pip. They are more like friends. They both develop a beautiful cordial relationship, a relationship that emerges because of common sufferings and deep understanding of each other. 

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