Great Expectations Questions and Answers
by Charles Dickens

Great Expectations book cover
Start Your Free Trial

In Great Expectations, how did Mr. and Mrs. Joe treat Pip?

Expert Answers info

Gretchen Mussey eNotes educator | Certified Educator

calendarEducator since 2015

write10,226 answers

starTop subjects are Literature, History, and Law and Politics

Mrs. Joe is Pip's older sister, who raised her infant brother after the death of their parents. Mrs. Joe is portrayed as an abusive woman who brings Pip up "by the hand," meaning that she beats him often. Mrs. Joe views Pip with contempt and resents the fact that she was forced to care for him at such a young age. She constantly places the blame on Pip, refuses to listen to him, and believes that he is an annoying little boy.

In contrast, Joe Gargery, her husband, is a loving, compassionate man who is kind to Pip and shares a close friendship with him. Joe Gargery also fears Mrs. Joe and tries his best to stick up for Pip by giving him the benefit of the doubt. Joe Gargery constantly warns Pip when Mrs. Joe is in a bad mood and is significantly more tolerant than his wife. Overall, Pip suffers under his sister's abusive hand but is thankful to live with a warm, compassionate man like Joe Gargery.

Further Reading:

check Approved by eNotes Editorial