Pip says, "I only saw in him a much better man than I had been to Joe." Explain how this shows Pip's growth as a character.

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litteacher8 eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Pip grows up fast when Magwitch comes back into his life.  He realizes that he has treated Joe badly, and he regrets his actions.

To fully understand Pip’s statement, we need the rest of the quote.  Pip reflects:

For now my repugnance to him had all melted away, and in the hunted wounded shackled creature who held my hand in his, I only saw a man who had meant to be my benefactor, and who had felt affectionately, gratefully, and generously, towards me with great constancy through a series of years. (ch 54, enotes etext p. 300)

The “him” Pip is referring to is Magwitch.  This demonstrates how Pip has matured because he sees both Joe and Magwitch as father figures.  When he got his expectations, he spurned Joe and became a terrible person.  He was ashamed of Joe, and forgot his upbringing.

When Magwitch came back into his life, Pip realized that he had become cold and unfeeling.  Magwitch had sent him the money because he was impressed by Pip’s kindness and compassion.  He felt as if he had betrayed both Joe and Magwitch, and it was not until Magwitch returned and he lost the money that he realized his mistake.  Pip realizes he had made better choices, and treated Joe better.


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Great Expectations

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