In Chapter 24 of Great Expectations, what mixed feelings does Pip get when Joe visits?

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litteacher8 | High School Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

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Pip is worried about Joe’s coming.  He says he looks to it without pleasure “though I was bound to him by so many ties; no; with considerable disturbance, some mortification, and a keen sense of incongruity” (p. 149).  Pip is ashamed of Joe.  He does not want Bentley Drummle to see him.  He does not want anyone to know about his humble beginnings.

Pip knows he is tied to Joe, but he says that if he “could have kept him away by paying money” he would have.  He does not mind close friends seeing him.

So, throughout life, our worst weaknesses and meannesses are usually committed for the sake of the people whom we most despise. (ch 27, p. 149)

Despite not wanting Joe to come, Pip seems to want to impress him.  Pip has decorated his rooms extravagantly and even hired a servant boy to stay in the hall to receive visitors.  He lights fires and lamps to make it comfortable, yet somewhat resents Herbert’s carefully choosing foods he might like.

When Joe arrives, he is clearly uncomfortable (“stiff from head to foot”) and so is Pip, who does not like that Joe keeps calling him “sir” (p. 151).  Pip is critical of Joe’s dress and preoccupied with the fact that he keeps losing his hat.  Joe does not stay long though, and Pip seems confused that he is not staying and not coming back.  Joe leaves, and by the time Pip gathers himself to go after him, he is gone.

This incident is a perfect example of how Pip’s expectations have distanced him from his family.  Joe is uncomfortable around him, and even more so because Pip never invites him and never goes to visit him.

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