Are there any other examples of forgiveness in the book Great Expectations besides Miss Havisham?

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mwestwood eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Another example of asking for forgiveness is evinced in Pip who asks Joe to forgive him for rejecting Joe when he visited in London and for his absence from the Forge; in short, for having neglected his old friend and father figure. 

In Chapter LVII, after Pip has remained with the dying Magwitch, he returns to the Temple where he falls ill with a raging fever from his experiences in the river and his sleep deprivation. As he slips in and out of consciousness, Pip sees debt collectors who take pity on his situation and do not remove him. He continues in his delirium, seeing Joe as he fades in and out of consciousness, thinking his old friend's face is just a vision. But, one day after his fever and illness has lessened, Pip asks for a drink of water, and Pip notes that "the face that looked so hopefully and tenderly upon me was the face of Joe."

Finally, when Pip begins to recover his strength, he dares to ask, "Is it Joe?" The reply is from the loving voice of this very man, "Which it air, old chap." Joe's kindness tears at Pip's heart because he has neglected to write or visit Joe for a long time:

Oh, Joe, you break my heart! Look angry at me, Joe. Strike me, Joe. Tell me of my ingratitude. Don't be so good to me!"

Joe feels there is nothing to forgive, although he clearly appreciates Pip's gratitude and apology:

"Which dear old Pip, old chap...you and me was ever friends. And when you're well enough to go out for a ride--what larks!"

After this, Pip does visit Joe and Biddy at the forge, and the old friendship between Joe and Pip is renewed.

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Great Expectations

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