Illustration of Pip visiting a graveyard

Great Expectations

by Charles Dickens
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What happens to Mrs. Joe in Great Expectations?

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Mrs. Joe dies after Pip has departed for London. Pip receives this news by letter at the end of chapter 34, but the letter contains no further details about the circumstances of his sister's death. Later, after the funeral, Pip asks Biddy for further information; she tells him that the particulars are "slight." Mrs Joe had been in a "bad state," feeling ill for four days, and then in the evening, she emerged from that state and called out for Joe. Joe came in, and Biddy put his wife's arms around his neck, and Mrs. Joe then laid her head on his shoulder. Her final words were "Joe," "Pardon," and "Pip." After this, she died, seemingly contented, about an hour later.

Prior to this, of course, Mrs. Joe had been attacked in her home by Orlick, the result of which was that she was brain-damaged for the rest of her life and unable to take care of herself.

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