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In Stage One of Great Expectations, Pip attends evening school in the village where Biddy teaches him to write his letters. Upon returning home, Pip writes upon his slate, handing it to Joe, who compliments Pip as "a scholar." Joe confesses to Pip that he has never learned to read as he was forced to work to support his father and him. He tells Pip the history of his having met Mrs. Joe, speaking kindly of her, and his having said to include "the poor little child" in their family, Pip feels "a new admiration" for Joe:
I had a new sensation of feeling conscious that I was looking up to Joe in my heart.
This admiration for Joe wans after Pip has gone to Satis House to play with Estella, who ridicules him for being "coarse and common":
They [his hands and his boots] had never troubled me before, but they troubled me now. I determined to ask Joe why he had taught me to call those picture card jacks, which ought to be called knaves. I wished Joe had been rather more genteelly brought up, and then I should have been so, too.
After he returns home and goes to his little room, Pip reflects,
That was a memorable day to me, for made great changes in me. But it is the same with any life. Imagine one selected day struck out of it, and think how different its course would have been....think for a moment of the long chain of iron or gold, of thorns or flowers, that would never have bound you, but for the formation of the first link on one memorable day.
Then, on the day that he is apprenticed to Joe, Pip remarks,
It is a most miserable thing to feel ashamed of hom....I had beleived in the kitchen as a chaste though not magnificent apartment; I had believed in the forge as the glowing road to manhood and independence. Within a single year all this was changed. Now, it was all coarse and common, and I would not have had Miss Havisham and Estella see it on any account.
While he is in London, Joe visits, but Pip is ashamed of him and embarrassed before Herbert. So, Joe departs; Pip recovers from his haughty behavior and hurries to ask forgiveness, but Joe is gone, and Pip realizes,
I had not been mistaken in my fancy that there was a simple dignity in him.
Finally, Pip changes in his attitude toward Magwitch from having been repulsed by him, to loving him. As Magwitch/Provis lies dying, Pip thinks,
It was a good thing that he had touched this point....he need never know how his hopes of enriching me had perished.
And, he returns to his loving attitude toward Joe, who nurses him after he is burned. Pip returns to the forge and begs forgiveness:
"Oh, Joe, you break my heart! Look angry at me, Joe...Tell me of my ingratitude. Don't be so good to me!"
Pip also realizes that he owes much to Herbert's "cheerful industry and reddiness:
...I often wondered how I had conceived that old idea of his inaptitude, until I was one day enlightened by the reflection that perhaps the inaptitude had never been in him at all, but had been in me.
Miss Havisham, who seeks revenge upon the male gender for her personal rejection, finally begs Pip to forgive her for the cruel treatment dealt him by her protege Estella. She tells Pip,
"If you can ever write....'I forgie her,'....I want forgiveness....What have I done!....
Pip observes, "There was an earnest womanly compassion for me in her new affection."
In their final meeting, Estella asks Pip,
"...If you could say that [God bless you] to me then, you will not hesitate to say that to me now--now, when suffering has been stronger than all other teaching, and has taught me to understand what your heart used to be. I have been bent and broken, but-I hope-into a better shape. Be as considerate and good to me as you were, and tell me we are friends."
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