In "Great Expectations", why does Joe allow Mrs. Joe to be in total control of the household, despite her abuse?

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pmiranda2857 eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Joe Gargery is a simple, uneducated, hardworking man.  Like many men who marry bossy, dominating women, Joe allows his wife to be in charge because he isn't capable of doing it himself.  Even though she is abusive, she does her job in the house very efficiently. Joe's personality is submissive, kind and loving, he does not challenge Mrs. Joe, he accepts her as she is.

He puts up with his wife's harsh abuse because he  genuinely loves Pip.  Since Mrs. Joe is Pip's sister, she has total say regarding how he is to be raised.  She runs the household, is very stern and commands her husband and Pip with the tickler, a cane.

"Joe is Pip's uncle and surrogate father, but also a fellow-sufferer from his wife's nasty temper and violent behavior. He is a rough, strong working man who generally keeps his emotions to himself. According to Joe, whenever he had tried to protect young Pip from his sister's abuse, she not only hit Joe too but hurt Pip the "heavier for it."    

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Great Expectations

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