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Explore The Evolution Of Pip And Joe'S Relationship - How It Changes And Develops

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Explore the Evolution of Pip and Joe's Relationship - How it Changes and Develops

Joe is actually Pip's brother-in-law and the village blacksmith. Joe stays with his overbearing, abusive wife--known as Mrs. Joe--solely out of love for Pip. Joe's quiet goodness makes him one of the few completely sympathetic characters in Great Expectations. Although he is uneducated and unrefined, he consistently acts for the benefit of those he loves and suffers in silence when Pip treats him coldly.

From the start of Great Expectations you can tell that the relationship between Pip and Joe is ample strong but what you can't tell from the opening chapters is how there relationship turns out to be a meaningful theme throughout the novel with low points and high points which help define the moods and stages at which Pip and Joe are.

The first noticeable change in Pips and Joes relationship is in chapter 7 when Pip learns of Joe's illiteracy and why. This happens as Pip hands over a slate to Joe which reads,


To Pips obvious surprise, Joe can seemingly only decipher "J" and "O" from whole letter, saying things like this,

"Why, here's a J, and an O equal to anythink! Here's a J and a O, Pip, and a J-O, Joe."

Joe has an extremely unusual love for reading, despite him not being able to read, he simply reads just to see "...a J-O, Joe." After Pip discovers this illiteracy he asks why and finds out that's its due to Joe's dad who unfortunately hit him when he was younger. The conversation in which these quotes are taken from bring Joe and Pips relationship to a much higher level, now they are much more like friends as Pip is starting to see Joe as an equal instead of someone to look up to, Pip has developed from Joe being his father figure to much more of a friend/equal now.

Strangely, despite having a poor up bringing, Joe refers to his dad as;

"But my father were that good in his hart that he couldn't abear to be without us."

Again this points out Joe's illiteracy due to his generally lack of correct grammar and wrong choice of word. Generally this sentence shows how Joe still loved his dad and felt that he was trying to do all he could for Joe and his mother and despite the beating that they both took due to when he was overtaken by drink. This also leads onto the ambiguous way in which Joe uses the word 'hammered'. Firstly he says;

1st Use - "...he hammered away at my mother, most onmerciful [Unmerciful]."

2nd Use - "...only to be equalled by the wigour [Vigour] with which he didn't hammer at his anwil [Anvil]."

The first use of the word describes how his father hit his mother, most unmerciful and the second use describes how this force was not even equalled by the vigour he used at the anvil while in the forge. This is a very effective use of language which helps define how Pip and Joe's relationship is changing as Joe is starting to tell him a lot more about his past.

Almost directly after this conversation Joe speaks of Mrs. Joe as a "Fine figure of a woman." Which Pip, funnily, disagrees with. In this conversation Joe explains to Pip how he is only still with Mrs. Joe due to "...the poor little child..." which was Pip.

"...there's room for him [Pip] at the forge!"

Joe said this when he heard Mrs. Joe was raising Pip by hand as he felt Pip was a "...poor little child..." Again, after this there relationship is amplified - At this point Pip adores Joe for what he has done to help him and how Joe has endured a gruelling childhood but still has enough heart to live with Mrs. Joe for the sake of Pip.

Throughout the whole of chapter 7, the contrast between Pip's adult narrative and his language as a child is vast.

Adult Narrative - "Joe recited this couplet with such manifest pride and careful perspicuity that I asked him if he had made it himself."

Childs Viewpoint - "Certainly, poor Joe!"

Adult Narrative - "I sagaciously observed, if it didn't signify to him, to whom did it signify?"

The above being just a small extract doesn't fully give justice to how Pip has developed so much from being a small, practically illiterate, child to the gentleman he is as the book comes to an end.

Joe's use of dialogue lets his character shine through; the way he speaks and gets his message across is always pleasant and effortless that if you could imagine him speaking to you it would be a soft, quiet voice.

"Your sister's a master-mind. A master-mind."

This shows that, despite Mrs. Joe obviously not being a master-mind mind, Joe says this as he believes it but the point is that he delivers the sentence with such innocence that anyone could believe it which is what Joe is all about - A simple, nice and caring character.

The next major changes in Pip and Joe's relationship appear in chapter 27 once Pip has gone to London to be brought up as a gentleman.

This chapter shows a complete change in Pip, he has psychologically turned upside to the point where he now looks down at the man who as a small child he looked up to and was great friends with.

"Pip, how AIR you, Pip?"

Here Joe's accent has purposely been exaggerated to show how this has irritated Pip and embarrassed him despite him being practically the same in the past. This shows Pip's snobbery as he has looked down on Joe simply because of his accent.

"...he caught both my hands and worked them straight up and down, as if I had been the last patented Pump."

Once again this shows Pip's snobbery, it also shows how he is completely ungrateful for the respect which Joe is giving him and for the gratitude which Joe is showing by shaking his hands with great enthusiasm.

Pip feels embarrassed in front of Joe when Joe starts to act awkward, showing he has no idea how to act as a gentleman. This embarrasses



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