In the novel Great Expectations one of the major influences on the main character is Joe Gargery. Pip lives with his sister because both of his parents are dead. Joe is Pip’s sister’s husband and owns the house in which the three of them live. He is quite a simple man; he has received very little education and is a blacksmith by trade. Before he goes to London Pip is Joe’s apprentice. At the beginning of the book Pip and Joe are quite equal, Pip describes Joe and himself as being, “fellow sufferers”. This is a reference to Pip’s sister Mrs Joe’s strict house keeping. She takes charge over both of them, for instance when Mrs Joe thought that Pip had bolted his food instead of just giving him a medicine for it, both Pip and Joe received a dose of tar water. As Pip recalls, “a pint of the mixture was poured down my throat. Joe got off with half a pint.” It appears as though she treats them both like children. It actual fact they do behave slightly like it. Their equality sparks a relationship that could be likened to Joe being Pip’s older brother.
This can be noticed in the way in which Joe looks out for Pip. For example Pip arrives home to find that Mrs Joe has been out looking for him, Joe advises him to hide and protect himself because she is coming back, “Get behind the door, old chap, and have the jack-towel betwixt you.”. He also tries to help Pip if ever he can, for instance when Mrs Joe becomes impatient with Pip’s inquisitiveness Joe mouths answers to his questions, “Joe put his mouth into the form of returning a highly elaborate answer.” A lawyer named Jaggers visits Pip and Joe to inform them that he is Pip’s guardian and that he is responsible for seeing that Pip travels to London to receive education and to become a Gentleman. Jaggers tells them that this benefactor wishes to remain anonymous and that the person in question will reveal them self at a later date but Pip is already certain that it is Miss Havisham, a, rather wealthy, elderly lady who Pip is quite close to. When he sees her she allows him to believe that this is true. Pip already feels that he is rather superior to Joe, who is almost completely illiterate, even though Pip has at this time received very little education himself.
He mentions the way he feels to Biddy, “he is rather backwards in some things … in his learning and his manners.” Pip starts to look down on Joe and no longer feel equal to him. While Pip is living in London he receives a letter from Biddy on Joe’s behalf forewarning him of Joe’s impending visit, he says that he felt, “considerable disturbance, some mortification and a sense of incongruity.” Pip was afraid that Joe’s poor manners would embarrass him infront of his housemate. He would rather not have seen Pip at all, “As the time approached I should have liked to have run away,” This could be because he would have liked to have just forgotten all about his past and his sisters accident. Perhaps Joe coming to visit reminds him of thing which he does not want to remember. When Joe visits Pip is very impatient and quick to find fault in his every move. He insults the way Joe dresses, “Why should a man scrape himself to that extent, before he could consider himself to be fully dressed?” and his table manners, “(Joe) dropped so much more than he ate, and pretended that he hadn’t dropped it;”. Pip is embarrassed that his housemate, Herbert, will see Joe’s bad table manners and so Pip, “was glad when Herbert left us for the city.” It appears that Joe is aware of this new difference between them.
Pip no longer acts like they are equal. Joe leaves quite soon, this maybe because he can feel that Pip is rather inpatient with him. As he leaves he says, “You and me is not two figures to be together in London.” After Joe departs, Pip realizes that he has acted foolishly and tries to catch up with Joe, “but he was gone.” Pip learns that his benefactor is the convicted criminal that he helped out of pure terror as a child. Pip had thought that it was Miss Havisham., “Miss Havisham’s intentions towards me, all a mere dream;”. He had thought that this made sense because she could have been setting him up as a wealthy gentleman so that he will be worthy of marring her daughter, Estella. But unfortunately for Pip, she was not, “Estella not designed for me;” He is deeply upset that it is not Miss Havisham and also that it has come from an escaped criminal. Later in the novel, Pip asks Magwitch why he returned the small dead he did as a child with such kindness and Magwitch tells him that he used to have a daughter who was given away.
He gives the money to Pip because he imagines Pip to be his child. “I’m your second father.” Although he is not educated or a gentleman he likes to think that he, “is the owner of such.” He has provided Pip with money so that Pip can become everything that he will never be because of his crime. Despite knowing that Magwitch’s intentions were only for good towards him, Pip is still afraid of him as he was in their first and second meetings. When Pip takes Magwitch the food he writes, “I was very much afraid of him,” then when Magwitch meets him again, later in the book he comments again, “the dread I had of him, the repugnance with which I shrank from him,”. Although later in the book he uses very much more mature language, he uses it, in this case, to describe similar feelings which he still held towards Magwitch. Pip tells Jaggers that he knows that Magwitch’s daughter is Estelle, “I know her father…his name is Provis,” this is the name that Magwitch was known by whilst he was living in Australia.
One of the officers that arrest him confirm this, “His name is Abel Magwitch, otherwise (known as) Provis.” Magwitch has been arrested and is very ill in prison Pip visits him. He understands why Magwitch wanted to help him. Magwitch does not know his child at all but before he dies Pip tells him, “She is a lady and very beautiful.” Pip reassures Magwitch that his daughter was not completely lost when she was adopted. Pip is no longer afraid of Magwitch and appears to feel sorry for him in both the way he visits him while he is ill and then, when he passes away, Pip says, “Lord, be merciful” he appears finally to be thankful to Magwitch for what he did for him. Pip becomes very ill and Joe comes to London to look after him, Pip finally gets a chance to talk to Joe. He tries to tell Joe that he was sorry for the way in which he acted, “Look angry at me, Joe. Strike me Joe. Tell me of my ingratitude. Don’t be so good to me” He wants Joe to be angry with him so that he can explain his actions but as Joe tells him later in the book, when they are back at the forge, “God knows I …forgive you, if I have anything to forgive,” Joe realizes that people often make mistakes and because of this he forgives Pip for his.