• Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

Explore Joe Gargery's role in Great Expectations

Extracts from this document...


´╗┐Explore Joe Gargery?s Role in Great Expectations In Great Expectations, Joe acts as a father figure to Pip, when he is in fact his brother-in-law, as Joe married Pip?s sister, Mrs Joe Gargery. We are introduced to Joe as a ?mild, good-natured, sweet-tempered, easy-going, foolish, dear fellow?. Pip describes him as a kind and gentle man, making the reader immediately like him. ?Good-natured? and ?sweet-tempered? give Joe an endearing quality, so the reader is drawn to him. However, ?foolish? introduces a potentially negative side to his character, like he is stupid, although this too could be considered endearing. Perhaps Dickens does this so that we can understand Joe?s actions better, or at least don?t view him too negatively when he can?t protect Pip from Mrs Joe. In contrast to his gentle personality, he is a blacksmith, and therefore a strong man. Pip thinks of him ?like the steam-hammer, that can crush a man or pat an egg shell?. He is likening Joe to a machine in the forge, giving Joe a sense of power. Although, ?crush? is quite a violent word, suggesting Joe to be violent, which he definitely is not. Perhaps Dickens included this detail to make us respect Joe, which is important for later on in the novel, so we don?t just view him as a ?sweet-tempered? man. But there is a sense of this good natured man in the word ?pat?, it could potentially have paternal connotations. ...read more.


This could show Joe?s insecurity, that when he is no longer sure if Pip needs him, he becomes very polite, and address Pip as if he is in a higher class again. However, Joe does treat everyone equally, for example when Magwitch confesses about stealing the pie, Joe says that whatever he has done, ?we wouldn?t have you starved to death for it, poor miserable fellow-creature.? This shows how Joe views the world, and the people on it, that we are all of the same kind, and all have the same rights. As well as this, ?creature? implies that Joe believes humans are animals, perhaps why he struggles with classes and formalities. This may relate to the fact that Joe never shows a real desire to learn to read or write, because he thinks we are animals that just do physical things, such as make things, like a blacksmith does. ?Poor? also implies that Joe sympathises with the convict, despite knowing it was his own fault that he is in the position he is in, showing that Joe is very forgiving, which the reader respects him for. Joe shows this forgiveness on a number of occasions, for example, when he tells Pip about his abusive father, and how he came after him and his mother. He tells Pip it was because his ?father were that good in his hart that he couldn?t abear to be without us.? One could argue that this was Joe?s innocent view on the world, and that he couldn?t accept that someone would deliberately want to hurt someone else. ...read more.


Perhaps he is compensating for Mrs Joe?s lack of femininity, or he is filling in the gap left by her death, showing Joe to be a father figure for Pip. Ultimately, Joe is the only true father to Pip, he gives him ?the wealth of his great nature?, which is more than Magwitch ever did. He may not have a lot of money, but he is a true gentleman in character. Ironically, the poorest of all the men is the most gentlemanly. Moreover, Pip eventually comes to realise this: ?there was a simple dignity in him.? Now, whilst he is recognising Joe?s dignity, he doesn?t sound very respectful. The tone sounds quite patronising, and ?simple? implies stupidity. Overall, Joe is the only constant in the book, he can?t act, he can?t pretend to be something he is not, he doesn?t change for anyone - ?whoever came about me, still settled down into Joe.? Even the use of the word ?settled? gives the idea of stability and constants, Joe is always there for Pip. He acts as a role model for Pip, and the other characters, even if they don?t realise it. But he does have his negative qualities, he is childish and awkward. However, this gives him more power in the book, as the reader can relate to him, and not just view him as a religious saint-like figure. ...read more.

The above preview is unformatted text

This student written piece of work is one of many that can be found in our AS and A Level Charles Dickens section.

Found what you're looking for?

  • Start learning 29% faster today
  • 150,000+ documents available
  • Just £6.99 a month

Not the one? Search for your essay title...
  • Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

See related essaysSee related essays

Related AS and A Level Charles Dickens essays

  1. How does Dickens use setting to convey the mood in the opening chapters of ...

    Later in the same chapter Pip addresses that it is Christmas Eve. Instead of doing what other children at the time may be doing (enjoying themselves), he finds himself doing chores and worrying over the recent events he has had to endure; Dickens uses this as another way to draw sympathy from the reader.

  2. What Techniques Do Authors Use To Present the Female Characters? using extracts from Great ...

    Also, William Trevor writes in a panoramic manner. This shown when he writes "Artie Cornish...drank stout with his friends Eddie Boland and Chas Flynn, and Screw Doyle, so called because he served behind the counter in McQuaids hardware shop".

  1. Both stories studied concentrate on how people appear to others. Discuss the way ...

    We realise this is the house she is living at right now. Mrs Turner was very happy and settled until Gordon dies. Carol Shields even makes hes death to be an amusing event. We don't feel have condolences for the death of Mrs Turners husband, we actually laugh.

  2. Compare chapter one of Great Expectations(TM) in which Pip first meets the convict, with ...

    Abel dresses like this because Dickens wants to show the reader that Abel had had financial gain in Australia. We see Magwitch has not only changed his appearance in chapter one and thirty nine, but he has also changed in the way he acts.

  1. Discuss how Dickens creates sadness in Book the Second

    "The poor lady was nearer truth then she ever had been" This shows how Dickens disliked the utilitarian system, stating that Mrs Gradgrind's nearest point of truth was on her death bed. As well as showing Dickens's view, it also saddens the reader to know how close to death she is.

  2. How does Dickens use language in chapter 50 of Oliver Twist to show the ...

    Crackit talking, you right away can notice a difference in speech compared to all the other characters in the book, words used like, 'blunder -head, made our lucky up the wash' us chimney', which means a chimney that's full of traps, you see Dickens couldn't swear or use blasphemy in

  1. Dickens' approach of contrasting circumstances in both France and England acts as the appropriate ...

    Malaysia, like France, can never meet up to the standards, nor develop as rapidly, due to many constraints and limitations. A resentful France can only take revenge by imposing high tariffs on exports to England, a move similar to Malaysia's pricey sale of water.

  2. 'A central issue in Victorian novels is the place of women in society'. Discuss ...

    Sir James displays outrageous naivety towards women with sweeping statements such as; 'ladies usually are fond of Maltese dogs'. Eliot is presenting him with such irony that he is made to look extremely misguided in such a channelled view

  • Over 160,000 pieces
    of student written work
  • Annotated by
    experienced teachers
  • Ideas and feedback to
    improve your own work