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Discuss how Dickens makes Mrs Joe an important character in "Great Expectations".

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Introduction

Discuss how Dickens makes Mrs Joe an important character in "Great Expectations" Dickens uses Mrs. Joe's devilish appearance and controlling behaviour to compare to Joe's angelic looks and kindhearted deeds in the early part of the novel. Pip and Joe both fear Mrs. Joe because of her violent actions, this brings them closer together which is significant throughout the book. She is also the only female role model Pip has early on in life, twisting his vision of the perfect woman later on. Our first impressions of Mrs. Joe's are of a cold and domineering woman because of the way Dickens describes her appearance. The colours used to portray Mrs. Joe are fairly daunting: "black hair and eyes...redness of skin," The "black" is quite a morbid colour suggesting she is moody and short-tempered. Her skin put together with her hair makes me imagine her to be some sort of demon who is torturing Pip and Joe. In comparison the colours used to describe Joe are mild: "fair...undecided blue...mixed with their own whites." The colours are calm and pale implying that Joe is a calm and gentle man. ...read more.

Middle

Joe, which is why they felt closer to one another: "Joe and I being fellow-sufferers, and having confidences as such," Pip knew that Joe was the only one he could trust and that Joe trusted him as well. This compassion between the two is seen again when Pip is in debt. Even though he cut himself off from Joe, they still loved each other at heart: "Joe had paid it, and the receipt was in his name." Joe had prevented Pip from being in debt although earlier in the book Pip had made it obvious he wanted nothing to do with Joe. If they had not had such a strong companionship because of Mrs. Joe, then Joe would have never paid off Pip's debts. Dickens also uses Mrs. Joe as the main female character in Pip's young life. Therefore making Pip think that all women are like his sister, so he does not realise how malevolent Estella really is and can only obey her like he is forced to obey Mrs. ...read more.

Conclusion

She is showing how he is far better than Pip because he would be much worse without her. Estella is condescending towards Pip making him believe he is nothing: " 'He calls the knaves, Jacks, this boy!' said Estella with disdain, before our first game was out 'And what coarse hands he has! And what thick boots!' " Pip takes these comments to heart; perhaps if Mrs. Joe had not been so cruel to him then he would have ignored Estella. Had he not listened to Estella, he would not have been so ashamed of himself and might not have wanted to go to London and ruined his life. Mrs. Joe is the root of all the bad that happens to Pip. The reason that Mrs. Joe, Estella and most of the women in "Great Expectations" are depicted as being malicious and cruel is perhaps because Dickens might have had bad experiences with women in his life. Mrs. Joe introduces violence and injustice to Pip at an early age, which ties in with Magwitch, who is another parental figure later on in the novel. The bond formed between Pip and Joe because of Mrs. Joe is extremely important to both of them later in the book. ...read more.

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