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Do you feel that Charles Dickens presentation of Joe Gargery makes him seem on balance a foolish person or someone worthy of our respect?

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Introduction

Do you feel that Charles Dickens presentation of Joe Gargery makes him seem on balance a foolish person or someone worthy of our respect? In Great Expectations, Joe Gargery comes into the novel many times. Sometimes he is portrayed as a very foolish person but other times he actually is quite clever and worthy of our respect. At the beginning of the novel, he seems foolish in the sense that he is a very simple man and does nothing to hide it. When Pip is reading him a letter, Joe remarks ''Why, here's a J,' said Joe, ' and a O equal to anythink! Here's a J and a O, Pip, and a J-O, Joe.'' Pip carries on by saying ' I had never heard Joe read aloud to any great extent than this monosyllable, and I had observed at church last Sunday when I accidentally held our Prayer-Book upside down, that it seemed to suit his convenience quite as well as if it had been all right.' ...read more.

Middle

You know it to be No, Pip, and wherefore should I say it?' Miss Havisham has just asked Joe a question and it is strange that he addresses Pip instead. Pip after becoming a gentleman, is very snobbish and looks down on Joe. For this reason Joe tries to act very upper class and tries not to embarrass Pip in front of his friends. 'Since you are so kind as make chice of coffee, I will not run contrairy to your own opinions.' He calls Pip 'Sir' many times and at one point Pip says 'Joe,' I interrupted, pettishly, 'how can you call me Sir?' However even after this scene which Joe looks foolish, he actually regains his dignity; 'Joe looked at me for a single instant with something faintly like reproach. Utterly preposterous as his cravat was, and as his collars were, I was conscious of a sort of dignity in the look.' Here we have two contrasting statements. Pip tells us that Joe looks extremely foolish in his cravat and collar but under the foolishness is someone who is extremely dignified. ...read more.

Conclusion

Joe doesn't want to fall into embarrassing Pip again. Due to Pip's earlier disrespect towards Joe, Joe is less easy with Pip. ' But, imperceptibly, though I held them fast, Joe's hold upon them began to slacken; and whereas, I wondered at this at first, I soon began to understand that the cause of it was in me, and that the fault of it was all mine.' Joe has regained his dignity so instead of getting emotionally close to Pip, he draws himself away from him as soon as he senses he is getting stronger. Joe, earlier on is obviously trying to impress Pip by learning to write and Pip starts crying because he sees the pride with which Joe has written the letter to him. Pip is very lucky to have an uncle like Joe because Joe is an excellent person. On the surface he seems to be foolish but underneath he is a pure and righteous man. He always forgives Pip for whatever injustice Pip does to him. In the balance, the reasons we should respect Joe Gargery far outweigh the reasons why we should treat him like a foolish character and one that is not worthy of our respect. ...read more.

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