Great Expectations Character Analysis
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In Charles Dickens Victorian novel, Great Expectations, he develops many characters; one of these characters being Mr. Joe Gargery. Joe is Pip’s brother in law, but is more of a father figure as him and Pip’s sister Mrs. Joe Gargery has raised Pip by hand. Joe is a man of many traits, and as the story progresses we begin to see this more and more. We learn that Joe Gargery is uneducated, patient, and caring.
Joe is shown to be a very uneducated man. The first time we notice this is after Pip writes him a letter on page 46. After handing Joe his letter, all Joe continues to do is point out all of the J’s and O’s and put them together to spelling Jo. “ ‘Why here’s a J,’ said Joe, ‘and a O equal to anything! Here’s a J and a O, Pip, and a J-O Joe.’ ” (Dickens 46). Another time Joe’s lack of education is evident, is on their journey to Mrs. Havisham’s. On this venture, Joe looks down the entire time and when asked a question directs all of his answers towards Pip. This event just shows how uneducated Joe really is, as he cannot even talk to an elder of higher authority without cowering down like a little boy. Later in the novel, Mr. Jaggers comes to tell Joe and Pip of Pip’s newfound fortune and step towards becoming a gentleman. Though throughout this entire conversation, you begin to notice that Joe is very distant and holds a confused look on his face. This too contributes to show that Joe is an uneducated man.
There are many ways we could prove Joe to be a patient man. One of the most obvious events would be that of his wife. Throughout the novel you see that Mrs. Joe is very hard not only on Pip, but on Joe as well. Even through all of the hate and violence that may arise from day to day in the household, Joe’s everlasting love for Mrs. Joe pulls through to the audience every time as he endures these moments with ease. In the end, Joe always ends up loving Mrs. Joe regardless of the things she may do, as he understands her ways of expressing her love. On page 121, when a fight begins to derive, Joe holds his anger in for a good while. At first he just murmurs from the sidelines, “Leave her alone, will you?” (Dickens 121). He continues to stay out of the matter until a few minutes later at more appropriate timing. Another point in the story that Joe is shown as a patient man, is the prolonged period that he awaits for Pip to be apprenticed to him. He never makes a fuss, or asks questions, he just waits until the time is right and when it is, he accepts Pip with open arms.
Joe is also extremely caring. We first see this when Pip comes back on Christmas morning after being gone before sunrise. Joe warns Pip that Mrs. Joe is looking for him and that she is very angry. This shows how Joe looks out for Pip and how much he truly cares about him. Joe also shows he is caring during the Christmas dinner. As all the adults talk about Pip and make him feel extremely uncomfortable, Joe just keeps shoveling more gravy onto Pip’s plate. Once again, showing how much he cares about Pip. When the gang goes out to catch the convict, Joe shows his true compassion once again. After the one convict tells “the truth” about the stolen food from the Blacksmith’s house, Joe’s response is surprising, “God knows you’re welcome to it-so far as it’s mine” (Dickens 40). This shows how caring Joe truly is. The fact that he doesn’t mind convicts stealing food from him, is the epitome of caring.
So, as you can see, Joe Gargery is an uneducated, patient, and caring man. Although he could not help you out in math, reading, or just plain business, he is a great person to grow up with. He may be perhaps the best thing that Pip could have in his life.