Pip when we first see him in the book is made out to be a small, feeble eleven-year old boy who is an orphan and lives with his elder sister, Mrs. Gargery. He spends some of his time around his dead mother and numerous brothers in the graveyard. As he is an orphan, his elder sister takes care of him with the aid of Joe Gargery, her husband who is a blacksmith.
Joe is a simple man, an uneducated man; he isn’t the cleverest person, the richest person or even on the social ladder. Unlike most people Joe doesn’t care about the richer or the higher orders. He is a mild-mannered person who is considerate and tolerant. As his father beat him when he was a child, he wanted to be a good influence on Pip and treat him well, the contrary of what his father did for him. Yet his father and his wife, the same as what happened to Pip, hit him. This made him look like a child in Pip’s eyes and he treated Joe as a larger species of child. In this book Joe was probably the single person who was honest, calm and sincere. This meant that in this book he was a moral compass, pointing true north and is a constant that doesn’t change in the whole story. Because of all of this, Pip saw Joe as a “sweet tempered, easy going, good natured, foolish dear fellow”.
As Pip sees his elder sister treating Joe as she does him, he doesn’t see him as a father figure but more as a friend and a larger species of child who is also suffering and is being treated the same way as he is. This is why in the book Pip can relate to Joe better, but this is not always the case. Once Pip turns into a man who is looking to climb the social ladder and be rich, he loses his admiration for Joe as a good man because he is not rich and he does not have the etiquette to be in the higher orders. This can be seen when Pip says to Joe, “I wish you hadn’t taught me to call knaves at cards, Jacks.” This shows us that Pip is trying to gain entry into the higher order and he punishes Joe for not teaching him correctly by telling him this, which would undeniably hurt his feelings. Joe knows that Pip doesn’t want to be common anymore as he says, ” that ain’t the way to get out of being common.” This statement in conjunction with the one about calling Jacks Knaves shows that Joe embarrasses Pip for not being rich, in the upper order or even able to read and write.
When the convict threatened Pip he didn’t tell Joe about this and thieves some food and a file for the convict anyway. This shows that he didn’t have a lot of faith in Joe or he felt that he couldn’t share everything with Joe and couldn’t confide with him, but later on in the book when he lies to his sister and Mr. Pumblechook about the description of Miss Havisham, he could tell Joe about that. This may be because the problem wasn’t that important this time, so this means that he doesn’t think he can confide in Joe about the essential things.
When Pip gets a lucky break and is asked to play at Satis house with a girl called Estella, he takes the chance to rise above the common people (Joe) and make something of his life. He wanted to leave the working class background and go up in the world and be perceived (a Great Expectation). As he tries harder to become a gentleman, he pities the ordinary people such as Joe and all the other people he was on familiar terms with. Owing to these feeling of becoming a gentleman, he starts to resent Joe and feels ashamed of him for not knowing how to read or write, but still they are able to relate to each other as they have both faced the difficulty of being beaten. Pip knows about this because his elder sister, with the aid of the “tickler”, also beat him, as she did Joe. As Joe didn’t want to turn out like his father and beat Pip he treated him well and was forgiving to what Pip thought and did to him. Throughout the book, even though Pip is feeling the shame of Joe, he still respects Joe as they have helped each other from when Pip was a young boy, as when Mrs. Gargery came to hit Pip with the “tickler” Joe pushed him up the chimney and faced the consequences for Pip.
Pip was so determined to become a gentleman that when he became apprenticed to Joe as a blacksmith he felt mortified and looked down upon the job. He didn’t think that Joe was very intellectual, so he tried to teach him how to read and write, so that when he met Miss Havisham he didn’t get embarrassed, but when he met he did get embarrassed. From then on Pip knew that Joe couldn’t be taught and that he was bad at learning, but he could not be changed. This is evident as Pip says, ” I never knew Joe or to acquire, under my tuition, any piece of information whatsoever.”
When Pip finally receives his chance to go to London and become a true gentleman, apparently, Joe is not sad but delighted for him. Pip is happy, as he can at long last be something rather than a blacksmith. When Pip went to London, there was a straightforward relationship between Pip and Joe. This was that, Pip was ashamed of Joe, as he was not a gentleman or even more than a commoner. Pip knew that his feelings were immoral as Joe had always helped him in the past and now he felt ashamed of him and could not acknowledge his place in the social ladder.
Everything was going all right for Pip except for a few times when he remembered the way he treated Joe, such as when he saw the way Wemmick cared for his father who was relatively old. This reminded Pip of Joe and how he should be treating him. With the exception of for that, things for Pip were well.
So, when Joe comes to visit Pip in London, Pip felt ashamed of Joe, as he did not fit in as he was not well educated or doesn’t fit in that place. Pip acts in a snobbish way and felt self-conscious of his origins and that Joe had come to visit him in London. Joe senses the way Pip treats him and feels awful but, as he is the constant (the good guy) in the book, he waits for Pip to understand that he has done wrong, and act in a virtuous way.
As time went on, Pip realizes that he has treated Joe in bad way, especially in the middle of the story when he sees the way Wemmick cared for his father. Pip and Joe were reunited when Pip fell ill. Joe came to see Pip straight away when he heard that Pip was ill as he sees it as his fatherly duty. When Pip realizes that Joe has helped him through his illness and through the payment of his debts, he feels affection for Joe again. He realizes that Joe is a good man and it was his mistake to feel embarrassed of him and of his past on his way to develop into a gentleman.
This book shows what the social ladder has done to someone but also shows that the love of a father and son will always come back. The book shows that Pip realizes that he acted in an arrogant way and that he realizes that Joe has done nothing wrong, and he didn’t deserve to be treated in tat way.
Joe and Pip both have the chance to become close again as when Joe gets married to Biddy he goes to their wedding and shows that he is very happy for them even though he loves Biddy. He still goes to their wedding and this shows that he really does care about Joe and is very happy for him and Biddy. The relationship between Pip and Joe becomes even closer when Joe calls their child Pip after him. As the relationship is renewed, the book ends with Pip and Joe having a good relationship and Pip realizing that he was wrong. The whole relationship revolved around Joe, as he did not change and treated Pip the same through out, so it was a good conclusion as it showed Pip realizing his mistakes.