Several Short Essays On Great Expectations

1158 words - 5 pages

Bringing Up the Pips

The first Pip's upbringing is very cruel and abusive. His parents died before he could remember, and is "brought up by hand" (Dickens 9), by his uncaring sister, Mrs. Joe. She beats him regularly with the Tickler, "a wax-ended piece of cane, worn smooth by collision with my tickled frame" (10). She also makes him feel worthless and blames him for her unhappiness. If Joe weren't in his life, his "fellow sufferer" (10), then his childhood would have been completely void of any human compassion and love. The second Pip, however, grows up in a very loving and supportive environment. The second Pip has not only Joe, but also Biddy to love and nurture him. The older Pip grows up having no sense of family. The only things he knows about his family are what their tombstones look like. Family is not taught to Pip as being very important, Mrs. Joe never takes the time to tell Pip about his family history. The second Pip's parents teach him the importance of family by teaching him about Pip's past. In Chapter Fifty-Nine, the old Pip takes the young Pip to the churchyard, and the young Pip shows the Pip the grave of "Philip Pirrip, Late of this Parish, and Also Georgiana, Wife of the Above" (595). The young Pip's view of family is so important that he knows about people who aren't even related to him, just because they are old Pip's family. Even though both Pips had very different childhoods, Joe hopes that the young Pip "might grow a little bit like you [Pip], and we think he do" (594).

Biddy Defends Proud Joe

In Chapter Nineteen of Charles Dickens's Great Expectations, Pip is embarrassed that Joe is "backward in some ways" (184), and asks Biddy if she will educate him and teach him manners. When Pip receives his property he is worried higher society "would hardly do him [Joe] justice" (184). But when Biddy replies that Joe already knows this, Pip becomes very confused. "Have you never considered that he may be proud" (184) Biddy tells Pip. Pip is puzzled because there are many different definitions of pride and he was probably thinking a negative definition of pride. A negative definition would be an arrogant or disdainful conduct or treatment ("pride" 933). Pip is puzzled because this definition does not fit any aspect of Joe's personality, but Biddy says, "there are many kinds of pride" (Dickens 184). Biddy's description of pride is a sense of one's own proper dignity or value ("pride" 933). Biddy explains that Joe is too proud to be someone he is not. "He may be too proud to let any one take him out of a place that he is competent to fill, and fills well and with respect" (Dickens 184). Joe knows and accepts that he is a simple man who has no use for proper etiquette. He will not try and change his fate, but instead he will try to live his life as best as he can. Pip cannot grasp this concept because he is not proud of anything in his life, and cannot see why Joe, a simple blacksmith, could be...

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