The importance of Mrs. Joe in Great Expectations has two major parts: the significance of the character, and the symbolism of the character. The significance of Mrs. Joe is to complete the figure of Joe. The symbolism of Mrs. Joe is the physical manifestation of Joe’s fears, in combination with his desire for a commanding father figure.
Mrs. Joe’s reign of terror is obviously necessary for Joe’s existence. In the beginning of Great Expectations, Joe requires identification as a major character. Without the weakness that Mrs. Joe instills in Joe trough her reign of terror, Joe is never able to develop his own character. Joe is identified as a compassionate, sensitive character; the most direct way to display this feature is to have the character appear vulnerable. Mrs. Joe serves as the tyrant for which Joe is made helpless. Joe, unless he is a scared character, does not recognize the friend he has in Pip. Without Joe as a major role in Pip’s life, Pip also seems very incomplete.
Mrs. Joe also serves as the comical interlude for an otherwise somber story.
When she had exhausted a torrent of such inquiries, she threw a candlestick at Joe, burst into a loud sobbing, got out the dustpan — which was always a very bad sign — put on her coarse apron, and began cleaning up to a terrible extent. Not satisfied with a dry cleaning, she took to a pail and scrubbing-brush, and cleaned us out of house and home, (author’s last name and page #)
Truly, a frightening creature is that which may destroy a household, by cleaning when anger besets her.
The comedy also has a serious side, though, as we remember our mothers exerting their great frustrations upon the household tasks of cleanliness. So Mrs. Joe serves well as a mother to Pip. Besides the age difference and the motherly duties of housekeeping for Pip and Joe, the attitude of a scornful mother is also apparent. This, of course, draws Joe even closer to Pip, by relation. Mrs. Joe serves as a link to make it possible for Joe to appear the father of Pip. In addition, Joe, although terrified of Mrs. Joe, is a very honorable man and would never consider divorcing her. Joe chooses to preserve the sacred marriage rather than seek his comfort.
Great Expectations: Changes in the Character of Pip
Changes in the Character of Pip
Great Expectations, by Charles Dickens is a fascinating tale of love and fortune. The main character, Pip, is a dynamic character who undergoes many changes through the course of the book. Throughout this analysis the character, Pip will be identified and his gradual change through the story will be surveyed.
The main character, Pip, is a gentle character. His traits include humbleness, kindness, and lovingness. These traits are most likely the cause of his childhood poverty. In the beginning of the story, Pip is a mild mannered little boy who goes on with his own humble life. That, though, will change as he meets Magwich, a thief and future benefactor. Pip’s kindness goes out to help the convict, Magwich when he gives food and clothing to him. Magwich tells Pip that he’ll never forget his kindness and will remember Pip always and forever. This is the beginning of Pip’s dynamic change. Throughout the novel, Great Expectations, the character, Pip gradually changes from a kind and humble character to a character that is bitter, then snobbish and finally evolves into the kind and loving character which he was at the beginning of the story.
In order to make more money Pip’s uncle sends Pip to a psychotic old lady’s house named Mrs. Havisham. Mrs. Havisham is a mean and nasty character who constantly bickers at Pip and tells him of his unimportance. Pip continues to be mild mannered and respectful to Mrs. Havisham yet he begins to see that he will never get ahead in life just being nice. Mrs. Havisham uses Pip as sort of a guinea pig to take out her passion of revenge against men. She does this by using her daughter, Estella to torment Pip.
Pip’s first and only love is Estella. Estella is very mean and nasty to Pip. Although he receives verbal abuse from Estella, he continues to like her and will not stop liking her, he sees the good inside of her and will not stop until the good comes out. In contrast to her treatment of Pip as a child when she had called him a common laboratory boy with coarse hands and thick boots, she tries to explain to him that emotion is something that she is incapable of feeling. The fact of that is evidence of his illusion, not her cruelty.