Study Guide

Great Expectations Friendship

By Charles Dickens

Friendship

Chapter 7
Joe Gargery

"But I did mind you, Pip," he returned, with tender simplicity. "When I offered to your sister to keep company, and to be asked in church at such times as she was willing and ready to come to the forge, I said to her, 'And bring the poor little child. God bless the poor little child,' I said to your sister, 'there's room for him at the forge!'" (7.3)

All this talk about Mrs. Joe being a superhero and bringing Pip up "by hand" is just plain silly. Joe saved Pip. If Joe hadn't intervened, he might have ended up like Magwitch, stealing turnips. In fact, maybe that's the only difference between him and Magwitch—Pip had a friend.

Chapter 18
Pip

O dear good Joe, whom I was so ready to leave and so unthankful to, I see you again, with your muscular blacksmith's arm before your eyes, and your broad chest heaving, and your voice dying away. O dear good faithful tender Joe, I feel the loving tremble of your hand upon my arm, as solemnly this day as if it had been the rustle of an angel's wing! (18.93)

Pip may be a butthead, but he's not blinded by wealth. The fact that Pip and Joe are such great friends makes Pip's decision to leave the marshes all the more significant. Pip's dreams of winning Estella outweigh his love of Joe. In other words, he totally betrays the bro code.

Chapter 19
Pip

"You may be sure, dear Joe," I went on, after we had shaken hands, "that I shall never forget you." (19.10)

Seriously, what a weird thing to say to someone who has been your father, brother, and best friend all of your life. Pip is almost acting as cold as Estella, here.

Chapter 27
Pip

As soon as I could recover myself sufficiently, I hurried out after him and looked for him in the neighboring streets; but he was gone. (27.62)

Whoa, whoa, whoa. We thought Pip and Joe were BFFs, but something seems to break in this moment when Joe leaves London so abruptly. Pip's fortune may have brought him clothes, trinkets, and opportunity, but it's robbed him of Joe.

Chapter 35
Mrs. Joe Gargery

"And so she presently said 'Joe' again, and once 'Pardon,' and once 'Pip.' And so she never lifted her head up any more, and it was just an hour later when we laid it down on her own bed, because we found she was gone." (35.30)

Mrs. Joe seems to extend an offer of friendship and love to Pip only on her deathbed, in her very last moments on earth. Um, better late than never?

Pip

It was fine summer weather again, and, as I walked along, the times when I was a little helpless creature, and my sister did not spare me, vividly returned. But they returned with a gentle tone upon them that softened even the edge of Tickler. For now, the very breath of the beans and clover whispered to my heart that the day must come when it would be well for my memory that others walking in the sunshine should be softened as they thought of me. (35.4)

Hm, is Pip finally starting to grow up? He finally has a dream that has nothing to do with becoming a gentleman: he wants his friends to think of him warmly when he dies.

Chapter 39
Abel Magwitch

"Look'ee here, Pip. I'm your second father. You're my son—more to me nor any son. I've put away money, only for you to spend." (39.67)

Magwitch may treat Pip like a long lost friend/brother/son, but Pip doesn't necessarily requite the sentiment—he doesn't value friendships that don't fit into his little vision of the future.

Chapter 41
Pip

Herbert received me with open arms, and I had never felt before, so blessedly, what it is to have a friend. (41.6)

Herbert is like a friend oasis: he's always there for Pip, no matter how much of a butthead Pip is. Hey, at least Pip pays him back.

Chapter 56
Abel Magwitch

"And what's the best of all," he said, "you've been more comfortable alonger me, since I was under a dark cloud, than when the sun shone. That's best of all." (56.21)

See, this is why we can't stay mad at Pip. No matter how hard he tries, he's just a nice guy and a good friend.

Chapter 57
Joe Gargery

"Which dear old Pip, old chap," said Joe, "you and me was ever friends. And when you're well enough to go out for a ride—what larks!" (57.19)

Talk about unconditional love. Joe nurses Pip back to health, pays off his debts, and even apologizes to Pip for never having being able to keep Mrs. Joe from beating him. But Joe still knows things have changed. Those rides? They're never going to happen.

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