“…I’m dead afeerd of going wrong in the way of not doing what’s right by a woman, and I’d fur rather of the two go wrong the ‘tother way, and be a little ill-conwenienced myself. I wish it was only me that got put out, Pip... I wish I could take it all on myself; but this is the up-and-down-and straight on it, Pip, and I hope you’ll overlook shortcomings.”
Here, Joe describes his own parents’ relationship: His father frequently beat his mother, who would take Joe and run away. His father always got Joe and his mother back. At the time, a wife was considered the husband’s property. While some boys might have followed in their father’s footsteps, Joe explains that he deliberately took the opposite course.
“There’s one thing you may be sure of, Pip,” said Joe, after some rumination, “namely, that lies is lies. Howsever they come, they didn’t ought to come, and they come from the father of lies, and work round to the same. Don’t you tell no more of them, Pip. That ain’t the way to get out of being common, old chap.”
Joe scolds Pip after Pip confesses that he made up stories about what went on at Miss Havisham’s, which was in part because he did not think anyone would believe the truth. Pip hates lying to Joe and confesses not only that he lied, but also that he does not want to be “common” any more. Joe’s statement that lying “ain’t the way to get out of being common” reflects Joe’s nobility of character.
“Pip is that hearty welcome,” said Joe, “to go free with his services, to honor and fortun’, as no words can tell him. But if you think as money can make compensation to me for the loss of the little child—what come to the forge—and ever the best of friends!”
Pip and Joe were just told that Pip has “great expectations,” in that he is to be educated as a gentleman and therefore is expected to leave his apprenticeship with Joe. Jaggers, the lawyer making these arrangements, offers Joe compensation for the loss of Pip’s work. Joe’s words reveal that he is offended at the idea that he would use the situation to extract money and that anyone would put a price tag on Pip’s friendship.
“It ain’t that I am proud, but that I want to be right, as you shall never see me no more in these clothes. I’m wrong in these clothes. I’m wrong out of the forge, the kitchen, or off th’meshes. You won’t find half so much fault in me of you think of me in my forge dress, with my hammer in my hand, or even my pipe.”
Joe recognizes that he seems backwards when he visits Pip in the city. Joe compares being out of one’s element to wearing the wrong clothes. When he is in his own home and at the forge, where he is comfortable and competent, he acts just as he should. Joe is embarrassed to look ridiculous, especially to Pip, so he knows he is at his best back at home.
“[W]hen your poor sister had a mind to drop into you, it were not so much … that she dropped into me too, if I put myself in opposition to her but that she dropped into you always the heavier for it. I noticed that. …[W]hen that little child is dropped into, heavier, for that grab of whisker or shaking, then that man naterally up and says to himself, ‘Where is the good as you are a doing?’”
Joe’s explanation for why he couldn’t always defend Pip from Mrs. Joe’s bad temper is his roundabout way of saying that he understands and forgives Pip for stealing food and a file long ago. Joe realizes that because he could not always come to Pip’s defense, Pip was sometimes on his own in making decisions, and that if Pip did not confess, it was only to avoid punishment.
Take a Study Break
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QUIZ: Are You a Hero, a Villain, or an Anti-Hero?
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