Great Expectations

Charles Dickens
Quotes

Important Quotations Explained

Quotes Important Quotations Explained

Quote 2

“Pip, dear old chap, life is made of ever so many partings welded together, as I may say, and one man’s a blacksmith, and one’s a whitesmith, and one’s a goldsmith, and one’s a coppersmith. Diwisions among such must come, and must be met as they come.”

Joe says these words to Pip as a farewell in Chapter 27, after their awkward meeting in London. Pip, now a gentleman, has been uncomfortably embarrassed by both Joe’s commonness and his own opulent lifestyle, and the unpretentious Joe has felt like a fish out of water in Pip’s sumptuous apartment. With this quote, Joe tells Pip that he does not blame him for the awkwardness of their meeting, but he chalks it up instead to the natural divisions of life. The blacksmith concocts a metaphor of metalsmithing to describe these natural divisions: some men are blacksmiths, such as Joe, and some men are goldsmiths, such as Pip. In these simple terms, Joe arrives at a wise and resigned attitude toward the changes in Pip’s social class that have driven them apart, and he shows his essential goodness and loyalty by blaming the division not on Pip but on the unalterable nature of the human condition.