A Character Sketch of Joe Gargary from Great Expectations

Essay by Anonymous UserHigh School, 10th gradeA+, December 1996

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Joe Gargery might not be the smartest or wisest of

Dickens' characters, but he is definitely one of the kindest

and most humane. Although Miss Havisham gets much

attention for being different, I think that you will soon be

convinced that Joe, however simple he may be, is definitely

a unique character. It is my opinion that Dickens made an

effort to raise the readers respect for Joe by the sharp

contrast between him and his wife. Three qualities

belonging to Joe are his affectionate nature, pride, and his


When Joe asks Mrs. Gargery to marry him, he

especially insists that she bring her young orphaned

brother, Pip, to live with them. Joe never reminds Pip of

this fact, except when telling Pip how much he thinks of

him. Mrs. Gargery, on the other hand, is constantly

reminding Pip to be thankful of her 'raising him by hand'.

At one point, Pip decides he will teach Joe to read.

Although Joe has no real aspiration for this, he humors Pip

and lets the boy instruct him. As mentioned before, Mrs.

Gargery is a very cruel person. One would think living

with her would drive even a saint to kill. Even so, Joe

never says a harsh word about his wife and treats her with

the utmost respect. Pip's decision to go to London has a

greater impact than most readers think. Not only was Joe

losing a set of hands around the forge, but he was also

saying farewell to a boy who must have been like a son to

him. Joe knew that once Pip left they would never have the

same relationship. It was clear to Joe that this was Pip's

dream, so not once did he question the decision Pip had


When Pip is asked...