The statement "Children should be seen and not heard," is an extreme. The statement itself, targets young children as being lesser human being than their elders and having thoughts irrelevant to society. In Dicken's "Great Expectations" it is evident that the adults of that era do not wish to hear anything Pip has to say and become very indignant if he dares to venture a thought on any matter, ask a question or speak out of turn. However, in Mrs. Joe's case, the situation is different. It is not only that children should be "seen and not heard" but adults as well. Mrs. Joe feels that her opinions are the only correct opinions, therefor, allowing neither Joe nor Pip to speak their minds. Pip narrates that "Joe Gergary and I(Pip) were brought up by hand"(pg. 8, chpt ). Although unintentional, Mrs. Joe is, in a way, holding both Pip and Joe on an equal level, refusing to hear either one of them, therefor not discriminating against Pip because of age.
Although through her own naivete, Mrs. Joe becomes a somewhat fair character Dickens's writes about a dinner party being held at Mrs. Joe's house(chapter 4) where Pip says "I was not allowed to speak"(pg.25) when at a table surrounded by adults. The period in which this is written, assumes that one must become old before one has an opinion. I feel that "children should be seen and not heard," could be relevant to modern day society if it were changed to "people who are ignorant to the situation at hand should be see and not heard". If a person of any age is not well informed of a situation which they take a strong stand on, their opinions are just as irrelevant as those of small children who are equally uninformed.