ArtsAutosBooksBusinessEducationEntertainmentFamilyFashionFoodGamesGenderHealthHolidaysHomeHubPagesPersonal FinancePetsPoliticsReligionSportsTechnologyTravel

Parenthood and Friendship in Great Expectations

Updated on January 8, 2014
Source

Part 1: Introduction and Beginning Arguments

In the Charles Dickens novel, Great Expectations, many of the parents are portrayed as incompetent or unloving, and, as a result, many of the male characters compensate for their unstable home environments by forming close friendships with other male characters. During times of crisis or illness, they often take their friendships one step further by taking on the role of “mother” to each other. However, it is important to note that several of the parents later apologized to their adult children for their previous behavior. This essay will examine several of the most crucial parent-child relationships and male friendships within the story.


The relationship between Mrs. Joe Gargery and Pip is important because his sister is the only blood relation that he has ever known. His parents died when he was very young, and he cannot remember them. However, Mrs. Joe is incapable of seeing Pip as anything more than a burden that she inherited upon the death of their parents. This is demonstrated during the first confrontation between their characters, which occurs after Pip arrives home late from playing in the churchyard. When he tells Mrs. Joe where he had been, she informs him that “if it warn’t for me you’d have been to the churchyard long ago, and stayed there” She went on to remind him that she had raised him before asking “why did I do it, I should like to know? ... I’d never do it again!” (41). This illustrates that their relationship is far from loving. In addition, Mrs. Joe often uses violence to discipline Pip, and there are times that she is violent to the point of being physically abusive. For example, prior to the confrontation, Joe Gargery, Pip’s brother-in-law, warns Pip that Mrs. Joe has gone out looking for him and has taken “Tickler” with her. As the narrator of the novel, Pip informs the reader that “Tickler was a wax-ended piece of cane, worn smooth by collision with my tickled frame” (40). Mrs. Joe is also verbally abusive toward Pip. This is revealed during their Christmas dinner the following day. The conversation during the meal was centered on discussing all of Pip’s faults. With the encouragement of her dinner guests, Mrs. Joe exclaimed:

... ‘trouble?’ And then entered on a fearful catalogue of all of the illnesses I had been guilty of, and all of the acts of sleeplessness I had committed, and all of the high places I had tumbled from, and all of the low places I had tumbled into, and all of the injuries I had done myself, and all of the times she had wished me in my grave, and that I had contumaciously refused to go there.’ (59)

This quotation illuminates the extent of Mrs. Joe’s abuse, because she is belittling him for acting like a little boy, and she is making him feel ashamed of things that are completely natural and normal for children to go through.

Comments

    0 of 8192 characters used
    Post Comment

    • Nell Rose profile image

      Nell Rose 

      6 years ago from England

      Hi, this is very topical at the moment as it is on the anniversary this week of his birth. I always found Dickens to be dark too, but in reality he was a very kind man, only last night they were talking on tv about how he was one of the founders of Great Ormond Street hospital in london, which funnily enough is the place I was rushed to when I was born! if it wasn't for them I wouldn't be here! How strange! lol!

    • Enlydia Listener profile image

      Enlydia Listener 

      6 years ago from trailer in the country

      It's been a while since I read this book, but it brings back memories and reminds me of the kind of dark reading from Dickens...if you only looked at his stuff, England at that time would be totally dismal...then you look at Jane Austin and you realize that he came from a dark frame of mind.

      and not just a dark time.

    working

    This website uses cookies

    As a user in the EEA, your approval is needed on a few things. To provide a better website experience, hubpages.com uses cookies (and other similar technologies) and may collect, process, and share personal data. Please choose which areas of our service you consent to our doing so.

    For more information on managing or withdrawing consents and how we handle data, visit our Privacy Policy at: https://hubpages.com/privacy-policy#gdpr

    Show Details
    Necessary
    HubPages Device IDThis is used to identify particular browsers or devices when the access the service, and is used for security reasons.
    LoginThis is necessary to sign in to the HubPages Service.
    Google RecaptchaThis is used to prevent bots and spam. (Privacy Policy)
    AkismetThis is used to detect comment spam. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide data on traffic to our website, all personally identifyable data is anonymized. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Traffic PixelThis is used to collect data on traffic to articles and other pages on our site. Unless you are signed in to a HubPages account, all personally identifiable information is anonymized.
    Amazon Web ServicesThis is a cloud services platform that we used to host our service. (Privacy Policy)
    CloudflareThis is a cloud CDN service that we use to efficiently deliver files required for our service to operate such as javascript, cascading style sheets, images, and videos. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Hosted LibrariesJavascript software libraries such as jQuery are loaded at endpoints on the googleapis.com or gstatic.com domains, for performance and efficiency reasons. (Privacy Policy)
    Features
    Google Custom SearchThis is feature allows you to search the site. (Privacy Policy)
    Google MapsSome articles have Google Maps embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    Google ChartsThis is used to display charts and graphs on articles and the author center. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSense Host APIThis service allows you to sign up for or associate a Google AdSense account with HubPages, so that you can earn money from ads on your articles. No data is shared unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Google YouTubeSome articles have YouTube videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    VimeoSome articles have Vimeo videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    PaypalThis is used for a registered author who enrolls in the HubPages Earnings program and requests to be paid via PayPal. No data is shared with Paypal unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook LoginYou can use this to streamline signing up for, or signing in to your Hubpages account. No data is shared with Facebook unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    MavenThis supports the Maven widget and search functionality. (Privacy Policy)
    Marketing
    Google AdSenseThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Google DoubleClickGoogle provides ad serving technology and runs an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Index ExchangeThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    SovrnThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook AdsThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Unified Ad MarketplaceThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    AppNexusThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    OpenxThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Rubicon ProjectThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    TripleLiftThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Say MediaWe partner with Say Media to deliver ad campaigns on our sites. (Privacy Policy)
    Remarketing PixelsWe may use remarketing pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to advertise the HubPages Service to people that have visited our sites.
    Conversion Tracking PixelsWe may use conversion tracking pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to identify when an advertisement has successfully resulted in the desired action, such as signing up for the HubPages Service or publishing an article on the HubPages Service.
    Statistics
    Author Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide traffic data and reports to the authors of articles on the HubPages Service. (Privacy Policy)
    ComscoreComScore is a media measurement and analytics company providing marketing data and analytics to enterprises, media and advertising agencies, and publishers. Non-consent will result in ComScore only processing obfuscated personal data. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Tracking PixelSome articles display amazon products as part of the Amazon Affiliate program, this pixel provides traffic statistics for those products (Privacy Policy)