Great Expectations is a novel of growth, understanding and life. Throughout the novel we see Pip Pirrup develop from a lonely young boy, to an ambitious boy, to an idle teen and finally a mature adult. Pip goes through a variety of events that help him develop the qualities that lead to him acquiring those of a mature, responsible and kind adult but more important than the events throughout his life are the people that convey these traits and cultivate them within Pip. From Joe's unconditional love, to Wemmick's out of office kindness and general optimism and Herbert's ambition for practical means, even Miss Havisham's need for forgiveness and Estella's rejection provide Pip with the experiences he needs to become the adult he is.
Pip was orphaned at an extremely young age, which would be traumatic for anyone but Pip is sent to live with his mean aunt Ms. Joe. Pip who is in need of love, guidance and friendship finds none within Ms. Joe, but luckily her husband Joe becomes a father figure for Pip and tries to instill values within him. Pip loves Joe back as he explains, "But I loved Joe–perhaps for no better reason than because the dear fellow let me love him" (40 Dickens). Joe cares deeply for Pip and tries to do everything in his power to provide for him. Joe swells with pride as a father would when watching Pip read and write and tries to learn because he knows that is what Pip would want. Aside from Joe's unconditional love and kindness, Joe also tries to teach Pip the skill of blacksmithing despite Pips disinterest. When offered the premium from Miss Havisham, Joe cannot decline it but is persistent in making sure that they both understand that he is teaching Pip out of love and not for money. Pip eventually has higher aspirations that Joe cannot provide or help with and Pip begins to resent Joe for his lack of class and intelligence.
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