Women's Role In The Influence Of Pip In Great Expectations

1957 words - 8 pages

Women's Role in the Influence of Pip in Great Expectations

Throughout the novel “Great Expectations”, we meet several interesting
characters, each with their own unique way of affecting the life of
the character in which the story is circulated around. This very
character, known as Pip, has the displeasure of having to deal with
three of such characters from a very young and vulnerable age. The
fact that these three characters are all female, and incredibly cruel
individuals at that, certainly would not help a growing male child in
having a very good image of women as he gets older. It is, in fact, a
wonder why Pip does not grow up to despise every ...view middle of the document...

Whereas, nowadays, this would be seen as child
abuse, the audience of the time would have had no objections to this
situation. Children in those times were only expected to be “seen and
not heard” and if it came into a child’s head that they should break
this minute expectation, they would be severely punished. Mrs Joe
Gargery seems to be unhealthily dedicated to this rule and is indeed
seen as a good motherly role model by the surrounding peoples in the
novel.

When Mrs Joe is compared to her blacksmith husband, we are able to see
a very obvious difference in husband and wife roles at the time. Mr
Joe Gargery being a timid man makes the reader realise just how
aggressive the woman can be, because in those time men usually had the
upper hand, the authority and power over women. Mrs Joe, however,
believes that she should have the authority and also believes that she
should have better than Mr Joe Gargery – “It’s bad enough being a
blacksmith’s wife.” This makes the reader wonder why she decided to
marry the blacksmith in the first place. This, however, can be
explained by Victorian attitudes at the time of the book. People in
those times used to look upon middle aged unmarried women as “hussies”
and thought it “improper” to not have a man to take care of you.
Attitudes such as these always made unmarried women quite unpopular,
especially towards those women who were married and saw single women
as a threat to their husbands.

However, there are times when we see a completely different side to
Mrs Joe Gargery. When her uncle comes over on Christmas day, she
resorts to showing a personality unlike her own. She is polite and
snobbish – “Oh, un-cle Pum-ble-chook! This is kind!” This is, of
course, a side that she has never shown to neither Pip nor her husband
and they are both well aware of this. This, to Pip, might show that
people can be two faced and untrustworthy when meeting them for the
first time. After all, he has the advantage of seeing both of the
possible sides demonstrated first hand by his sister. She is a person
that obviously cares what other people think of her and often tries
quite hard to impress. A perfect example of this is when she, Pip and
Mr Joe go off to town to visit uncle Pumblechook. Instead of wearing
simple clothes, Mrs Joe takes a very large beaver bonnet, a spare
shawl and an umbrella (even though it was not raining). This shows,
again, that Mrs Joe likes to be seen important and fancies herself as
a Lady.

We could tell that Pip’s thoughts of his sister are not all that
positive. In fact he describes her almost as a horrid creature – “My
sister, Mrs Joe Gargery, with black hair and eyes, had such a
prevailing redness of skin.” This makes the readers also see her as
just that – a snobbish creature. In fact, it is actually quite a
relief for the...

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