Great Expectations. How Does the Relationship Between Pip and Joe Change and Develop as the Novel Goes on? What Is Dickens Saying About Society at the Time?

3642 Words May 2nd, 2006 15 Pages
"Great Expectations" is set in Victorian England. It is apparent when we read the novel that Charles Dickens expressed many of his own views when writing the narrative, using a strong authorial voice. This is particularly clear when he addresses certain issues concerning the social and cultural concerns of the time, and through Pip's desire for social change. The development of the relationship between Pip and Joe is crucial in realising the complexity and importance of their relationship because their friendship is affected by many external factors which are beyond the control of the beholders. In order to explore the change and development I must also consider how society inspired Dickens to write such a powerful novel. Initially, the …show more content…
It is Joe's astounded reaction to these lies that causes us to feel sympathetic towards Joe and causes an increased dislike for Pip. However, we are pleased to see that for the first time in his life he is in control of a situation, and particularly in control of Mrs. Joe, who he has suffered abuse at her hands for so many years. His attitude towards Joe had also changed, from the extreme affection in chapter six, where Joe is described as the only receptor for Pip's love,

"I loved Joe - perhaps for no reason in those early days than because the dear fellow let me love him."

to a "mere blacksmith" who was the source of Pip's shameful upbringing. It is also the first time in the novel that we see such a strong authorial voice, where Dickens asks us directly as a reader to think if we have ever felt such a change in our own lives. However much we are prepared to blame Pip for the drastic changes to Pip and Joe's relationship, we cannot ignore the fact that there are many external characters that provoke a course of events which are completely out of the control of both Pip and Joe. Estella and Miss Havisham being the most prominent, as Pip seems to be completely infatuated by Estella and describes her very affectionately as if she was the one thing in his life he had been waiting for;

"But, she answered at last, and her light came along the dark passage like a star"

but the arrival of Biddy and Jaggers also form a marked