The prompt for this month’s A Classics Challenge concerns character. I have the easiest book in the world to choose a character from – Great Expectations. No, I still haven’t finished it! I am almost there, though, and am really enjoying it and the extremely memorable characters Dickens uses to populate his story. Pip, Magwitch, Mr. Jaggers, Herbert, Estella and Miss Havisham – who could forget them? I could easily write about any of these characters, but instead I’d like to focus on a character who seems to be tragically overlooked. First, here is the prompt for February:
How has the character changed? Has your opinion of them altered? Are there aspects of their character you aspire to? or hope never to be? What are their strengths and faults? Do you find them believable? If not, how could they have been molded so? Would you want to meet them?
Mrs. Joe is Pip’s sister who ‘raised him up by hand’. She is assertive, shrewish, abusive and terrifying when she’s in a snit. She hen-pecks her husband, Joe Gargery, who still thinks she is ‘a fine-figure-of-a-woman’. Pip has no feeling for her and keeps out of her way as much as possible.
Mrs. Joe slightly reminded me of certain women in my family. My mom’s side of the family are known for being a bit ornery so she was familiar to me and I thought she was a very vibrant, energetic character in the early part of the novel. When she suffered the horrible act of violence that changes her forever, I was stunned. It was almost shocking the way she is silenced and completely shut out from the remainder of the plot. I do believe Pip’s story would have been different if he’d had his sister around to oversee his journey.
Was Dickens making a point about loud, outrageous women?
What character do you remember most from Great Expectations?