Justice 4 Mrs. Joe

We began discussing Pip’s sister, Mrs. Joe, in class and Professor Chan mentioned how the scene in which she is asking for someone to stand up for her can be read as misogynistic. I initially did not read it to be misogynist because I think Dickens does a really good job of making Mrs. Joe completely unlikeable. To me, she is mean and abusive and used her femininity to her advantage in front of other people in social settings (such as on Christmas). After reading further in the story and learning that she was attacked by someone and rendered handicapped, I kind of feel bad for her character. Now she is a background character that just laughs and giggles and she does not drive any plot or emotion from Pip and I understand now what Professor Chan was getting at; Mrs. Joe was striking to me because of the kind of bold and in-charge woman she was during this time, but it is almost like her injury is because of her attitude. It would have been interesting if Dickens developed her character differently… maybe she’d breakdown her backstory to Pip one day and explain why she was left in charge of him, why she acted the way she did, how she ended up with Joe. Instead, she is now just a background character that we won’t get to hear from in the same way again.

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