Pip was just learning to read when the situation with the convict occurred. His comprehension of what he read off tombstones and in his catechism often isn’t correct. It is planned that Pip will be Joe’s apprentice when he gets older. However, not wanting Pip to be pampered, his sister has him employed as an oddboy around the forge and is let out to neighbors to do errands. His earnings are given to his sister.
Mr. Wopsle’s great aunt runs an evening school in the village and keeps a general store. She is incompetent at managing both. Her granddaughter helps Pip learn to read.
A year after the incident with the convict, Pip learns that Joe can’t read—though he holds the skill in high esteem. Pip would like to be a scholar himself.
Joe tells Pip that he didn’t go to school. His father had been a drunk and abusive to Joe’s mother and to Joe. They would run away, and during these times his mother would place him in school. However, it wasn’t long before his father would find them again, and they would be forced to return home with him. The situation was detrimental to Joe’s education. Joe finally went to work as a blacksmith and took care of his father until he died. His mother died shortly after that, leaving Joe alone. Joe had been very lonely. He met Pip’s sister, which he considered a fine woman. She was raising Pip, who was a baby.
Pip wants to teach Joe, and Joe would like to learn. However, he thinks they should do it on the sly so Pip’s sister doesn’t find out. She isn’t fond of scholars, and she would be afraid that Joe would rebel if he started to get an education.
Joe admits that his wife is a harsh woman, but he puts up with her because she is a mastermind. He isn’t a mastermind, and he needs her. He also sees a lot of his mother in her—a woman that has slaved most of her life. He has great sympathy for her and doesn’t want to wrong her, though he wishes Pip didn’t have to suffer as well.
Pip has a new admiration for Joe after this.
Mrs. Joe went out with Uncle Pumblechook to help him with his shopping. She returns, excited. She tells them that Miss Havisham wants Pip to come and play at her home. She had heard about Pip through Uncle Pumblechook, who is a tenant of hers. Pip will return to Uncle Pumblechook’s home and stay the night. He will take Pip to Miss Havisham’s home the next day.
She gives Pip a good washing and puts him in stiff clothes. She turns him over to Uncle Pumblechook, who takes him to his home.