I’m re-reading Great Expectations by Charles Dickens, and I’m reading it slowly.
It’s not my usual mode. I generally like to race through a book. But I’m reading this way partly to savor the writing, for every time I reread Dickens I am again in awe at his use of language, and partly to drink in the depth of Dickens’s characters. Take Joe Gargery, for instance. An uneducated blacksmith who at first seems superlative to the story. But in the end Joe turns out to be quite important.
I didn’t appreciate Joe’s character in my first readings of this book, when I was younger. But the older I get, the more experience I gain in living, the more I see the beauty and wisdom of Joe Gargery. He understands people. He understands life. And he imparts his wisdom to the unsuspecting and often unappreciative Pip. So I thought I’d start sharing some of Joe Gargery’s wisdom with you on occasion. Here’s the first one: