Great Expectations

What do readers learn about Joe's childhood? Why didn't he finish school?

in chapter seven I think

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While doing his homework one night, Pip discovers that Joe is illiterate. Joe explains that he never stayed in school long because his father, a drunk and physically abusive to him and his mother, kept him out. Joe goes on to explain to Pip that, because of his father, Joe stays humble to Mrs. Joe. "I'm dead afeerd of going wrong in the way of not doing what's right by a woman," he says. He let's Mrs. Joe "Ram-page" over him because he sees how difficult it is to be a woman, remembering his mother, and he wants to do the right thing as a man. Pip has new understanding and respect for Joe.