Great Expectations: A Character Sketch of Herbert Describing the Importance of Friendship

Essay by eserkinJunior High, 9th gradeA+, February 2004

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"Without friends no one would choose to live, though he had all other goods," (Aristotle). Friends are the most valuable possessions of any person, no matter who the person is. More than 2300 years later, Aristotle's statement holds true. One example of the ultimate value of friendship can be found in Charles Dickens's Great Expectations. One of the few characters who remains stationary throughout the novel is Herbert Pocket, the dearest friend of Philip Pirrip, also known as Pip, the main character of the book. Herbert is the epitome of a steadfast friend, never giving up on Pip even though he realizes Pip's faults. He is always right at Pip's side to lend a hand. Throughout the book, Herbert shows his unwavering friendship on many different occasions.

A friend is determined by his conduct during hard times as well as good times; when Pip is hurt, Herbert does not fail in helping.

At one point, Pip is badly burned in a fire. During the time spent by Pip in recovery, Herbert never leaves his side, always there patiently nursing Pip back to health. Pip says of Herbert, "He was the kindest of nurses, and at stated times took off the bandages, and steeped them in the cooling liquid that was kept ready, and put them on again, with a patient tenderness that I was deeply grateful for," (376). Herbert is an utterly devoted friend, caring so greatly for Pip that he readily undertakes any task to benefit his friend.

Herbert goes on to prove his devotion when Pip's life is in even greater danger. Pip is lured into peril by Dolge Orlick, the journeyman blacksmith taken on by Pip's brother-in-law who has always harbored a passionate resentment and flat out hatred of Pip. Just when Pip despairs of any...