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Herbert In Great Expectations Essay

1175 words - 5 pages

The only real gentleman in Great Expectations is Herbert. Write an
essay arguing either for or against this point of view using quotations
to support your arguments.

The only real gentleman in Great Expectations is Herbert. Write an
essay arguing either for or against this point of view using
quotations to support your arguments. You should look at other
characters, for example, Pip, Joe, Drummle and Compeyson. You will
need to define exactly what you think is meant by a 'gentleman'.

Throughout Great Expectations, the author, Charles Dickens, makes a
point of focussing on 'gentlemen', in particular, Herbert Pocket, Pip
Pirrip, Bentley Drummle, Compeyson, and Joe Gargery. He shows his
personal opinion on the subject, namely that money does not
necessarily make a gentleman. The dictionary defines a gentleman as
being a man on honourable and kindly behaviour and of good social
position. In this essay, I shall be arguing the point that Herbert is
the only true gentleman in the dictionary sense of the word.

Herbert Pocket is one of the children of Mr. Matthew Pocket and his
wife Camilla. His father is a private tutor, and his mother comes from
a well-bred family. They are impoverished aristocrats and do not have
much money. Despite this, Herbert has been well brought up. In the
book, our first encounter with Herbert is during Pip's second visit to
the home of Miss. Havisham, Satis House. He is referred to as the
"pale young gentleman". Before he and Pip fight just after their first
meeting, Herbert said, "I ought to give you a reason for fighting."
This is an example of good manners and is an example of gentlemanly
behaviour. Even after been defeated by Pip during the fight, he says
"it will be magnanimous in you if you'll forgive me for having knocked
you about so", another example of gentlemanly behaviour.

After Pip moves in with Herbert in London, Pip, in talking about
Herbert, says that he has never seen anyone who had a "natural
incapacity to do anything secret and mean." This good-natured, open
and kind behaviour described by Pip is a gentlemanly trait.

During the dinner in which Herbert tells Pip about Miss. Havisham's
past, there are several indications and examples of Herbert being a
gentleman. Pip says, "I am conscious that he carried off his rather
old clothes, much better than I carried off my new suit." This seems
to indicate that Pip sees Herbert looks more of a gentleman in his old
clothes, than he does in his new clothes. During the meal, when Pip is
eating, his table manners leave a lot to be desired. Herbert, further
proving he to be a gentleman, politely sips Pip a few pointers on the
gentlemanly way of eating. He does this several times, one of the most
obvious being "Take another glass of wine, and excuse my mentioning
that society as a body does not expect one to be so strictly
conscientious in emptying one's glass, as to turn it bottom upwards
with the rim on his nose."


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