Conversely, when Pip next meets another gentleman, Herbert who he refers to as a “pale young gentleman”, he is not unpleasant towards Pip. In fact, even while Pip is beating him up, Herbert does not utter any word of contempt against Pip. Here Dickens is presenting a very different view of what a gentleman should be like. When Pip first sees him, he sees him as a gentleman straight away, which shows that he would almost certainly be considered as a gentleman to Victorians.
When he meets Herbert in London, his true character is shown.
Herbert is instantly presented as a very polite person, shown by the way he reaches his hand out “good-humouredly” and how Pip describes him as having an “easy way with him that was very taking”. Later on in the chapter, he shows his kindness again by telling him not to “put the knife in the mouth”. He does not say it in a bossy way or try to embarrass Pip.
This is shown by the way that he gives a perfectly accurate reason for it and also, he says it in a “lively way” which makes Pip “scarcely blush”.
Here Dickens is clearly trying to make a point that a true gentleman is caring to all types of people, weather they are rich or poor. When Pip first goes to London, he meets two people who he becomes great friends with – Wemmick and Herbert. His first impressions of Wemmick are not great, but later Pip realises he is different when at home, as opposed to when he is at work, and Pip realises that he is a real gentleman at home.
Dickens presents Wemmick as a well-to-do person. He is not wealthy nor is he poor. However, Wemmick is shown to be very kind throughout the book, albeit while at home.
Not only does he show kindness to Pip, he even helps Herbert, even though he does not know him very well. Conversely, Wemmick is not presented as a perfect gentleman because he is a very different type of person at work. He is described as “a dry man… with a square wooden face”. This is a very boring description, and it suggests that he is not a presentable person, which would be expected of a gentleman in Victorian times. Ultimately, I believe that it is very hard to decide which character is presented as the perfect gentleman.
Characters such as Joe act as gentlemen in one way, but are not very affluent. On the other hand, a character such as Compeyson would be considered a gentleman by Victorians but are not very “gentle” as the word gentleman suggests. Therefore, I believe that Dickens presents the perfect gentleman as someone who has worked hard for his wealth, but is also a kind person. Herbert is presented as the perfect gentleman by Dickens through how Pip looks up to him from the moment he first meets him, and right to the end of the novel.
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