Study Guide

Clara Barley in Great Expectations

By Charles Dickens

Clara Barley

Clara is Herbert Pocket's love and fiancée. She lives at Mill Brook Pond at a boarding house with her irascible, alcoholic father (a retired ship's purser) who she tends to on hand and foot. Pip thinks she looks like a fairy. When Clara's father dies, she marries Herbert, and he takes her to Cairo where they live with Pip.

Clara is "natural and winning," "confiding, loving, and innocent" (46.20): in other words, she's the anti-Estella. She's the kind of girl Pip could have settled down with if he weren't so busy throwing himself after Miss Ice Queen.