Comp II/English 102
June 21, 2010 “A Devoted Friend” Is devotion a two way street between friends? This writer would have to say no, devotion is not always a two way street between friends, but it certainly should be. In the short story, “The Devoted Friend”, author Oscar Wilde tells his readers a tale of two friends and their ideas of what a devoted friend truly is. Little Hans shows readers that friendship is not always unselfish, and Hugh the Miller—Hans’ friend—shows readers they can never be quite sure just what kind of friend a person may be. There are exactly six different instances where Hugh the Miller, hereby called the Miller, proves to be the exact opposite of what he claims is a devoted friend. Hans had many friends, but none as devoted as the Miller. Indeed so devoted was the rich Miller to little Hans, that he never passed by Hans’ garden without taking something for himself. The neighbors’ thought it was strange the rich Miller never gave Hans anything in return, when he had so much stored away. After a very hard winter passed by, and little Hans had suffered during the cold, the Miller showed up at Hans’ with a huge basket to be filled with flowers from Hans’ garden. Hans needed his flowers to sell at the market , so he could buy back his wheelbarrow. He had sold it to survive through the winter, and he told this to the Miller. The Miller offered an old raggedy, broken wheelbarrow of his to Hans. Hans tells the Miller how generous he is, and that he can certainly fix the wheelbarrow, because he has a plank of wood in his house. “A plank of wood!” said the Miller. “Why that is just what I want for the roof of my barn. It is quite remarkable how one good action breeds another. I have given you my wheelbarrow, and now you will give me your plank.” (Bennett) Then the Miller hands Hans his flower basket, and tells Hans
Cited: Bennett, William J. The Book of Virtues. New York: Simon & Schuster, 1993. Chan, Agnes. "Literature Review: The Devoted Friend, by Oscar Wilde." (2008). Wilde, Oscar. The Happy Prince and other Stories. 1888.