Human bonds are strange things, friendships are forged over childhood meetings or adult commonalities at their best, and fractious events at their worst. They are complicated, brutal and possibly the strongest bond you can ever have with another human – in many respects they transcend love. You can’t pick your family, and you can’t forget the sins of love – but friendships, they prevail.

Good or bad, there are many depictions of friendships throughout fiction, here are a few that have impacted me the most.

The Neapolitan series by Elena Ferrante

“I loved them both and so I couldn’t love myself, feel myself, affirm myself with a need for life of my own, one that had the same blind, mute force as theirs. So it seemed to me.” – Elena

Elena and Lila have a deep and complicated friendship. A deliciously intricate love/hate friendship no other author (I’ve read) has been able to articulate with such accuracy.

Harry Potter

Friendship, next to love, is the most important part of Harry Potter. Where on earth would Harry be without Hermione or Ron? They support each other in their endeavors, call each other out when they are wrong, and balance out weaknesses with each of their strengths.

Jane Eyre

“I told her all the story of my sad childhood. Exhausted by emotion, my language was more subdued than it generally was when it developed that sad theme; and mindful of Helen’s warnings against the indulgence of resentment, I infused into the narrative far less of gall and wormwood than ordinary. Thus restrained and simplified, it sounded more credible: I felt as I went on that Miss Temple fully believed me.” – Jane

Even in the bleakest of situations a friendship can be forged.

The Secret History

“I suppose at one time in my life I might have had any number of stories, but now there is no other. This is the only story I will ever be able to tell.” – Richard

It’s a complicated and twisted friendship that Richard forges with Henry, Francis, Charles, Camila, and Bunny. A story that can be boiled down to a desire to be one of the few ‘elite’, in admiration and love, and the circumstances that proceed.

We Are All Completely Beside Ourselves

A friendship formed from birth between human and animal. Oh how I cried when she showed her sister Fern the poker chip through the glass. This is a book that demonstrates that friendship isn’t just about people, it can easily be between humans and animals, and how guilt from past actions from this bond can be carried through life just the same.

Just Kids

“Where does it all lead? What will become of us? These were our young questions, and young answers were revealed. It leads to each other. We become ourselves.” – Patti

Has any bond ever been as intense as that between Patti Smith and Robert Mapplethorpe. It’s the friendship people admire and aspire too but is more beautiful in retrospection than I imagine it was at the time.

The Color Purple

“If you was my wife, she say, I’d cover you up with kisses stead of licks, and work hard for you too.”

I love the female friendships in this novel, they are always supportive and nurturing – in happy and bleak circumstances.

What books have taught you about friendship?

10
Leave a Reply

avatar
6 Comment threads
4 Thread replies
0 Followers
 
Most reacted comment
Hottest comment thread
6 Comment authors
AliceJenny @ Reading the EndmajoringinliteratureMichelleKya Recent comment authors

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

  Subscribe  
newest oldest most voted
Notify of
Naomi
Guest

This is going to be a shocker – Anne of Green Gables. :)

Kya
Guest

I really like this post. :)

Harry Potter is probably the main one, but when you mentioned The Colour Purple that was also a big one.

Michelle
Guest

Harry Potter definitely. The books were the first time I realized that friendship is just as powerful as love. Good post!

majoringinliterature
Guest

I definitely agree with Harry Potter! Next to the wonderful friendships in those books, the romances just seem forced by comparison. Not that friendship and romance can’t exist in the same book – but I feel like there’s not many authors who can give equal time to both.

Jenny @ Reading the End
Guest

Oh, The Color Purple is such a good one. Celie’s friendship (and more!) with Shug alone is worth the price of admission with that book. I am getting teary just thinking about it.