Johanna Spyri's beloved 1880 children's novel Heidi is a novel that paints virtue and vice as absolutes, with little room for the ambiguities and nuances of real life and people. While Heidi is portrayed as an absolute model for little children, generous, caring, pious and brave, Clara is clearly secondary to Heidi in the novel. Nonetheless, Clara does possess distinct virtues.
First, Clara is portrayed as intelligent, observant, and knowledgeable about the world around her. She often acts as a mentor to Heidi in explaining to her the world of the town. Although a chronic invalid, she is patient and to a degree brave, willing to experiment with new things and people, and a good friend to Heidi. She lacks the snobbery of many of the people in the city. She is kind and affectionate.