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David Copperfield

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David Copperfield

Post  MattinglyDoug on Wed Feb 17, 2010 6:19 am

The novel David Copperfield, written by Charles Dickens, deals with the
life and times of David Copperfield. About a century ago in a small town in
England, David was born on a Friday at the stroke of midnight, which is
considered a sign of bad luck. David's father has already died and his aunt
comes to stay with him and his mother as this novel gets off to a very slow
start. Soon David becomes aware that his mother has relations with another man
and asks one of his servants, "if you marry a person, and the person dies, why
then you may marry another person, mayn't you?" David is immediately angered
that his mother has betrayed his father and goes off to live with his aunt. A
while later, David goes back home but quickly gets into trouble and is sent off
to school.
Dickens uses excellent description in his telling of this story and the
reader can easily relate to the characters. The setting of a small town in
England is standard in all of his novels, including Great Expectations. The
reason for this Dickens' setting is because he was born in the town of
Portsmouth, England in 1812. Although as a young child he moved to Chatham
where he experienced a pleasant childhood in which many scenes from his
childhood are intertwined throughout his novels. Dickens father was constantly
in debt and was eventually sent to jail. This memory was agonizing for young
Charles as years later he wrote: "No words can express the secret agony of my
soul. I felt my early hopes of growing up to be a learned and distinguished man,
crushed in my breast." This directly relates to Dickens discussion of David in
a wine house later in the novel. A couple of years later, Dickens attends
school at the Wellington House Academy where he fell in love with Maria Beadnell
but her father opposed the marriage and nothing became of it. David Copperfield
is more of a biography of Dickens life made into fiction than of just a regular
story about a boy. Dickens writing skills are apparent as he ties chapters
together in an easy to understand novel where the writing seems to move along
swiftly. Dickens work is rich with metaphors and enjoyable to analyze as in
statements such as, "he eats at one gulp exactly like an elephant." This book
is a classic and may be considered his best work. There are times when the
novel moves slowly, but the positives outweigh the negatives and David
Copperfield is a book for everyone.
That summer after returning from school he finds his new baby brother,
and doesn't exactly know what to think of the situation. He soon must leave
again for school but is actually happy for his mother. He and his mother did
not get along, and David knew that he would never see her again. She dies soon
afterward, and although they did not get along, David takes her death with much
grief and sadness.
Soon David sets off to Miss Betsey's house, an old friend, and again
Dickens' description is brought out as David is described as being, "a dusty,
sunburnt, half-clothed figure." The novel is gradually picks up flavor and
humor as David's aunt, Miss Trotwood, is described. A parallel to his life is
drawn here when he finds out that his previous guardian was put in jail because
of unpaid debts. After not being able to find his aunt he stays with a doctor
and becomes fond of the daughter Agnes. As David is introduced to his teacher,
the plot starts to take a light-hearted, humorous twist. Thus the boring
introduction is forgotten and Dickens graceful style is brought out.
David eventually meets a young girl named Dora and marries her at the
age of twenty one in which time he becomes a successful writer. About a year
passes and he starts to have troubles with his marriage, but his writing becomes
more successful every day. David is soon expecting a baby and he hopes that it
will "make more of a woman" out of Dora, for she is a poor wife. Sadly though,
the baby dies soon after it is delivered. Soon after, David gets a letter which
says it is urgent to meet at his aunt's house. The letter worries him because
he thinks Emily, his childhood love, is dead. But when he goes, he soon
realizes that Emily is alive and overhears a conversation she is having with a
lady. David then hears the tale of how Emily disappeared. Soon after, his wife
dies as does Emily's husband. But David is too distraught to take action and
leaves the country for three years, during which time his books gain much
popularity. When he returns the exciting climax of the novel is brought out
through Dickens classic style.
Throughout the novel, there is no set antagonist that Dickens uses. Mr.
Murdstone, the man that David's mother marries could be classified as the
antagonist because he often beats David and drives David's mother to an early
death. Because this novel is more of a biography of Dickens life it is hard to
find a certain person that goes against David, however, the man that marries his
childhood love could also be classified as the antagonist. Again there is no
set theme to the novel because of its biography form. Although a theme
throughout David's life could be to take advantage of the situation and if you
see something you want, grab it, do not hold back and your life will prosper
because of it. As the book ends, Dickens wraps up the novel disposing of all of
the characters in the book. This is basically Dickens "anti-climatic wrapping
up" portion of the novel in which he does at the end of all his books. Overall,
this book displayed humor at times and sorrow at times but was fluent in style
and a fun book to read.


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