“The real achievement of the earlier part of David Copperfield lies in a certain impression of the little Copperfield living in a land of giants. But one cannot avoid the impression that as the boy grows larger these figures grow smaller, and are not perhaps so completely satisfactory”.
How does the author achieve the effect of perceiving the world with child’s eyes? Consider the quote and analyze the characterization techniques Dickens uses on the examples of Mr. and Ms. Murdstone, the Peggotty family, Davy’s mother. Are Dickens’ heroes and villains static or dynamic in “David Copperfield”?
Images of the Salem House, where David is sent after biting Mr. Murdstone, are the very satire on the educational system: boys are stupefied by the abuse of physical punishment, and seek escape in little night-parties listening to David’s accounts of the books he has read. At Salem House David encounters the first idol and mistake of his “undisciplined heart”, a boy from a rich upper-class family called James Steerforth, and one of the truest future friends – Tommy Traddles. Dickens shows how passionate little David does not distinguish beauty and virtue, and his idolized view of Steerforth is caused as much by his handsome looks and light manners as by his dubious “noble” deeds. Do the class prejudices reveal themselves in the boy’s attitudes to each other and Mr.Mells? At this point in the novel does the author establish any relation between class, upbringing and morale?
David starts to mature when he takes his first independent decision to seek his aunt Betsey Trotwood and to escape the misery and hardships of the wine factory, where he is sent to labour by Mr. Murdstone after his mother’s death. This “rite of passage” is marked by the change of the colour scheme, as well as the chronotope: from gloomy dark-grey London slums to Dover’s open spaces and the green grass of Betsey Trotwood’s lawns on the hill overlooking the sea. David’s naïveté in people’s...
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