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Analysis of David Copperfield

Paper Type: Free Essay Subject: English Literature
Wordcount: 850 words Published: 1st Jan 2015

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“David Copperfield” is perhaps the most famous novel by Charles Dickens. The story of the novel is written in first person narrative mode, and it is believed that it, at least to some extent, it is an autobiography of the author. The fact that the main character describes his surroundings, his situations, his life and everything else in first person, makes it a very easy for us to analyze the colors and the features of his personality, making it a very appropriate character to analyze. By telling the story of his life in younger years, the character makes it possible for us readers to even analyze the factors which affected his personality and that made him who he is. It also gives us a clue on how he sees and thinks of the world around him, including the people of his life. One of the events which I believe was a significant factor in protagonist’s personality development was removing him from school by his family because of money difficulties and because of his conflict with his step father because he was falling behind with his studies. His step father was a negative figure in our protagonists’ life and we can consider him an antagonist. This was a traumatic experience for little David Copperfield. Since the same thing happened to the author Charles Dickens in his childhood, this serves as a strengthening argument that we have to do with an autobiography and David Copperfield in fact is an impersonation of the author.

Keywords: David Copperfield, Charles Dickens, Character Analysis.

David Copperfield was born in an English home the 1800s. He mentions in the book that he was born on a Friday, just after midnight, which considering to him and the people who assisted his birth, makes him an unlucky person. Perhaps this is just superstition, but he really wasn’t born with much luck. His father whom David Copperfield was named after, passed away six months before little David was born. As if this isn’t enough bad luck, David was also born poor, and in a low class family. The aunt of his father who is to become an important character later in the book, hopes that she is going to get a girl relative, and even names the child before it’s born, and as soon as David, a boy, comes to life, she abandons him and his mother going to live somewhere else. Having a rough start, David also has a very difficult life, being born in an underprivileged social class, being born as an orphan, and not having much luck with other people in his life either, especially in his childhood.

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David is a person who lacks a lot, and doesn’t want much in life, he wants affirmation as a person and a warm family life, basic needs of any individual. Not having any of them at his birth and childhood, when he needed them most, he has to use what nature gave him, his talents and his strong will, to achieve them. Since the story is told in retrospective, we know that he made it in life, what we are to find out in the novel is how he made it. And for that, there are hundreds of pages of his story telling. Despite his difficult situation, we can confidently say that David is an optimistic person.

Since basically his whole life is told on his novel, we are dealing with David in different age and development. As a child we can tell that he despite the challenges and difficulties is still a person with a good heart who wants good things for everybody. He tells the story of his childhood with the naivety and innocence of a young boy and not as a mature person, even though as I mentioned, he tells the story in retrospective. This makes it even easier for us to understand the true traits of David’s personality, his warm heart, and although David is to immature and naïve to understand people around him, we are readers can easily understand their motifs which are not always good as little David thinks, and although David gets more mature with growing up and is not so naïve anymore about other people, he still has the same warm and goodwill heart as in his childhood.

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His good heart is not always a good thing for him. It makes him emotional and weak in situations where he should rather be rational. This happens for example when he falls in love with and marries Dora, who obviously isn’t a person suited for marriage and is rather selfish and immature, not at all suited for David. This is corrected by fate later, when Dora dies and David marries Agnes, his real love whom he had always considered as a sister. She is a smart and a very kind girl, since their love is both sided and they are well suited for one another, they live a happy marriage life together. We can say that Agnes is a better match for David. In this situation we see that David is not so completely unlucky after all and the novel shows us the well-known belief that “good wins in the end”.

David’s talent, strong wills, hard work, optimism, helps him to achieve what he needed so much in his childhood. He becomes a famous writer and lives a happy life married with Agnes.


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