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Home Middelbare School EN Uittreksels Uittreksel Charles Dickens - David Copperfield

Uittreksel Charles Dickens - David Copperfield

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Uittreksels Engelse Literatuur

Charles Dickens - David Copperfield

Braderly and Evans, London (1849)


The title refers to the main character of this novel David Copperfield


Charles Dickens lived from 1812 to 1870. He was born near Portsmouth, but spent part of his youth in London. He had to work in a factory as a child, because his family was poor. He became a reporter with a newspaper. Sketches by Boz (1836) was his first published fiction. Next to David Copperfield, his novels include Oliver Twist and Great Expectations.

The literary period:

The Victorian Age (1830 -1918).

The genre:

This book is a novel of adventure with autobiographical elements. Mr Micawber resembles Dickens' father and David is an idealized portrait of Dickens himself. It is also a Bildungsroman, David Copperfield grows from a young boy into an adult novelist.


David Copperfield is born at Blunderstone, six months after his father has died. He has a happy youth. His nurse Pegotty takes him to see her brother, his nephew Ham and his niece Emily, and they become friends. When he returns home his mother has married Mr Murdstone. He brings his pious sister Jane to live with them. They try to force their will on David and his mother.

David is sent to the boarding school run by the tyrannical Mr Creackle. His new friends are James Steerforth and Tommy Traddles.

He is called home because his has mother died and he is neglected by the Murdstones. At the age of ten he has to clean bottles for Murdstone and Grindby. He lives with the optimistic Mr Wilkins Micawber, who is sent to the debtor's prison. David leaves for Dover where his aunt Betsy Trodwood lives. On his way he is beaten and robbed. His aunt takes good care of him. Her lodger Mr Dick is a nice man. David feels very much at home here.

He visits the Dr. Strong's School in Canterbury, where he lives with Mr Wickfield, his aunt's lawyer, and his daughter Agnes. After graduating from Mr. Strong's School he visits the Pegottys in Yarmouth. He meets Steerforth, who falls in love with Emily. David becomes a lawyer by the law firm Spenlow and Jirkins. He falls in love with Dora, Spenlow's daughter.

Because his aunt can't support him any more he start working for a newspaper. When Spenlow dies he marries Dora. Mr Micawber, just out of prison, becomes Uriah Heep's clerk. Heep wants to marry Agnes,but Mr Micawber, being an honest person, reveals Heep's frauds and forgeries. Heep is sent to prison and the Micawbers and Emily go to Australia.

Dora dies. Agnes suggests that David should take a journey abroad. When David returns he realises he loves Agnes. The marry and have many children. David becomes a succesful author.


The story takes place in Dickens' own time. It describes David from his youth to his becoming a succesful author.


The story moves to and fro, mainly between Blunderstone, London, Yarmouth, Dover and Canterbury.

Characters and relationships:

David Copperfield

He is searching for a balance between different good qualities in his own character. These can only make a good person of someone in combination with other qualities. David eventually finds a balance in the development of his emotional life and of his business life.




The main theme is the way an individual learns to live in hostile surroundings. A secondary theme is the social situation of his country.



Linguistic usage:

Because the book was published partly as a journal it has a journalistic feel. He was writing for a large audience so his languague is intended to please that audience. This makes David Copperfield a not too easy novel to read, but certainly worthwhile.




The story is written in the first person. David Copperfield tells the story.


The book contains 125 pages.

Own opinion on the book:

Your opinion!


Plaats reactie


Our mind is the most valuable possession that we have. The quality of our lives is, and will be, a reflection of how well we develop, train, and utilize this precious gift.

Ons brein is het meest waardevolle bezit dat we hebben. De kwaliteit van ons leven is, en zal zijn, een reflectie van hoe goed we dit kostbare geschenk ontwikkelen, trainen en gebruiken.

Brian Tracy