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David Copperfield and Charles Dickens

Truthfully, my reasons for choosing to read this particular book were somewhat unexpected- going into the library and seeing so many books, I didn’t know what to choose; so I went to the CM cart in the front, and chose a book from there. Hearing many things of both Dickens and Copperfield, I felt there was no harm in reading this novel. This book proved to be a perfect method for Dickens to fictionalize the background of his early life. David Copperfield became the “favorite child” of its author and in it Dickens transcribed his own experiences, producing not only a fine novel, but a distinguished autobiography as well.

Due to the fact that David Copperfield a type of “unofficial autobiography”- the characters were in fact well drawn, and were truly represented in a way in which you felt you could relate to them and understand what they were feeling. Whereas, they were real- but told in a fictional manner. Again, because of this portrayal of his life, the characters were most definitely told in order of the plot, they were presented to us as if we were meeting them for the first time along with him. The novel is not pure biography; rather it is Dickens’ experiences made into fiction.

In the novel, David escapes from the warehouse to a sympathetic aunt, and he marries Dora after the “timely” death of her father. This did not happen in real life though as I found out from reading the “Life of the Author” excerpt, and it is almost as though Dickens were reconstructing parts of his childhood the way he wished it had been. In the novel, too, Dickens shows his contempt for his parents (in the guise of the Murdstones) for sending him to the blacking factory, and, at the same time, his devotion to the (the Micawber family) as lovable eccentrics.

Dora Spenlow becomes both Maria Beadnell and, later, the simple-minded Catherine Hograth, his real wife. The novel, thus, is both fantasy and fact. Any “autobiography” that is written is relayed to the reader in depth for the desire of expressing their life in full. For example- Dickens marries Dora Spenlow, and has a life and family with her, but sadly when she dies he goes abroad for three years and upon his return he realizes that Agnes Wickfield has been his true love all along, and their happy marriage takes place at last.

Dickens could have left some of his previous events out and focused upon his current life, but he doesn’t for the sake of expressing all of his anguish that he really lived to us- the readers. In 1849, David Copperfield, one of Dickens’ most important novels was begun- because of this time period and the fact that he was English, the understanding of the words did become harder than some books. There were many characters, because he was telling his life story, so keeping them straight did a maybe one or two times become difficult, but the detail he gave helped.

I would suggest that no one under the ninth grade read this book just because, I don’t think they’d appreciate the style and be able to grasp the feelings he was relaying to you through out the book. Two important themes of Dickens are highlighted in Chapter 47; these are the disciplined heart and wise prudence. These two themes are used through out the book, your heart never lies and that is something Copperfield comes to realize as the book reaches a conclusion. As a reader you could predict that David would eventually marry Agnes, it was just a matter of when.

By reading between the lines you could see and understand what “concepts” or “themes” Dickens wanted you to follow in your own life. On a scale of one to ten I would give this book a ten. It was a fine novel and superbly written, in both fantasy and auto- biography form. You could see where Dickens’ wished something would have gone that particular way in his own life just by reading the unsaid emotions that were plainly written. There really isn’t anyone whom I wouldn’t recommend this book to- I chose it upon chance and enjoyed it verily- so if someone desired to read it I would give it nothing but praise.

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