David Copperfield by Charles Dickens is considered to be the most closest work resembling Dickens life. It is autobiographical. is the story of a young man’s adventures on his journey from an unhappy and impoverished childhood to the discovery of his vocation as a successful novelist.
There is a funny anecdote related to this book. At the time when I was reading David Copperfield, a friend of mine tells me that the first book Sigmund Freud gave his fiancee, Martha Bernays, on their engagement in 1882. At the moment, I wanted to question his anecdote but I thought it otherwise. I said to myself, ‘Why not read this 900 pages book and find the answer to that ‘why’ myself?’ And indeed I did.
The first half of the novel begins with the childhood of David Copperfield. The childhood starts of with his father’s death only when he is three years old. His mother, very young, pretty, and inexperienced, raises the boy with the help of her loyal maid, Clara Peggoty. Things go well, young David is growing up in a happy, loving home until his mother marries again. David’s stepfather, believes that firmness is the only way of dealing with boys. He ends up sending Davy away to a boarding school run by a cruel schoolmaster.
When David’s mother dies, Mr. Murdstone decides that even this kind of education is too good for his stepson and promptly gets rid of him by sending him to London, to work at a blacking factory. David is only ten when that happens. After many trials, he decides to run away and search for his aunt who eventually adopts him.
The second half of David Copperfield displays Dickens at his best. A reader will certainly adore and admire Dickens writing manner. The most solid foundation of the book, I consider are the characters. Dickens typically seems to employ static characters to represent the good and bad elements of life and nature. Every character is given his own distinctive and instantly recognizable voice. Some of them are timeless including the Copperfield himself.
As the story picks up and becomes more complicated, with David Copperfield establishing himself in business, falling in love, breaking friendships, and traveling abroad, the language weave an interesting web around him and his journey, one which connects the reader to David and encourages him to come along, to see what happens, to experience what David was experiencing. If more, Dickens draws revealingly on his own experiences to create this story with equal measure of tragedy, and comedy. The last hundred pages become a drag as Dickens closes on various characters lives along with the protagonist and narrator, David Copperfield. Though the conclusion is satisfying enough. There is no doubt David Copperfield is one of the best work of Charles Dickens.
4 out of 5