David Copperfield's father dies 3 months before his birth. His mother, very young, pretty, and inexperienced, raises the boy with the help of her loyal maid, Clara Peggoty. Things go well, young Davy is growing up in a happy, loving home – until his mother marries again. Mr. Murdstone, Davy'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 Mr. Creakle.
When Davy'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. Davy is only 10 when that happens. After many trials, he decides to run away and search for his aunt, Betsy Trotwood, who eventually adopts him.
The second part of this novel shows the grown-up David Copperfield, he has completed his education and is apprenticed as a clerk to work in a law firm. He meets his boss's daughter Dora and falls in love. His feelings are returned, but Dora's father is furious when he finds out about the engagement. Meanwhile, David's aunt goes bankrupt, the family loses most of their possessions, and David has to work even harder in order to provide for himself and his loved ones.
This report prepared by Laura Southcombe
David Copperfield is the quintessential coming of age story where the young David flounders around foolishly for a time before finding his legs and going straight. In the mean time, the evil and revolting Uriah Heap (Dickens really had a thing about lawyers) has manipulated David's close friend's family into disaster in an attempt to force David's young lover to marry him. The conclusion is satisfying and surprising as Dickens was a master at both the hanging ending between chapters and the happy final ending.
This report prepared by Kelly Whiting