David Copperfield A Novel Of Hypocrisy Sexual

David Copperfield: A Novel Of Hypocrisy, Sexual Degradation, Selfish Exploitation, And Fraud Essay, Research Paper David Copperfield: A Novel of Hypocrisy, Sexual Degradation, Selfish Exploitation,

David Copperfield: A Novel Of Hypocrisy, Sexual Degradation, Selfish Exploitation,
And Fraud Essay, Research Paper

David Copperfield: A Novel of Hypocrisy, Sexual Degradation, Selfish Exploitation,

and Fraud

“David Copperfield” is a novel of “Passionate jealousy sniveling hypocrisy

cold hearted fraud, sexual degradation, selfish exploitation and much more; but

the final impression is one of joy tempered and mellowed wisdom” Discuss.

David Copperfield is probably one of the most successful novels of all time.

I believe it has inspired many readers to a full life with great success. The

novel itself is so real that it has even been said to be ‘more real than life’ I

am one of those who agree and I will try and explain why in the following essay .

The terms used to describe David Copperfield in the question are all very true

in their own respect. This is basically because Dickens chose to write about

life and in life all these terms apply.

By the time that Dickens began writing David Copperfield he was already a

profound author with great popularity. I believe he wanted to portray life as

best he could, he wanted to show what life was to him: and what better way than

a biography closely related to Dickens himself. We could call it a ‘Novel of

personal memory’ but we have to keep in mind the full original title: ‘The

Personal History, Adventures, Experience, and Observation of David Copperfield,

the Younger, of Bluderstone Rookery. (Which he never meant to published on any

account.) This complete title strongly suggests that this is one man’s story

written for himself. It was also supposed to ‘never have been published on any

account.’ Later in chap 42 this condition is repeated: ‘this manuscript is

intended for no eyes but mine.’ Of course this is part of the fiction, after all

we are reading David’s story ourselves when we reach this sentence. What is

David Copperfield about? I pose myself this question to help illustrate how much

of an autobiography this book really is, the simplest answer is of course that

it is about David Copperfield himself and his development as a man. Although

after having read several biography’s done on the author Charles Dickens, I was

led to believe that this book is very near Dickens own life, for example his

father, John Dickens does seem to have been a warm and pleasant father, but his

lack of responsibility, especially with money, later led his family into serious

difficulties. This is very much like Mr.Micawber. Infact his unhappy loves in

life were portrayed also, similarly he wanted to become a journalist and later

as David Copperfield a well-known author.

Referring back to the discussion title I’d like to give a few examples that

show how the terms applied actually relate to the novel. ‘Passionate jealousy,’

this can be seen majorly in Uriah Heep who throughout the entire novel displays

a strong jealousy towards David. Hidden behind his ‘umbleness he despises

society and is very disagreeable therefore he applies to most negative words

used in the discussion title. One example of his jealousy was when he thought

that David was trying to steal the love he dreamed of: Agnes. So Heep forced his

own mother to spy on David. Another character who came across as having

passionate jealousy was Ms.Dartle who loved Steerforth dearly all her life even

though he had been cruel to her and even ruined her beautiful face by breaking

her nose when he was younger. When Steerforth fled with lill’Emily, Ms.Dartle

took it to heart that Em’ly had stolen her Steerforth. There was a lot of

jealousy from Rosa Dartle’s part.

“Sniveling hypocrisy,” again we see Heep classified under this category but

more so there are two other very evil characters which are very hypocritical:

Mr.Creakle, the cruel headmaster of Salem house school. Initially he is the

cruelest most disrespectful headmaster alive but towards the end of the novel he

has turned into a very nice, polite warden at a jailhouse who has respect even

for the greatest criminals such as Heep and Littimer, Steerforth’s despicable

servant. Similarly Mr. Murdstone seems at the beginning to be very polite and a

great gentleman; until he gets what he wants! He marries rich young widowed

women whom he slowly destroys with his odious ‘firmness’

‘Cold-hearted fraud’ this is probably the most serious offense that is

committed in David Copperfield because it actually means: trickery or scheme to

deceive. In other words it is a crime, there were only a few occasions where

this occurred and mostly they were to do with Heep: firstly the way the evil and

slimy character deceived Mr. Wickfield accounts on several occasions with the

faking of his signature to transfer documents, once he even managed to take all

of Aunt Betsey’s money that was supposed to have been her life savings and ‘all’

she had. Also under serious offense we see Littimer’s name appearing once again

for his robbery to the bank of England, it is even suggested that both Heep and

Littimer were in on things together. But luckily, with the help of Mr. Dick and

the spiritous Miss. Mowcher they are both caught and put into Mr. Creakle’s


‘Sexual degradation’ is also portrayed and again I’d like to step back

and point out how important it is that we understand that these describing terms

apply to real life, and therefore if they come up in Dickens biographical novel,

he has been successful in describing how ‘real’ life is like. Mainly the

characters who acted with sexual degradation are: Steerforth towards Emily by

lying to her and basically tearing her away from her home, and Murdstone towards

David’s mother.

‘Selfish exploitation’ is done by quite a lot of characters mainly:

Steerforth-thinks he’s at the top, Heep-disguised beneath his ‘umbleness he’s

actually very conceited, Jack Maldon-the way he thinks only of himself and takes

full advantage of Doctor Strong’s caring heart, the Old Soldier (Annie’s

mother)-again taking selfish advantage of Doctor Strong, and lastly Mr.

Murdstone-thinking only for what’s best for him; he even abandoned David to his

Aunt Betsey whom was a complete stranger for him, just because he wanted to get

poor David out of his life. Would an unselfish step-father do that?

The initial title also says that: ‘the final impression is one of joy

tempered and mellowed with wisdom.’ This is very true and it is what has given

this book the success that it has: when we begin to read David Copperfield we

start to feel as if the bad luck is all happening to him, his mother re-marries

a cruel man, he goes to an awful school, his mother, he has to work unfairly

ect… Steerforth’s servant Littimer once calls David ‘young innocence’

(chapter 32). This name is appropriate. David is sensitive, honest and loving as

a child, and remains so all his life. He is intelligent and observant, but he

learns the harder facts of life very slowly. That is why we can say all those

describing terms about this novel are correct and that is why we can say it ends

marvellously with great expected achievment from david. In fact, also because it

was written as a series rather than a novel, Dickens manages to settle

everything left hanging between characters, in the last chapter. So in

conclusion I can say that I profoundly agree with the initial statement because

it properly describes this masterpiece of life.