History Literature / DavidCopperfield

5th Oct '17 4:22:54 PM TheGreatConversation
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* AmoralAttorney: Uriah Heep and, by blackmail, Wickfield. Also David's first bosses Spenlow and Jorkins, to an extent.

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* AmbiguouslyEvil: Steerforth is often cast as one of the villains of the piece, although his actions betray a mere careless self-interest (coupled with an unfortunately potent charisma), rather than any actual desire to do harm.
* AmoralAttorney: Uriah Heep and, by blackmail, Wickfield. Also David's first bosses Spenlow and Jorkins, to an extent. Dickens gleefully lampshades the disastrous state of the British judicial system at every opportunity.



* DefiledForever: The reason everyone is so distraught by Emily's escape with Steerforth. If he seduces her but neglects to marry her, she will be forever stained in the eyes of Victorian society.
* DestructiveRomance: Emily's all-consuming ambition to "be a lady" and Steerforth's tendency to woo and then discard collide with disastrous results.



* {{Manchild}}: David is a downplayed example. Despite spending a good portion of his childhood on the streets of London, he remains fairly naive as an adult.
-->'''David:''' ''(upon his aunt's suggestion that he become a proctor)'' What ''is'' a proctor, Steerforth?
* TheMatchmaker: Ms. Mills, having despaired of ever finding love herself, reportedly plays this role for every young couple she can get her hands on. She consequently becomes the ShipperOnDeck for David and Dora, and is instrumental in their continued relationship.



* MostWritersAreWriters: The book ends with David having become a successful novelist. Justified, since David is a loose portrait of Dickens himself.



* OneOfTheKids: Mr. Dick is very simple and kind, and relates well with the young David.

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* OneOfTheKids: Mr. Dick is very simple and kind, and relates well bonds easily with the young David.



* RichBoredom: Steerforth to a tee. He doesn't ''have'' to do anything, and as a result, he flits from one fancy to the next without truly accomplishing anything.



* SecondLove: David, for Agnes -- although a case can be made that the first, Dora, was only boyish infatuation.

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* SecondLove: David, for Agnes -- although Agnes--although a case can be made that the first, Dora, was only boyish infatuation.



* ShipperOnDeck: Miss Mills for David and Dora.

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* ShipperOnDeck: Miss Mills for ShelteredAristocrat: Dora, tragically. She doesn't know anything about household management or upper-middle-class life, a fact which frustrates David and Dora.to no end.
* ShoutOut: All the books David mentions reading as a child are real books Dickens probably read in his. The novel is filled with allusions to other famous works of literature, primarily Shakespeare.



* SocialClimber
** Little Em'ly spends all her life wishing to be a lady. So when the dashingly highborn James Steerforth offers himself up, she jumps at the opportunity.
** Uriah Heep works the backstabber angle of this trope, plotting to supplant his employer in the law firm.



* TheStoryteller: To cope with the BoardingSchoolOfHorrors's crap, David becomes this.

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* TheStoryteller: To cope with the BoardingSchoolOfHorrors's crap, Steerforth suggests to young David becomes this.that he recount the tales he has learned from his beloved books. Steerforth suggests it purely for his own entertainment, but David later suggests that the practice was vital in developing the tendency towards authorship [[MostWritersAreWriters he would later avail himself of]].
* SupportingProtagonist: David toes the line, especially when Steerforth is around.
5th Oct '17 11:38:38 AM TheGreatConversation
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* AffectionateNickname: When David re-encounters Steerforth as a young adult, Steerforth immediately nicknames him "Daisy," [[HoYay purportedly]] in reference to his "freshness" and naivety. He rarely addresses him as David after that.



* CleaningUpRomanticLooseEnds: Interestingly lampshaded by Dora's death; she herself comments that it's better this way, as she would never have gotten past her silliness and stupidity and David would've eventually despised her for it.

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* CleaningUpRomanticLooseEnds: CleaningUpRomanticLooseEnds
**
Interestingly lampshaded by Dora's death; she herself comments that it's better this way, as she would never have gotten past her silliness and stupidity and David would've eventually despised her for it.it.
** In the same portion of the story, Steerforth's death. Whether or not one considers him a strictly "romantic" interest ([[HavingAGayOldTime David certainly refers to the relationship that way at times]]), he has been enough of a draw for David to keep him from Agnes (which she herself acknowledges), who must now receive David's undivided attention.



* EvenBadMenLoveTheirMamas: Mrs. Heep and her "Ury" are very close; in fact her unconditional worship may have played a part in spoiling his character.

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* EvenBadMenLoveTheirMamas: Mrs. Both Steerforth and Heep and her "Ury" are very close; in fact her have close relationships with their mothers, whom they closely resemble. The women's unconditional worship may of their sons is suggested to have played a part in spoiling his character.the boys' negative development.



* FlowerMotifs: David is rather fond of flowers, and most of the characters around him get compared to one at some point. Most notably, Steerforth's AffectionateNickname for him, "Daisy."
-->'''Steerforth:''' Well drink the daisies of the field, in compliment to you; and the lilies of the valley that toil not, neither do they spin, in compliment to me--the more shame for me!



* GettingCrapPastTheRadar: The novel as a whole is entirely chaste, making no mention of any character's sex life. However, the scene at the end of David's drunken rampage with Steerforth & co is so confusingly structured that at first read, it sounds . . . Well.
-->I stepped at once out of the box-door into my bedroom, where only Steerforth was with me, helping me to undress, and where I was by turns telling him that Agnes was my sister, and adjuring him to bring the corkscrew, that I might open another bottle of wine.\\
How somebody, lying in my bed, lay saying and doing all this over again, at cross purposes, in a feverish dream all night--the bed a rocking sea that was never still! How, as that somebody slowly settled down into myself, did I begin to parch, and feel as if my outer covering of skin were a hard board; my tongue the bottom of an empty kettle, furred with long service, and burning up over a slow fire; the palms of my hands, hot plates of metal which no ice could cool!
* GoodAngelBadAngel: Discussed. David repeatedly refers to Agnes as his "good angel," maintaining that her influence guides him in life. When Agnes learns of this association, she takes the opportunity to warn him against his "bad angel," Steerforth, whom she sees as a corrupting influence. Throughout the book, Agnes and Steerforth are paralleled and contrasted in terms of their relationships to David and linked by the shared metaphor of guiding star.



* HomoeroticSubtext: Because every bro nicknames his younger, starstruck bro "Daisy," right? Right?



* KickTheDog: Oh God, Steerforth kicks pups horribly hard. First, when as a 14-years-old he insults Mr. Mell for trying to do his work and helps Mr. Creakle get him fired. Years later, he seduces David's childhood friend Emily when she's about to get married to her stepbrother/cousin Ham and they run away. And later we find out that he ''[[BastardBoyfriend abuses]]'' her during the time they're together.



* MeaningfulName: It's a safe bet that anyone named 'Murdstone' isn't going be a major fount of human kindness. See also 'Blunderstone', David's hometown, and Heep, used to spectacular effect by Micawber in exposing him. ("You - you - HEEP of infamy!!")

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* MeaningfulName: It's Hoo boy. This is Dickens, so it's reasonable to assume ''every'' name in the story is significant in one way or another.
** "''Copper''field" could very well be
a safe bet that anyone reference to David's socioeconomic status--he is neither gold nor silver, but still one of the legacy metals. Class and class relations are major themes of the novel, and David's own situation is vital to his development, as it affords him mobility and exposure to a wide variety of demographics.
*** The "field" in his name also lends itself to "Daisy," Steerforth's AffectionateNickname for him.
** As Aunt Betsey lampshades repeatedly, no one
named 'Murdstone' isn't "Murdstone" is going to be a major fount of human kindness. See also 'Blunderstone', David's hometown, and Heep, used kindness.
** [[NamesToRunAwayFromReallyFast Uriah Heep]]. Used
to spectacular effect by Micawber in exposing him. ("You him.
--->'''Mr. Micawber:''' You
- you - HEEP of infamy!!")infamy!
** Agnes ''Wick''field is frequently associated with candle and fire imagery. The similarity to David's own surname is also telling.
** Dora is nothing but adorable, and David's relationship with her cannot sustain itself beyond adoration.
** Steerforth's is possibly the most significant and multilayered. He is associated throughout the book with the ocean and navigation, in terms both metaphorical ("Steerforth, you'retheguidingstarofmyexistence!") and practical, leading up to his eventual [[spoiler:watery demise]]. It also refers to his perpetual "steering forth"--always in search of new adventures before the old have been concluded--and the captivating, guiding influence he commands over everyone who encounters him. This last is lampshaded by Steerforth himself, who in a rare moment of depression laments the irony in his situation:
--->'''Steerforth:''' I wish with all my soul I had been better guided! [...] I wish with all my soul I could guide myself better!



* MoralityPet: Steerforth is a cad, but he's usually really nice to David, so if you realize early on, their relationship can seem like this. [[AlternativeCharacterInterpretation Some believe]] that Steerforth hopes David will become his MoralityChain.

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* MoralityPet: David to Steerforth. Steerforth is typically carries on relationships only as long as he believes they will benefit him, yet he seems to manifest a cad, but he's usually really nice genuine attachment to David, so if you realize early on, especially in their relationship can seem like this. [[AlternativeCharacterInterpretation Some believe]] that young adulthood before meeting the Peggottys and Little Em'ly, when Steerforth stands to gain [[HoYay (arguably)]] nothing from the relationship. Indeed, Mrs. Steerforth maintains that "he feels an unusual friendship for you, and ... you may rely on his protection." Some, including Mrs. Steerforth, believe that James hopes David will become his MoralityChain.


Added DiffLines:

* RedEyesTakeWarning: David refers to the villainous Uriah Hero's eyes as red several times, with an ambiguous degree of seriousness.


Added DiffLines:

* WindowsOfTheSoul: Downplayed. The way David describes a new acquaintance's eyes is usually a telling in[[{{Pun}} sight]] into their character.
12th Sep '17 8:31:03 AM XFllo
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* MayDecemberRomance: Several instances, including Wickfield and his late wife, Clara with both David Copperfield Sr. and Mr. Murdstone, Dr. Strong and Annie. Again, a very common RealLife situation in this time period, in which young women were seen as needing the 'protection' of an older, wealthy man.
15th Aug '17 8:29:16 AM SeptimusHeap
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* {{Shotacon}}: Implied with Rosa, who has been working for the Steerforths since their son was a toddler, and has loved him for a very long time.
24th Jul '17 3:33:59 PM jamespolk
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Added DiffLines:

* MatchCut: The 1935 film has a cut from Peggotty patting a weeping Clara to Peggoty soaping up young David.
5th Jun '17 6:11:28 AM XFllo
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* AffectionateGestureToTheHead: When Miss Betsey Trotwood visits David's mother Clara Copperfield, who is very pregnant and very sad over her dead husband, she seems very determined, opinionated, stubborn and almost rude. However, at one moment she gently touched Clara's hair ("she had a fancy that she felt Miss Betsey touch her hair, and that with no ungentle hand"). When Clara had a boy instead of a girl that Miss Betsey had wanted to take care of, she left the little family abruptly. Later in the narrative, David is unsure if Miss Betsey will help him from the evils of child labour and poverty, but he remembers the story (told by his mother and their servant-girl Pegotty) and he keeps thinking particularly about this gesture of kindness, and hopes that Miss Betsey will be kind to him as well.

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* AffectionateGestureToTheHead: AffectionateGestureToTheHead:
**
When Miss Betsey Trotwood visits David's mother Clara Copperfield, who is very pregnant and very sad over her dead husband, she seems very determined, opinionated, stubborn and almost rude. However, at one moment she gently touched Clara's hair ("she had a fancy that she felt Miss Betsey touch her hair, and that with no ungentle hand"). When Clara had a boy instead of a girl that Miss Betsey had wanted to take care of, she left the little family abruptly. Later in the narrative, David is unsure if Miss Betsey will help him from the evils of child labour and poverty, but he remembers the story (told by his mother and their servant-girl Pegotty) and he keeps thinking particularly about this gesture of kindness, and hopes that Miss Betsey will be kind to him as well.well.
---> ''My aunt walked into that story, and walked out of it, a dread and awful personage; but there was one little trait in her behaviour which I liked to dwell on, and which gave me some faint shadow of encouragement. I could not forget how my mother had thought that she felt her touch her pretty hair with no ungentle hand; and though it might have been altogether my mothers fancy, and might have had no foundation whatever in fact, I made a little picture, out of it, of my terrible aunt relenting towards the girlish beauty that I recollected so well and loved so much, which softened the whole narrative.''
** Soon after Mr Murdstone meets little David and his young widowed mother, he pats him on his head, but David dislikes him very much, and dislikes the thought that he is interested in his mother.
5th Jun '17 5:48:11 AM XFllo
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* AdultsAreUseless: David's guardians (save for Peggoty) almost exclusively fall under this, being too childish themselves (Clara Copperfield, Mr. Dick), heartless (the Murdstones, Uriah, Creakle), drunks (Wickfield), or severely in debt (Micawbers). Even kind and capable Aunt Betsey ends up losing all her money and throwing herself on David's doorstep.

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* AdultsAreUseless: David's guardians (save for Peggoty) almost exclusively fall under this, being too childish themselves (Clara Copperfield, Mr. Dick), heartless (the Murdstones, Uriah, Creakle), drunks (Wickfield), or severely in debt (Micawbers). Even kind and capable Aunt Betsey ends up losing all her money and throwing herself on David's doorstep.doorstep.
* AffectionateGestureToTheHead: When Miss Betsey Trotwood visits David's mother Clara Copperfield, who is very pregnant and very sad over her dead husband, she seems very determined, opinionated, stubborn and almost rude. However, at one moment she gently touched Clara's hair ("she had a fancy that she felt Miss Betsey touch her hair, and that with no ungentle hand"). When Clara had a boy instead of a girl that Miss Betsey had wanted to take care of, she left the little family abruptly. Later in the narrative, David is unsure if Miss Betsey will help him from the evils of child labour and poverty, but he remembers the story (told by his mother and their servant-girl Pegotty) and he keeps thinking particularly about this gesture of kindness, and hopes that Miss Betsey will be kind to him as well.
21st May '17 10:45:20 AM nombretomado
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* VictorianBritain
24th Mar '17 5:35:54 PM Shoebox
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Desperate, David runs away, finally reaching a safe haven with his eccentric Aunt Betsey Trotwood - who magnanimously forgives him for not being a girl - and her own... interesting... coterie. It's at this point David meets Uriah Heep, a clerk in the local law office, whose fawning professions of 'umbleness' mask a scheming, vengeful nature. Before long Uriah's well on his way not only to taking over the business but menacing David's [[PuritySue sweet, beautiful best friend]] Agnes Wickfield, the boss' daughter, with a fate worse than death, ie. marriage. Meanwhile, Uriah cheats Aunt Betsey out of her fortune ''just'' as David's fallen hopelessly in love with his boss' daughter Dora. Even Micawber, now Heep's clerk, is acting strangely. Oh, and over in the main subplot, David's oldest and dearest schoolfriend, James Steerforth, is busily seducing and ruining David's childhood sweetheart, little Emily...

to:

Desperate, David runs away, finally reaching a safe haven with his eccentric Aunt Betsey Trotwood - who magnanimously forgives him for not being a girl - and her own... interesting... coterie. It's at this point David meets Uriah Heep, a clerk in the local law office, whose fawning professions of 'umbleness' mask a scheming, vengeful nature. Before long By the time David's graduated high school Uriah's well on his way not only to taking over the business but menacing David's [[PuritySue sweet, beautiful best friend]] Agnes Wickfield, the boss' daughter, with a fate worse than death, ie. plans for their marriage. Meanwhile, In his spare time, Uriah cheats Aunt Betsey out of her fortune ''just'' as David's fallen hopelessly in love with his boss' daughter Dora. Even Micawber, now Heep's clerk, is acting strangely. Oh, and over in the main subplot, David's oldest and dearest schoolfriend, James Steerforth, is busily seducing and ruining David's childhood sweetheart, little Emily...
24th Mar '17 5:34:27 PM Shoebox
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Desperate, David runs away, finally reaching a safe haven with his eccentric Aunt Betsey Trotwood - who magnanimously forgives him for not being a girl - and her own... interesting... coterie. It's at this point David meets Uriah Heep, a scheming clerk in the family law office, whose fawning professions of 'umbleness' mask a villainous, vengeful heart. He worms his way into his boss' confidence to the extent that said boss' daughter, David's [[PuritySue sweet, beautiful best friend]] Agnes Wickfield, is shortly being menaced by a fate worse than death, ie. marriage to the loathsome Heep. Meanwhile, Uriah cheats Aunt Betsey out of her fortune ''just'' as David's fallen hopelessly in love with his boss' daughter Dora. Even Micawber, now Heep's clerk, is acting strangely. Oh, and over in the main subplot, David's oldest and dearest schoolfriend, James Steerforth, is busily seducing and ruining David's childhood sweetheart, little Emily...

to:

Desperate, David runs away, finally reaching a safe haven with his eccentric Aunt Betsey Trotwood - who magnanimously forgives him for not being a girl - and her own... interesting... coterie. It's at this point David meets Uriah Heep, a scheming clerk in the family local law office, whose fawning professions of 'umbleness' mask a villainous, scheming, vengeful heart. He worms nature. Before long Uriah's well on his way into his boss' confidence not only to taking over the extent that said boss' daughter, business but menacing David's [[PuritySue sweet, beautiful best friend]] Agnes Wickfield, is shortly being menaced by the boss' daughter, with a fate worse than death, ie. marriage to the loathsome Heep.marriage. Meanwhile, Uriah cheats Aunt Betsey out of her fortune ''just'' as David's fallen hopelessly in love with his boss' daughter Dora. Even Micawber, now Heep's clerk, is acting strangely. Oh, and over in the main subplot, David's oldest and dearest schoolfriend, James Steerforth, is busily seducing and ruining David's childhood sweetheart, little Emily...
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