Wednesday, November 11, 2020

Review of David Copperfield by Charles Dickens

This review was written by Eugene Kernes

Book can be found in:
Genre = Novel
Intriguing Connections = Tales of Growing Up

Elaborate Description

A tale of a boy forced to grow up early. This book is meant to be a journal of boys’ more youthful days. The boy, David Copperfield, who has many names, explains how he grew up. Following the journey of life, Dickens writes a bildungsroman. With a very turbulent life, this book shows how David was able to struggle through various events.

This book was originally a series. The more Dickens wrote provided for input and feedback from others. The latter chapters were changed or inspired from real situations and people writing to Dickens. Some of the feedback provided for exemplar lessons, although lessons are sporadic and few. There are 3 major lessons, and can be described as themes. One lesson is that appearances and morality are not a match. In reality, people often do judge morality and trust based on appearances, while the way people look and their potential decisions make are not correlated. Another lesson is that investing in others derives a positive payoff. A patron makes an investment into someone, and when the patron becomes destitute due to misfortune, the person who they invested in can help. The last major lesson is the need to understanding others and adaption to others needs. Making the individual happy by trying to change other has limits as it can cause the other to be very miserable.

The writing of this book makes it less a more difficult read. There are a variety of issues causing the reader to get lost in understanding the events provided. The age of David Copperfield is sometimes a mystery. There are moments when the passage of time is specified and age is proved, but many events have explanations and settings that making it seem that David is far older than the actual age. The time change is not only in question but the description of the events is one sided, partly because this is a journal from one perspective but also by the different clarity of memory. Usually, the situation is described by the conversations of others, while only providing a synopsis of what David could have said. It is odd that David remembers others’ conversations clear but not his own input. A final difficulty is that the transitions between events and the points of reference in the events are not always clear. This creates the problem of just leaving the reader to follow the story rather than also think about potential consequences, opportunities, and ways to untangle the events.

What makes this book different than others is that much of this book has unexpected events. Very little foreshadowing, and the little foreshadowing there was had unexpected outcome. The variety of characters and their interactions made for very clever situations.

Book Details

Edition ISBN:  9781411432055
Pages to read:   923
Publication:     2003
1st Edition:      1850
Format:            eBook

Ratings out of 5:
Readability    3
Content          1
Overall           1