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A Man Named Dave Summary. New Garden Design. He was beaten with a broom, with a dog chain, and with her fists, and he was burned with the stove and stabbed in the chest. After several years of enduring this torture at the hands of his mother, Pelzer is rescued by teachers and social workers, and placed into a series of foster homes where he blossoms. While he finds some measure of success in his role within the Air Force, his upbringing has left Pelzer incredibly damaged.
He lacks social skills as a result of his isolation. He struggles to make friends. He suffers from nightmares, waking up in his place in the barracks screaming. Several years progress this way, at which time Pelzer learns that his father is in the hospital, dying of cancer.
Dave Pelzer? Pelzer has hardly seen his father since entering foster care and arrives to visit mere days before his father passes away. Pelzer had made plans to save money to download a home to share with his father who was never involved with the abuse because he was dealing with his own issues and alcoholism. With his father now gone, Pelzer feels that he has lost his sense of purpose. What Pelzer does have, however, is an unbreakable will and drive to survive.
He stays in the Air Force for a while, changing jobs, and transferring back to California. He moves off base for the first time, into a nearby apartment, and meets Patsy, a woman in his building who pursues him. He is condescending of other social classes, a snob who unhesitatingly takes advantage of his younger friends and uses his mother's influence, going so far as to get Mr Mell dismissed from the school because Mell's mother lives in almshouse.
Although he grows into a charming and handsome young man, he proves to be lacking in character when he seduces and later abandons Little Em'ly. He eventually drowns at Yarmouth in a fierce storm at sea, washing up on the shore after the merchant ship breaks totally apart. Tommy Traddles — David's friend from Salem House. Traddles is one of the few boys who does not trust Steerforth and is notable for drawing skeletons on his slate to cheer himself up with the macabre thought that his predicaments are only temporary.
They meet again later and become lifelong friends.
Traddles works hard but faces great obstacles because of his lack of money and connections. He succeeds n making a name and a career for himself, becoming a Judge and marrying his true love, Sophy. Wilkins Micawber — A melodramatic, kind-hearted gentleman who has a way with words and eternal optimism. He befriends David as a young boy in London, taking him as a lodger. Micawber suffers from financial difficulty and spends time in a debtors' prison before moving his family briefly to Plymouth.
Micawber meets David again, passing by the Heep household in Canterbury when David is taking tea there. Micawber takes a position at Wickford and Heep. Thinking Micawber is weak-minded, Heep makes him an accomplice in several of his schemes, but Micawber turns the tables on his employer and is instrumental in his downfall.
Micawber emigrates to Australia, where he enjoys a successful career as a sheep farmer and becomes a magistrate. She comes from a moneyed family who disapprove of her husband, but she constantly protests that she will "never leave Micawber! His madness is amply described; he claims to have the "trouble" of King Charles I in his head. He is fond of making gigantic kites and tries to write a "Memorial" but is unable to focus and finish it. Despite his limitations, Dick is able to see issues with a certain clarity.
He proves to be not only a kind and loyal friend but also demonstrates a keen emotional intelligence, particularly when he helps Dr and Mrs Strong through a marriage crisis.
He feels guilty that, through his love, he has hurt his daughter by keeping her too close to himself. This sense of guilt leads him to drink. His apprentice Uriah Heep uses the information to lead Mr Wickfield down a slippery slope, encouraging the alcoholism and feelings of guilt, and eventually convincing him that he has committed improprieties while inebriated, and blackmailing him.
He is saved by Mr Micawber, and his friends consider him to have become a better man through the experience. Agnes Wickfield — Mr Wickfield's mature and lovely daughter and close friend of David since he began school at Dr Strong's in Canterbury. Agnes nurtures an unrequited love for David for many years but never tells him, helping and advising him through his infatuation with, and marriage to, Dora. After David returns to England, he realises his feelings for her, and she becomes David's second wife and mother of their children.
Uriah Heep — The main antagonist of the novel's second half, Heep serves first as clerk from age 11 or 12, at age 15 he meets Copperfield and a few years later becomes partner to Mr Wickfield.
He presents himself as self-deprecating and talks of being "umble", but gradually reveals his wicked and twisted character. He gains power over Wickfield but is exposed by Wilkins Micawber and Traddles, who have gathered evidence that Uriah committed multiple acts of fraud.
By forging Mr Wickfield's signature, he has misappropriated the personal wealth of the Wickfield family, together with portfolios entrusted to them by others, including funds belonging to Betsey Trotwood.
He fools Wickfield into thinking he has himself committed this act while drunk, and then blackmailed him. Heep is defeated but not prosecuted. He is later imprisoned for a separate fraud on the Bank of England. He nurtures a deep hatred of David Copperfield and of many others, though in some ways he is a mirror to David, wanting to get ahead and to marry the boss's daughter.
Mrs Heep — Uriah's mother, who is as sycophantic as her son. She has instilled in him his lifelong tactic of pretending to be subservient to achieve his goals, and even as his schemes fall apart she begs him to save himself by "being 'umble.
Dr Strong's main concern is to work on his Greek dictionary, where, at the end of the novel, he has reached the letter D. The Doctor is 62 when David meets him, and married about a year to Annie, considerably younger than her husband. In this happy loving couple, each one cares more about the other than of himself. The depth of their feeling allows them to defeat the efforts of Uriah Heep in trying to break their union.
Jack Maldon — A cousin and childhood sweetheart of Annie Strong. He continues to bear affection for her and assunes she will leave Dr Strong for him.
Instead, Dr Strong helps Maldon financially and in finding a position. He is charming, and after his time in India, he ends up in London society, married to Julia Mills, friend of Dora who assisted in the romance with David.
They live a life that seems empty to the adult David Copperfield. Mrs Markleham- Annie's mother, nicknamed "The Old Soldier" by her husband's students for her stubbornness. She tries to take pecuniary advantage of her son-in-law Dr Strong in every way possible, to Annie's sorrow. Mrs Steerforth — The wealthy widowed mother of James Steerforth. She dotes on her son to the point of being completely blind to his faults. When Steerforth disgraces his family and the Peggottys by running off with Em'ly, Mrs Steerforth blames Em'ly for corrupting her son, rather than accept that James has disgraced an innocent girl.
The news of her son's death destroys her. She lives on, but she never recovers from the shock. Rosa Dartle — Steerforth's cousin, a bitter, sarcastic spinster who lives with Mrs Steerforth. She is secretly in love with Steerforth and blames others such as Emily and Steerforth's mother for corrupting him. She is described as being thin and displays a visible scar on her lip caused by Steerforth in one of his violent rages as a child.
He dies suddenly of a heart attack while driving his phaeton home. After his death, it is revealed that he is heavily in debt, and left no will. Dora Spenlow — The adorable daughter of Mr Spenlow who becomes David's first wife after a long courtship. She is described as being impractical and has many similarities to David's mother.
In their first year of marriage, David learns their differences as to keeping a house in order. Dora does not learn firmness, but remains herself, affectionate with David and attached to her lapdog, Jip. She is not unaware of their differences, and asks David, whom she calls "Doady", to think of her as a "child wife". She suffers a miscarriage, which begins a long illness from which she dies with Agnes Wickfield at her side.
Littimer — Steerforth's obsequious valet, who is instrumental in aiding his seduction of Emily. Littimer is always polite and correct but his condescending manner intimidates David, who always feels as if Littimer is reminding him how young he is. He later winds up in prison for embezzlement, and his manners allow him to con his way to the stature of Model Prisoner in Creakle's establishment. Miss Mowcher — a dwarf and Steerforth's hairdresser. Though she participates in Steerforth's circle as a witty and glib gossip, she is strong against the discomfort others might feel associated with her dwarfism.
She is later instrumental in Littimer's arrest. Mr Mell — A poor teacher at Salem House. He takes David to Salem House and is the only adult there who is kind to him. His mother lives in a workhouse, and Mell supports her with his wages.
When Steerforth discovers this information from David, he uses it to get Creakle to fire Mell. Sophy Crewler — One of a family of ten daughters, Sophy runs the household and takes care of all her sisters. She and Traddles are engaged to be married, but her family has made Sophy so indispensable that they are do not want her to part from them with Traddles.
The pair do eventually marry and settle down happily, and Sophy proves to be an invaluable aid in Traddles's legal career, while still helping her sisters. He looks weak, both in health and character; his head seems to be very heavy for him; he walks on one side, and has a big nose. Mr Jorkins — The rarely seen partner of Mr Spenlow.
Spenlow uses him as a scapegoat for any unpopular decision he chooses to make, painting Jorkins as an inflexible tyrant, but Jorkins is, in fact, a meek and timid nonentity who, when confronted, takes the same tack by blaming his inability to act on Mr Spenlow. Autobiographical novel[ edit ] Fragments of autobiography[ edit ] Between and , Dickens wrote fragments of autobiography excerpts of which he showed to his wife and John Forster.
Then in he made an attempt at revising it. This was a failure because, as he tells his first love Maria Beadnell now Mrs Winter , when he began dealing with his youthful love for her, "I lost courage and burned the rest". Proof of this is found in the eleventh chapter of the novel: "I begin Life on my own Account and don't like it", where the story of Dickens' experience at the Warren Shoe Factory are almost verbatim with the only change, " Mr Micawber " instead of "my father".
The autobiographical dimension[ edit ] If David Copperfield has come to be Dickens's "darling", it is because it is the most autobiographical of all his novels. As pointed out by his biographer and friend John Forster, these episodes are essentially factual: the description of forced labor to which David is subjected at Murdstone and Grinby reproduces verbatim the autobiographical fragments entrusted to his friend; David's fascination with Dora Spenlow is similar to that inspired by the capricious Maria; the major stages of his career, from his apprenticeship at Doctors' Commons to writing his first novel, via the shorthand reporting of parliamentary procedures, also follow those of its creator.
The cruel Mr Murdstone is very different from the real James Lamert, cousin to Dickens, being the stepson of Mrs Dickens's mother's sister, who lived with the family in Chatham and Camden Town , and who had found for the young Charles the place of tagger in the shoe factory he managed for his brother-in-law George. Contrary to Charles's frustrated love for Maria Beadnell, who pushed him back in front of his parents' opposition, David, in the novel, marries Dora Spenlow and, with satisfaction ex post facto, writes Paul Davis, virtually "kills" the recalcitrant stepfather.
David's natural modesty alone does not explain all these changes; Paul Davis expresses the opinion that Dickens recounts his life as he would have liked it, and along with "conscious artistry", Dickens knows how to borrow data, integrate them to his original purpose and transform them according to the novelistic necessities, so that "In the end, Copperfield is David's autobiography, not Dickens's".
According to Andrew Sanders, David Copperfield reflects both types of response, which give this novel the privileged position of representing the hinge of the century. Dickens's youthful passion for Maria Beadnell resurfaces with tenderness, in the form of David's impractical marriage with Dora Spenlow.
And Dickens's decision to make David a novelist emphasises how he used this book to re-invented himself as a man and artist: "The world would not take another Pickwick from me, but we can be cheerful and merry, and with a little more purpose in us". Unlike Thackeray, who adored it, Dickens claims years later to have never read it.
A rivalry existed between these two major writers, though it preoccupied Thackeray more than Dickens. But the most direct literary influence is "obviously Carlyle"  who, in a lecture given in , the year of his meeting with Dickens, on "On Heroes, Hero-Worship", and "the Heroic in History",  claims that the most important modern character is "the hero as a man of letters".
Lemon was a founding editor of the same Punch, and soon a contributor to Household Words , the weekly magazine Dickens was starting up; he co-authored Mr Nightingale's Diary, a farce, with Dickens in Per Forster, Dickens refers to Fielding "as a kind of homage to the novel he was about to write".
No general plan, but an inspired novel[ edit ] Charles I whose decapitation is the obsession of Mr Dick. Contrary to the method previously used for Dombey and Son , Dickens did not elaborate an overall plan and often wrote the summary of a chapter after completing it. Four character names were found at the last moment: Traddles, Barkis, Creakle and Steerforth;  the profession of David remains uncertain until the eighth issue printed in December , containing Chapters 22—24, in which David chooses to be trained as a proctor ; and Paul Schlicke notes that the future of Dora was still not determined on 17 May when 37 chapters had been published in the first 12 monthly instalments.
Other major aspects of the novel, however, were immediately fixed, such as David's meeting with Aunt Betsey, Emily's fall or Agnes's role as the "real" heroine of the story. Never, it seems, was he in the grip of failures of inspiration, so "ardent [is his] sympathy with the creatures of the fancy which always made real to him their sufferings or sorrows.
This theme was originally "a bull in a china shop" and became "King Charles's head" in a nod to the bicentenary of the execution of Charles I of England.
This daunting task, however, did not seem to slow down the writing of David Copperfield: I am "busy as a bee", he writes happily to the actor William Macready. A coincidence for the character's fate?
The baby died nine months later after the last serial was issued and the book was published, and Dora Copperfield remained forever a woman-child. I seem to be sending some part of myself into the Shadowy World. It begins, like other novels by Dickens, with a rather bleak painting of the conditions of childhood in Victorian England, notoriously when the troublesome children are parked in infamous boarding schools, then he strives to trace the slow social and intimate ascent of a young man who, painfully providing for the needs of his good aunt while continuing his studies, ends up becoming a writer: the story, writes Paul Davis, of "a Victorian everyman seeking self-understanding".
The last instalment was a double-number. Point of view[ edit ] Whatever the borrowings from Dickens's own life, the reader knows as an essential precondition, that David Copperfield is a novel and not an autobiography ; a work with fictional events and characters—including the hero-narrator—who are creations of Dickens' imagination.
First person narrator[ edit ] The use of the first person determines the point of view: the narrator Copperfield, is a recognised writer, married to Agnes for more than ten years, who has decided to speak in public about his past life. This recreation, in itself an important act, can only be partial and also biased, since, a priori , Copperfield is the only viewpoint and the only voice; not enjoying the prerogatives of the third person, omnipotence, ubiquity, clairvoyance, he relates only what he witnessed or participated in:  all the characters appear in his presence or, failing that, he learns through hearsay, before being subjected to his pen through the prism of his conscience, deformed by the natural deficit of his perception and accentuated by the selective filter of memory.
His point of view is that of the adult he has become, as he expresses himself just as he is writing.
I smell the fog that hung about the place; I see the hoar-frost, ghostly, through it; I feel my rimy hair fall clammy on my cheek; I look along the dim perspective of the schoolroom, with a sputtering candle here and there to light up the foggy morning, and the breath of the boys wreathing and smoking in the raw cold as they blow upon their fingers, and rap their feet upon the floor.
It adds to his point of view, directly or indirectly, that of the author, without there necessarily being total match between the two.
As such, Copperfield serves as "medium", mirror and also screen, Dickens sometimes subverting his speech to get to the forefront or, on the contrary, hide behind this elegant delegate to the nimble pen. Dickens' voice, however, is in general well concealed and, according to Gareth Cordery, the most difficult to detect because mostly present by implication. For example, in chapter 21, the two friends arrive by surprise at the Peggotty home, and Copperfield presents Steerforth to Emily at the very moment when her betrothal with Ham has just been announced.
This sudden intrusion stops the girl as she has just jumped from Ham's arms to nestle in those of Mr Peggotty, a sign, says Cordery in passing, that the promise of marriage is as much for the uncle as for the nephew. The text remains brief but Phiz interprets, anticipates the events, denounces even the future guilt of Copperfield: all eyes are on the girl, her bonnet, emblem of her social aspirations and her next wanderings with Steerforth, is ready to be seized.
Copperfield, dressed as a gentleman, stands in the doorway, one finger pointing at Steerforth who is taller by one head, the other measuring the gap between Ham and Dan Peggotty, as if offering Emily to his friend.
Emily, meanwhile, still has her head turned to Ham but the body is withdrawn and the look has become both challenging and provocative. Phiz brings together in a single image a whole bunch of unwritten information, which Dickens approved and probably even suggested.