Charles Dickens: David CopperfieldTHE PLOT of David CopperfieldDavid Copperfield concerns the growing-up of a boy, who, orphaned at an early age, experiences considerable hardship. He is ill-treated by his stepfather, Mr. Murdstone, then forced to work under appalling conditions in a London warehouse. This is a marked contrast to his idyllic early childhood, before the re-marriage and death of his gentle mother. David's life improves greatly when he runs away from his job to seek out his Aunt, Betsey Trotwood. She sends him to school and arranges for him to board with kindly lawyer, Mr. Wickfield, whose daughter, Agnes, proves to be a good friend to David. Once his education is completed, David is articled in law and meets Dora, whom he loves passionately and marries. The main action of the plot concerns Mr. Wickfield's clerk, Uriah Heep, who is both ambitious and malicious. Heep secretly plots him employer's riun. Once his wicked schemes are exposed, it only remains for David, now an accomplished writer, to find truE fulfilment. When Dora dies, David turns to Agnes for comfort. She has quietly loved him all along and, by the end of the book, David has matured enough to return her love. Chapter Summary By Poppy EdmundsCHAPTER 1 – I AM BORNDavid Copperfield is born (delivered by Mr Chillip. It tells of how his father died when Clara, his mother, was 6 months pregnant with him. David's father's aunt (Betsey Trotwood) arrives when he is being born. She leaves when it is announced that the baby is a boy. Peggotty, the housemaid is happy. CHAPTER 2 – I OBSERVEClara Copperfield is out with Mr Murdstone, and David speaks to Peggotty about marriage. She says she is quite happy single. Clara Copperfield returns with Murdstone and Copperfield takes an instant dislike to him. CHAPTER 3 – I HAVE A CHANGECopperfield goes to Peggotty’s brother’s house to stay in Yarmouth. He falls in love with Emily. (Mr Peggotty’s niece). They return home after 2 weeks, to find Clara Copperfield married to Murdstone and his sister living there too. CHAPTER 4 – I FALL INTO DISGRACEAfter failing to successfully complete some lessons, Copperfield is whipped and he bites a hole in Murdstone’s arm. He then is locked in his room for 5 days. Murdstone complains that Clara Copperfield is too weak. CHAPTER 5 – I AM SENT AWAY FROM HOMECopperfield is extremely upset when he is sent away to school. (He learns that he has been sent early as a punishment). Mr Mell looks after him until the other pupils arrive. However, he is made to wear a plaque on his back, which reads Take Care of Him, He Bites. Mr Creakle, the headmaster, is extremely nasty and violent. CHAPTER 6 – I ENLARGE MY CIRCLE OF ACQAINTANCEThe other pupils arrive at the school and he meets an extremely sympathetic boy, 6 years older than him, named Steerforth. CHAPTER 7 – MY ‘FIRST HALF’ AT SALEM HOUSEThe term begins and he gets flogged once, but enjoys himself. CHAPTER 8 – MY HOLIDAYS. ESPECIALLY ONE HAPPY AFTERNOONCopperfield arrives home for the holidays when Mr and Miss Murdstone are away for the day. Clara Copperfield is holding a baby boy, Edward Murdstone. She is very pleased to see him, so is Peggotty. They ate ‘like the old days’. Copperfield goes to bed and in the morning he apologises to Murdstone, who accepts his apology. Copperfield welcomes his baby brother. CHAPTER 9 – I HAVE A MEMORABLE BIRTHDAYOn his birthday, Mr Sharp goes to Copperfield to tell him that someone wants to see him. He is very excited and expects it to be Peggotty, but it is Mr and Mrs Creakle. Mrs Creakle tells Copperfield that his has died, as well as the baby. Copperfield is taken to a shop, Mr Omer’s, where he is fitted with mourning clothes and sent to live at home. They have the funeral. Peggotty tells Copperfield of how his mother knew she was dying. CHAPTER 10 – I BECOME NEGLECTED, AND AM PROVIDED FORPeggotty is given a month’s notice, and so she decides to stay with Mr Peggotty, Emily and Ham once this time is up. Peggotty says that whatever happens to Copperfield, she will be there for him. Peggotty and Mr Barkis (coach driver) get married. Copperfield is told that he is to go to work in London. CHAPTER 11 – I BEGIN LIFE ON MY OWN ACCOUNT, AND I DON’T LIKE ITCopperfield has to work at Murdstone and Grinby’s warehouse by the waterside. The warehouse is ‘literally overrun by rats’. The business is the supply of wines and spirits to certain packet ships. Copperfield has to wash bottles and then glue the labels on, for 6 shillings a week. Mr Micawber tells Copperfield that he is to stay with them as a lodger (because they owe a lot of money). Copperfield writes to Peggotty many times but doesn’t want her to know the truth about his job. Micawber is arrested and sent to King’s Bench (debtors) Prison. Copperfield visits him. Captain Hopkins complains about debtor’s prisons and this allows Micawber and some others to be freed. CHAPTER 12 – LIKING LIFE ON MY OWN ACCOUNT NO BETTER, I FORM A GREAT RESOLUTIONAfter Micawber is set free, they decide to start a new life in Plymouth. Copperfield goes to live with Tipp (work mate), but later decides that he wants to find and live with Betsey Trotwood in Dover. Copperfield asks someone to move his trunk to a coach, but he steals it, and his money, threatening to go to the police and report a runaway. CHAPTER 13 – THE SEQUEL OF MY RESOLUTIONOn the way to Dover, Copperfield sells his waistcoat and jacket for money to buy food. He walks all the way to Dover to see his aunt. Once Copperfield explains the situation, she seemed nice and welcoming. CHAPTER 14 – MY AUNT MAKES HER MIND UP ABOUT MEBetsey Trotwood writes a letter to Murdstone telling him where Copperfield is. Mr and Miss Murdstone come to collect him, but Betsey Trotwood says that she wants to take care of him. Betsey Trotwood tells Copperfield that he is her adoptive son and change his name to David Trotwood Copperfield. CHAPTER 15 – I MAKE ANOTHER BEGINNING Mr Dick (Betsey Trotwood’s lodger) and Copperfield become good friends. Copperfield’s aunt decides that Copperfield is to go to school in Canterbury. He stays with Mr Wickfield, a lawyer, and his daughter and housemaid, Agnes. Uriah Heep is Wickfield’s clerk. CHAPTER 16 – I AM A NEW BOY IN MORE SENSES THAN ONECopperfield meets his new headmaster, Dr Strong. Mr Jack Maldon, Annie’s cousin, (Annie is Dr Strong’s young wife) has a going away party. He is going to India. CHAPTER 17 – SOMEBODY TURNS UPA person is hanging around Betsey Trotwood’s house and frightening her. Copperfield has tea with Heep and his mother, who claim that they are ‘much too umble’. While they are having tea, Micawber walks past and tells him that the reason they couldn’t get to Plymouth is because of the Custom Office. Micawber is introduced to the Heeps. Later on, Copperfield has a party with them, which is fun. The next day, Copperfield receives a letter from Micawber saying that he has no money and that the house in London is too be demolished. CHAPTER 18 – A RETROSPECTCopperfield is made head boy. CHAPTER 19 – I LOOK ABOUT ME, AND MAKE A DISCOVERYCopperfield leaves school, but can’t decide what he wants to do, so his aunt suggests he goes to see Peggotty. Before he leaves, the people that he knows in Canterbury have a leaving party for him. Agnes asks Copperfield whether he has noticed anything odd about her father’s behaviour. Copperfield says yes. On the way to stay with Peggotty, Copperfield stays in a hotel overnight and meets up with Steerforth. They are both overjoyed. CHAPTER 20 – STEERFORTH’S HOMEAt breakfast the next day, Steerforth offered him to stay for one or two days at his house. Then he shows him the sights. Living with Steerforth is his mother, and her friend, Miss Rosa Dartle. She has a scar on her chin, which Steerforth later confesses that he did to her when he was younger by throwing a hammer at her. CHAPTER 21 – LITTLE EM’LYSteerforth says that he wishes to come with Copperfield to Yarmouth. In Yarmouth, Steerforth and Copperfield stop to visit Peggotty and Barkis. Barkis is very rheumatic now. They also see Mrs Gummidge, Mr Peggotty, Emily, and Ham. On the night they arrive, they are having an engagement party for Emily and Ham. CHAPTER 22 – SOME OLD SCENES, AND SOME NEW PEOPLECopperfield visits Blunderstone Rookery (his old home) quite a few times to think about his past. Steerforth buys a boat for Mr Peggotty to look after. Littimer, Steerforth manservant, arrives and tells them that Miss Mowcher was in the area. She is a fat beautician. A woman named Martha finds Emily to ask her for some money and saying that she is very poor. (She used to work with Emily at Mr Omer’s shop). Emily apologises for being an awful wife. CHAPTER 23 – I CORROBORATE MR DICK, AND CHOOSE A PROFESSION Steerforth and Copperfield leave Yarmouth. Steerforth goes home, after Copperfield receives a ...
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