David Copperfield by Charles Dickens
My rating: 5 of 5 stars
I am re-reading this as part of my refresher course in Dickens. This has always been on of my favorites, but this time I am paying especial attention to Dickens use of language to create a mood or define a character.
I thoroughly enjoyed this once again. Each time I read it, I catch more things that I missed. There are so many characters in this book that are so clear and well drawn, that it hardly seems possible they really didn't exist. Mr. Micawber is one of my favorites as well as Betsy Trotwood and the world would be a bit better if there were more Agnes' in it.
On the negative side, we have a cast of characters we love to hate beginning and ending with Uriah Heep. He is so despicable that we wonder that he ever fools anyone, but he does. His name is like an adjective for me, describing my feelings about people I have met. One need only compare the person to Heep and any person who has read this book will know exactly what the villein's personality is like.
To me Steerforth is the most interesting character in the book. One of my pet peeves is when writers, especially mystery writers, have a character turn out to be a villain in the last chapter of the book when there was no hint of it in the character's previous behavior. A clear example is the villain in Angels and Demons by Dan Brown. In Steerforth, we find hints being given all through the book as to his true character. In this, he reminds me of many politicians who fall from grace. I distinctly remember when scandals about the then Governor Bill Clinton were being reported during the election. Countless editorials put forth the notion that what he did in private had nothing to do with the way he would conduct himself as president. Four years later our government seemed to come to a screeching halt while those troubles pervaded everything he did. Just about any person who watches the news or reads a paper can give a list of politicians and businessmen who fall from grace. As we read their backgrounds, we find that the disgrace did not come out of nowhere and that there were hints all along. Dickens gives us a Steerforth who is callous, does not admit the rights of others to guide his actions. His early actions show that he lacks a conscience, and the troubled relationship with his mother shows exactly how it has been nurtured.
This is an excellent books and well deserves a reading every decade at least.
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