Bihar Board Class 12th English David Copperfield Important Questions
Give a detailed account of the childhood of David Copperfield.
The childhood of David Copperfield is a story of great pain and hardship, of loss of mother and home and of such scars on mind and heart that cannot be erased.
Born posthumously, David’s only support was his affectionate mother who brought him up with great care. This bliss was short-lived. David’s mother, Clara, married one Mr. Murdstone who, in a very planned manner, created distance between the boy and the mother.
Mr. Murdstone, first of all, struck terror in the mind of David by threatening him with his use of slick. His next step was to deprive Clara of the right of running her household by inviting his sister Miss Murdstone and handing over all the charge to her.
David’s mother had earlier tried to teach the boy kindly with the result that he learnt his lessons quickly. But the same boy was so frightened by die mere presence of Mr. Murdstone and his sister that he made mistakes again and again. In order to teach firmness to Clara which was merely a pretext of isolating the boy Mr. Murdstone not only thrashed David But locked him up inside a room to which Clara was not permitted access. David remained in this position for a couple of days from where he was taken directly to a school in London.
The school Salem House did not have a proper academic character. The boys were noisy, indisciplined and completely lacking in interest in studies. The headmaster Mr. Creakle was a thoughtless person who indulged in favouritism in order to maintain a semblance of order in the institution. Steerforth, the bully of the school, incidentally became friendly to David and he was spared the hardship that other students suffered.
On his return from the school during vacations David found the atmosphere of his home even more sickly. His mother had a baby boy by then; but she had withdrawn herself entirely from every affair. David maintained a sullen silence. He could not stay for long is school as he was called to attend the funeral services of his mother who died in great misery. Mr. Murdstone did not like David to go back to his school.
He rather sent him by a factory where there were many child workers like him. David worked hard in the beginning and learnt to live independently. An important gain of this period was David’s friendship with Mr. Micawber, another factory worker whose life of poverty, bankruptcy and eventual imprisonment grade Alcides impression on the growing boy. But the conditions in the factory deteriorated and he decided to approach his great aunt, Betsy Trotwood.
These bitter experiences, however, made David conscious of the value of education and hard work. It helped him rise steadily once he let himself be guided by his great – aunt. The boy who was acutely deprived of love grew up ‘ to be a man who gave his love to all who were in need.
Discuss David Copperfield as a novel of child psychology.
It is quite appropriate to view David Copperfield35 a novel of child psychology as the first part of the novel of child psychology as the first part of the novel certainly gives a detailed account of the mind and emotions of David Copper field. But is should also be noted that Charles Dickens makes these details fit into the picture of the lower middle class to which David Copperfield belongs.
In file beginning, we notice the strong attachment of David to his mother. The latter takes great care of him; it is she who is teacher as well as his nurse. Under the guidance of his mother, David makes great progress in his studies. In fact, his progress in linked as a whole to the moral support of his mother and her trust in his abilities. The entry of Mr Murdstone changes this pace of progress.
In his presence David becomes absent-minded; he cannot say his lessons properly. The result is that he starts going back in his studies, learning of a child can never be a mechanical activity. It must have a sense of purpose and these should be perfect trust between the teacher and the taught.
Lack of affection can make a child sullen and pervert. This is seen in Mr Murdstone’s treatment of David- The farmer, in his attempt to terrorize the latter, only creates a indignation in him. David would rather be thrashed than he would obey Mr Murdstone.
At school also David does hot get a favourable atmosphere-from the headmaster to the senior students^ they all bully him. His attachment to Steerforth shows David’s search for protection. Later on, he inspires total confidence in Steerforth with whom therefore he strikes a bound of friendship.
David’s nobility and gentleness are revealed in his relations with domestic. He never bothers them in any way; so they play with him and become found of him. As a child labourer, David cuts a pathetic figure. But he is heard-working and realistic. Moreover, he is gifted with a high sense of self-respect that prompts him to better his fortune by seeking help from his greataunt.
Charles Dickens thus lets us have an insight into the mind of a growing child, a prisoner of circumstance, who retains his playfulness and good humour and thrives because of them.
Give an account of the school that David Copper field attended.
While even the best of schools strike fear in a child when he attends it for the first few days Salem House, the school David Copper field went to was a source of night mare through out his brief stay. From the shabby building to the teachers and students who inhabited it, everything. created a feeling of disgust – a feeling that could not have been conducive to a schedule of study.
When David entered it he found it virtually vacant, the students having not returned from holidays and the headmaster being away at sea. The classroom gave a foul smell and its walls were stained with ink.
For a few days David lived there only in the company of Mr, Mell, a school leader of peculiar habits. He was a pitiable creature, poor and utterly lacking in qualities that make a teacher. He employed his time in writing or in playing sad tunes on his whistle. The company of such a weird person only made David more melancholic.
One evening at last David was summoned by Mr. Creakle who said that he knew Mr. Murdstone as a man of character and he also knew that David was used to biting people. His use of the term character only showed his perverted nature, and his reference to Mr. Murdstone’s allegation against David showed his prejudice Needless to say, this interview only excited terror in the heart of David.
In a few days, the school hummed with life on return of the boys. David clearly remembered Tommy Traddles and J. Steerforth – the two boys having two entirely different dispositions. Traddles was weak and nervous; Steerforth was strong and had a bullying tendency.
By sharing the money that he had Davids truck friendship with Steerforth became his protector. This Steerforth even ill-treated his traders. He abused Mr. Mell and called him a beggar and the latter was’dismissed by Mr. Creakle on instigation by Steerforth.
David did learn a few things. But he did not have a pleasant experience of any teacher. Mr. Creakle, the headmaster, appeared to be a frustrated person who beat the boys not to reform them but simply to create fear in them.
Naturally, all this factual narration of a school by Charles Dickens has a purpose. He wished to make his readers aware of the condition of schools that were founded merely by a motive of earning profite. There the quality of teachers was very poor. The teachers neither taught efficiently nor could they maintain discipline. Students who turned out from such institutions could never cultivate the qualities that make a responsible citizen.
Describe Dickens as a social reformer.
“In David Copperfield, we find the picture of Victorian society.” Discuss
Dickens was “that rare type of reformer who could moralise with a smile on his lips, and mix his sermonic powers in such excellent jam that his contemporaries did not realise for a while that he was doctoring them for their good.” Discuss.
Like GB. Shaw, Dickens is not a propagandist. Nor is he a professional ” social reformer. Whatever social reforming zeal is found in his works is the novelist’s zeal to present evil existing in the society. His suggestions for the removal of those evils are also the gifts of an artist or novelist.
Actually Dickens is primarily a great story-teller and entertainer. His popularity in his own age and even today rests on his achievements as a great entertainer. He has no delibrate intentions of preaching any maxims from the pulpit. His main concern in writing his novels is to cater to the demands and expectations of the reading public of his day, and keep it interested in his novels.
So as to make the readers wait anxiously for the next issue of the narrative, thereby enhancing his saies. Dickens is a typical Victorian. He has been affected by the dominant features , of the contemporary society. He has seen the social, political, economic and educational drawbacks of the Victorian society and has raised his voice against them through the medium of humour and satire.
He does not fire shots at his society directly, but he does it with a smile on his lips. He tries his best to grouse the public conscience to the evil ramparts so that healthy reforms can be introduced. He does not believe in the effectiveness of legal machinery. He realises that no real improvement can be introduced through parliamentry legislation.
The public itself must be aware of the defects and the need to try and get out of them. His aim is to present all the weaknesses of the Victorian society through his novels.
Dickens is a great humanitarian. He harnesses his pen for the amelioration of the miserable and pathetic conditions of the poor factory workers, little children groaning under the whips of tyrannical school-masters, litigants moving about law courts without getting any justice and prisoners subjected 1 to the hardships of rigorous prison life.
In his novel, Dickens tries to reform his society by satirising the injustice of the poor laws, delays in administration of justice, the cruelties of school-masters and imprisonment for debts and so on.
Thus, we can say that Dickens is a great social reformer. He has exposed the drawbacks and evils of the Victorian society. His merit as a social reformer lies in the fact that he can moralise with a smile on his lips and mix his sermonic powers in such excellent jam, that his contemporaries do not realise for a while that he is doctoring them for their good. ‘
Write a note on the autobiographical element in Dickens’ novel David Copperfield.
“The pen that wrote David Copperfield was after dipped in its own blood.” Discuss.
“David Copperfield is in great part autobiographical.” Discuss.
Describe David Copperfield as an autobiographical novel.
David Copperfield is one of the best creations of Charles Dickens. lt is an autobiographical novel. Its story is narrated by the novelist in the first person. The details in the novel and several of the places, persons and situations are related to the life of the novelist. Regarding this novel, Dickens himself wrote. “Of all my books I like this the best. I have in my heart the favourite child and his name is David Copperfield.”
David Copperfield is the hero of the novel. But he is none else but Dickens himself. At the age of ten, David was put to work by his callous step father. Like Dickens, he felt degraded at having to mix with boys of his own age whom he did not consider his social equals.
Like David, Dickens was also first taught at home by his mother and was later sent to the Wellington House Academy of Mr. Jones where he had experiences like those of David at Mr. Creakle’s school.
The school master of David Copperfield resembles the worthless and brutal head master of the Wellington House Academy which Dickens attended at the age of fifteen. Like David, Dickens also had to quit the school after a brief stay and take up a menial job.
We find some similarities between the careers of David and Dickens. Like David, Dickens also took to the legal profession and like him again Dickens gave it up. He, then, learnt short hand and became a reporter. Dickens’ experiences as a stenographer and his success as a novelist are also the part of David’s experiences.
Dickens wrote a few of his novels in foreign countries. He went to Italy in 1844 and Switzerland in 1846. David also visited Italy and in the later period of life he settled in Switzerland to write his novels.
Besides these similarities, there are several emotional similarities between David and Dickens. For instance, David’s flight from the firm of Murdstone and Grins by may be taken to be representation of a similar flight of which Dickens must have frequently dreamed, when horrors of his menial job were too much for him.
Betsey Trotwood may be taken to be the longed-for fairy god-mother. Indeed, Mr. Murdstone, Miss Murdstone, Mr. and Mrs. Micawber may be said to represent the different facets of his parent’s personality, as they must have appeared to the suffering child.
David’s education with Dr. Strong, his marriage first with Dora and then with Agnes, may all be interpreted as examples of wish fulfillnents. What Dickenes could not enjoy in life, he enjoys vicariously in the novels.
There is a close similarity between the Micawber and Dicken’s parents. Micawbers are as poor as Dickens, own parents. Micawber’s optimism, his shiftlessness, his irresponsibility, his grandiloquent way of speaking, were also the important traits of the character of Dickens’ father.
Like Micawber, Dicken’s father was also in debt and their creditors come to them at all hours. Like him the father of Dickens was arrested for debt and sent to prison. As Dickens went to the prison for visiting his father in the same way little David also visits Mr. Micawber. Thus above mentioned observations make it clear that David Copperfield is an autobiographical novel.