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Subject Character names in David Copperfield

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Publication 25 By Emily on Sunday, August 26, 2001 at 16:45   
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I am trying to find out why and how Charles Dickens named the characters in David Copperfield. Can you let me know how to find out this information?

Publication 26 By Daveman424 on Sunday, August 26, 2001 at 16:47   
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In my opinion, I think Dickens chose David Copperfield as a name because of his initials, DC. Dickens' initials are CD. One never knows!

Publication 150 By leo on Friday, August 31, 2001 at 03:18   
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Dickens is known for naming his characters in order to reveal something about the traits of the character. Eg. Mr. Murdstone represents hardness and murder (is suspected of inadvertently causing David's mother death). Miss Murdstone is no different. Steer in Steerforth touches on his leadership role for he guides (steers)David and himself.Steerforth had no father to guide him (which he expresses regret over, and his mother only idolizes him. She doesn't guide him). Betsey Trotwood's last name, suggests a hurried woman (trot), for she is fond of order and does everything with no time to spare. Remember her expression "Oh tut, tut, tut"

Publication 151 By absent-minded on Friday, August 31, 2001 at 19:13   
Location: Greece   Registered: Friday, June 29, 2001  Posts: -166    Search for other posts by absent-minded Search   Quote
Besides being a Spring and Joy, like a field of copper-colored butterflies, resisting corruption all the time, it is very interesting, that in fact he is called in many ways, from Trotwood and Trot, to Daisy and Copperful, without himself paying much attention to it, so that eventually and essentially his real name proves a name beyond names; open to anyone's wishes and subject to all kinds of changes it remains hidden - or maybe it doesn't exist at all, but only as a drive and cause of the very act of naming. This way David Copperfield indicates the hidden reality inside any other character in the story, who are thus defined from and in their relationship to him.

For a different view, see Dickens' Answers

I can't resist putting down all those appearances:
Davy, Master Davy, Master Copperfield, David Trotwood Copperfield, Trotwood, Trot, Copperfield, Mister Copperfield, Dodie, Copperful, Daisy, and: David Copperfield
But I love most when Peggotty calls him "my darling boy".

See also: Who's who in David Copperfield

Publication 338 By karthik on Sunday, July 21, 2002 at 00:43   
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I want the character sketch of Uriah Heep from the novel David Copperfield by Charles Dickens .

Publication 339 By absent-minded on Sunday, July 21, 2002 at 00:51   
Location: Greece   Registered: Friday, June 29, 2001  Posts: -166    Search for other posts by absent-minded Search   Quote
Take a look at this page

Publication 687 By Jimmy_Connerly on Tuesday, December 7, 2004 at 06:42   
Location: Australia   Registered: Friday, December 3, 2004  Posts: 2    Search for other posts by Jimmy_Connerly Search   Quote
Quote: Originally posted by pete on Monday, November 08, 2004
what is the summary of david copperfield
In order,

Born, beloved, beaten, belittled, bullied, beguiled, beggardly, beleived, beheld, boyish, blinkered, besotted, bespoken, bound, beleagured, bewailing, burdoned, bewildered, bibiliographic, beleiving, betrothed, blissful.   

Well, you did ask!

Cf. Chapter Summary of David Copperfield

Publication 736 By Asia.pl on Saturday, March 19, 2005 at 14:54   
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Hello, I'm new here My name is Asia, I'm from Poland, and my name has got nothing to do with the continent
I am completly fascinated by "David Copperfield", and I'm totally in love with the Hallmark's adaptation of the book, have you seen it? What do you think of it?

Publication 796 By Nimak on Friday, August 12, 2005 at 19:00   
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I'm also new here, and struggling with David Copperfield. David's brother name is never mentioned in the story, David refers to him as the baby. Is it because the Murdsones do not allow him to have a relationship with him? Since generally David goes to details about the people around him. bThanks in advance.

Publication 818 By dcb188 on Thursday, January 12, 2006 at 19:30   
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Speaking of characters and their names in Dickens' novels, significant that David's own mother is not mentioned by first name until well into the novel.
And she remains "shadowy" all thru the novel. I think because David did not know her that well. He was very young when she died and although he has fond memories of her which he cherishes, I don't think he has that much of a real attachment to her. And he probably resents her being so pliant in the hands of Mr and Ms Murdstone, even to the point of having to stand by and not protect him against these very aptly named people.

Publication 820 By dong trang on Sunday, January 15, 2006 at 14:11   
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i want to know "why is David Copperfield said to be autobiography ?

Publication 964 By Sebastian on Sunday, January 21, 2007 at 07:02   
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I am puzzled by a sentence near the end of chapter 52. David's aunt, who has from the start consistently refused to call him anything else than "Trotwood" or "Trot", refers to him as "David". What is the meaning of this?

Publication 1054 By Lotus1015 on Monday, November 12, 2007 at 17:34   
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~David Copperfield was written in the mid 1800's. It was published in monthly installments between the years 1849-1850.

~Aunt Betsey refers to David by his Christian name because at that moment she wants for him to realize how solemn and serious her words are. This is no time for nicknames.

~David Copperfield is said to be an autobiography because it loosely follows Dickens' own life experiences. It is said that Dickens set out to write an autobiography but found it too painful; because of this, he decided to fictionalize himself and write David Copperfield. Mr. Macawber is based on David's father who was thrown into debtor's prison, Dickens himself went to work in a factory at a very young age to support his family, and he eventually taught himself shorthand which, like David, helped to springboard him into the world of writers.

~I don't believe that the baby is given a name because when David comes home, his mother is so excited to see her oldest son without Mr. Murdstone around that she doesn't want to waste any time fussing over the baby. She wants to spend what precious time that she has to see and hold and show affection to David rather than the baby who she would be allowed to coddle any time. Also, I believe, to signify how different the regard of the two sons is by Mr. Murdstone; How seperate they are. David's mother knows that the baby will always be favoured, and (at that point) will live a better life. I believe this makes her feel guilty.

Publication 1119 By Homia on Wednesday, May 28, 2008 at 22:51   
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Can someone help me by sending the character sketch of Peggotty & David from David Copperfield

Publication 1134 By Marcy on Thursday, July 17, 2008 at 13:47   
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I was looking up the definitions for the characters names on BabyNames.com and this is what I found:

"Emily" is the English form of the Latin name "Amelia." It means to "strive or excel," which is much like the character in the novel since Little Emily tried to "strive or excel" so she can be a lady. Of course, this lead her to trouble with Steerforth...

Agnes is Greek for "pure." Self-explanatory.

Uriah is Hebrew for "God Is My Light," which might represents his "umble" nature. But his last name "Heep" contradicts that. Like what Mr. Micawber says, he is a "HEEP" ("heap" means layers on top of each other) of trouble. Uriah is also complex--he is humble on the surface but manipulative in the inside.

Rosa Dartle's surname, according to TheFreeDictionary.com, means to "To pierce or shoot through; to dart repeatedly," which closely resembles the character's persona.

Publication 1196 By Nibs on Friday, May 8, 2009 at 08:55   
Location: United States   Registered: Wednesday, May 6, 2009  Posts: 48    Search for other posts by Nibs Search   Quote
As another poster mentioned, Dickens gives almost allegorical names, names that speak to the character and their personality. I'll give you some explantions for some of the main characters and also other names Dickens was toying with:

David Copperfield - obviously, this name was fashioned from Dickens' own inverted initials (CD becomes DC). As the main character, David went through several careful name changes. The most likely of these was either David or Thomas Mag (Mag = halfpenny). Other possible surnames included Trotfield, Trotbury, Spankle, Wellbury, Flowerbury, Magbury, Copperboy, Topflower, and Copperstone. The fact that David receives so many nicknames in the novel shows the way other characters think of him and the way they are willing to change his personality to suit themselves.   

Mr. Micawber - um, it sounds like "macabre" but that doesn't seem to relate to me. It may have related to Mr. Wilkins' dismal situations, though!

Betsey Trotwood- a name that sounds clipped and active, like Betsey herself. In early manuscripts, CD calls Aunt Betsey Miss Badger. He soon changes this to her current name.

Mr. Dick a.k.a. Richard Babley - "babbling" as in babbling idiot, but Betsey changes his name too (like she does with David) into something respectable.

Steerforth - pretty self-explanatory, he guides Davy to all sorts of different actions. Steerforth originally had a much less dramatic name in "Appleford", which evolved into "Steerford".

Tommy Traddles - this was a humorous name but also derives from "Thomas Talfourd" on whom the character was based.

Dora Spenlow - Dickens invented the name "Dora" with this character, probably a derivative of "adorable".

Uriah Heep - Uriah has a very interesting story to go along with his name. The surname probably derives from "heaping praises" because he obviously does that. But his first name is Biblical in origin (aligning with his godspeak) and comes from Samuel 12. In Samuel 12:1-25, God sends Nathan the Prophet to speak to King David, who has just committed adultery with Bathsheba, the wife of loyal soldier Uriah the Hittite. Nathan tells David a parable in which a rich man steals a poor man's only lamb. King David is fiercely indignant until he realizes the story is about him. In David Copperfield, a rivalry is set up between Uriah and David, over Agnes; the name Agnes means lamb. This is an interesting choice on Dickens' part.
I've also heard before that the name "Uriah", being Hebrew in origin, may indicate that Uriah has Jewish origin. In OMF, the "good" Jew is named Riah.

Agnes Wickfield - as mentioned above, the name Agnes means "lamb", and implies the meaning "pure". In Phiz' illustrations the lamb is a recurring theme. I've heard that the last name of "Wickfield" was just a common name Dickens chose, although "wick" indicates a feeling of light.

Murdstone - obviously a blend of "murder" and the hardness of "stone". Possible early substitutions for "Murdstone" were Harden, Murdle, and Murden. But Dickens settled on Murdstone as it tied in with David's idea of a "gravestone father".

Rosa Dartle - at first she is soft and sweet like a rose, later becomes stinging and piercing, like a dart. It refers to her personality.

Hope these help someone!

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