By absent-minded on
Sunday, September 2, 2001
Friday, June 29, 2001
Dear Sebastian, See the Dickens resources and I'm sure you will find something. But, before you start searching on the web or the bookstores, I would recommend browsing the novel itself, or, if you have it on your mind, then just take a walk and think about it. What is a society? What is the first instant that you recall when Dickens criticises society in David Copperfield? I remember Murdstone telling David that he shouldn't play with "low" people, like Peggotty. Can Dickens' view be summarised as a criticism of the poor-rich social distinction? Compare Murdstone with Mr. Spenlow, Dora's father who refused to let Copperfield marry his daughter because of their different status, and then compare both with Steerforth's family and their contempt for Emily. See there how even matters of ethics, like Steerforth's seduction of Emily, are placed on a second and insignificant level compared with social/wealth differences. Move on to other instances, e.g. the factory where David worked. What does Dickens say, if he says anything, in David Copperfield about a society that uses child labour? And so on...
Open your path through the novel, and when you will have formed some ideas, start searching for articles, essays and books, if you need to and if you still have the time to do it.
Just an opinion,
P.S. See also: David Copperfield as an example of the Victorian socio-critical novel, Social Commentary in David Copperfield and Poverty in David Copperfield