During the age of industrialism, the whole society was dominated mainly by a
two-class system. That is, there was a huge gap between the rich and the poor, a
social middle-class was more or less non-existant. As a consequence, a huge
contrast developed between the higher and the lower social classes, and this
contrast becomes evident in the novel in the Steerforth family and the Peggotty
James Steerforth, an acquaintance of David Copperfield from his childhood days,
belongs to a higher social class. His family is very wealthy, he is described as
“good as his word [and] a great scholar” and “very
good-looking”. He had been the only boy at school
never to be beaten up and in a whole he can be described as a sort of
semi-aristocratic person in the novel.
From these pieces of information one can defer a first point of criticism:
people who have money and a higher social standing often enjoy more privileges
in society and public life than people from a lower social class do. This is of
course very unjust, but not an uncommon phenomenon in the 19th century.
On the other side of the coin we have the Peggotties: they are lower-class
people, not very far up the social-ladder, simple fishermen and workers. This
can also be recognized in their way of speaking, e.g. “Why, sir, his father giv
it him”, instead of the more clearer “Why do you ask,
sir, his father gave it to him”.
 Dickens, Charles, David Copperfield, p.87  Dickens,
Charles, David Copperfield, p.88
 Dickens, Charles, David Copperfield, p.40