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SEBASTIAN LEHNER
David Copperfield as an example of the Victorian socio-critical novel
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Page 35

1. The Dora-Agnes-Nexus – Two Contrasting Women


Agnes, as well as Dora, are two very important women in David Copperfield’s life. However there is a sharp contrast between Dora and Agnes, as they represent two very different types of women. Dora, whom David falls in love with from the first meeting and whom he later decides to marry, was brought up in an upper-class home without a mother. She had always been cared for by nurses and specially hired personell and from early childhood on, every wish she had had, had been fulfilled almost instantly. Thus she is still very childish, when David meets her for the first time and does not make the impression of ever becoming what one would call a proper housewife. This is additionally expressed in a little dog she owns “who was called Jip”[49]. It seems to be more than a mere coincidence that “Jip” is the short form for “Gypsy”[50], which suggests a freedom-loving character who does not like to obey to social conventions and restrictions. Furthermore it is inherent in Doras nature to be very sensitive and easily hurt and more than once she shouts “You cruel, cruel boy!”[51] at David, for reasons by far not grave enough to set somebody in such a rage. And finally, due to her upper-class upbringing, Dora has never been trained to conduct houswork or any kind of domestical tasks and obligations.[52]

[49] Dickens, Charles, David Copperfield, p.366     [50] according to Ayres, Brenda, Dissenting Women in Dickens’ Novels, The Women of David Copperfield:The Choice of an Undisciplined Heart, p.29       [51] Dickens, Charles, David Copperfield, p.587 
    [52] Ayres, Brenda, Dissenting Women in Dickens’ Novels, The Women of David Copperfield:The Choice of an Undisciplined Heart, p.16

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