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The Theme of David Copperfield

The Theme of David Copperfield

The theme of DAVID COPPERFIELD
LOVE is the theme of Dickens’s wonderful, uplifting masterpiece David Copperfield—and that’s why the book, despite its many sorrows, is so joyful!
In his usual manner, Dickens uses practically every character in the novel to explore his central motif from every angle.
Here are a few examples:
|• |Aunt Betsey’s heart-breaking marriage so damaged her that it soured her against the male |
| |sex entirely. So when David is born, a hated male, instead of Aunt Betsey’s predicted |
| |girl (a girl she intended to protect from the male of the species, “there must be no |
| |trifling with HER affections”), she vanishes ‘like a discontented fairy’. Aunt Betsey can|
| |live happily with Mr Dick because he’s mad and, to all intents and purposes (and despite |
| |his suggestive name), asexual. (The insane in Victorian asylums were treated so badly it |
| |would turn a sane person mental. Aunt Betsey’s ‘care in the community’ marvellously |
| |demonstrates the healing power of love and affection and Mr Dick’s life is happy and |
| |fulfilling.) Young David seeks out his aunt and steals his way into her heart, but her |
| |previous bad experience has made her wary and she needs to put his love to the test, so |
| |she pretends to lose all (rather than most) of her money—naturally, she puts a different |
| |spin on her reasons when explaining to David later, but this is her primary motive. (A |
| |recent story in the paper highlighted a lottery winner who, after a couple of bad |
| |experiences, led his new live-in girlfriend to believe (for a whole year!) that he was |
| |abjectly poor so that he’d know her love for him was genuine.) Aunt Betsey also |
| |demonstrates that a warm heart can beat behind a gruff, protective exterior (having been |
|...

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