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by Charles Dickens
David Copperfield Chapter 58 Summary
Absence David travels away from England for the first time. Slowly, he comes to realize how far he is from everything he loves. He feels this immense and deepening grief over the loss of Dora. Feeling worse and worse, David roams from place to place. When he feels at his darkest, he thinks he should die. David travels like this for months. He winds up in Switzerland, where he is impressed by the scenery. As David walks down a mountain pass one evening , he feels a sense of calm that pushes aside his sorrow for a time. David finally weeps for Dora's death as he is surrounded by all of this beautiful, natural scenery. Once David arrives at his destination, he finds a bunch of letters. The letters are from Agnes. Agnes is happy, and praises David for his strength in the face of his own misfortunes. David feels a sudden flowering of love for Agnes. He writes to her, saying that, without Agnes, David can never be the kind of man he wants her to be. David spends three months in Switzerland trying to recover his spirits, to be a better man. He works hard on his writing during this period. David sends a completed story to Traddles, who has it published. His fame as a fiction-writer is growing day by day. Furthermore, David is exercising all the time, so his health is much improved. During this time, David becomes sure that he must already have thrown away the possibility of Agnes's love. Even if she once had those kinds of feelings for David, he is sure that they can't have survived his marriage to another woman. As David tries to become a better man, he hopes that, some day, he might still marry Agnes. But as time goes on, he slowly gives up on this hope. He feels that he is not worthy of her. David realizes that the years of trials Dora had foreseen (and died before experiencing) are happening to David now, and he has no partner to help him. It's been three years since Mr. Peggotty traveled with Emily to Australia (so David must now be in his mid to late twenties). David sails home.
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