© 2016 Shmoop University, Inc. All rights reserved.
David Copperfield

David Copperfield


by Charles Dickens

David Copperfield Education Quotes

How we cite our quotes: Citations follow this format: (Chapter.Paragraph)

Quote #7

"I suppose history never lies, does it?" said Mr. Dick, with a gleam of hope.

"Oh dear, no, sir!" I replied, most decisively. I was ingenuous and young, and I thought so. (17.18-9)

Mr. Dick has this giant obsession with King Charles the First, as we mention in his character analysis. But we singled this quote out not because of him, but because of this weird side-swipe at history – David only thought that history doesn't lie because he was "ingenuous and young." Do we get any other sign throughout the rest of the book that Dickens thinks history lies? If history lies, is individual memory more reliable?

Quote #8

My son's high spirit made it desirable that he should be placed with some man who felt its superiority, and would be content to bow himself before it; and we found such a man there. (20.59)

Mrs. Steerforth makes the decision to leave her son's "high spirit" unchallenged by his teachers, with the disastrous consequences that Steerforth never knows how to compromise or go against his own wishes. This seems to imply that the primary function of school is social, so that you can learn (or not learn) discipline. Do you agree with this assessment of school? Are there other goals to going to school that we find in David Copperfield?

Quote #9

Or as certain as they used to teach at school (the same school where I picked up so much umbleness), from nine o'clock to eleven, that labour was a curse; and from eleven o'clock to one, that it was a blessing and a cheerfulness, and a dignity, and I don't know what all, eh? [...] You preach, about as consistent as they did. Won't umbleness go down? I shouldn't have got round my gentleman fellow-partner without it, I think. —Micawber, you old bully, I'll pay you! (52.171)

The giant chip on Uriah Heep's shoulder comes from the charitable school he went to, where he was taught all of these humiliating, contradictory moral lessons he can't respect. Even now, in this moment of extreme stress when he's being confronted by everybody, Uriah Heep still finds a way to refer to this original trauma. How much difference does an explanation make to your feeling about a character? Does it make you feel less hatred for Uriah Heep knowing that he has had a hard past?

People who Shmooped this also Shmooped...