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Quotes

Quote #1

"How can you be so aggravating," said my mother, shedding more tears than before, "as to talk in such an unjust manner! How can you go on as if it was all settled and arranged, Peggotty, when I tell you over and over again, you cruel thing, that beyond the commonest civilities nothing has passed! You talk of admiration. What am I to do? If people are so silly as to indulge the sentiment, is it my fault?" (2.54)

Mrs. Copperfield immediately gets irritated when she thinks that Peggotty disapproves of Mr. Murdstone's admiration of her. Whenever Mrs. Copperfield hears anything that she interprets as criticism, she lashes out like a spoiled child. Her selfish nature allows her to put her own self-interest above her family's, with disastrous results for Mrs. Copperfield herself.

Quote #2

'Now, Clara my dear,' said Mr. Murdstone. 'Recollect! control yourself, always control yourself! Davy boy, how do you do?'

I gave him my hand. After a moment of suspense, I went and kissed my mother: she kissed me, patted me gently on the shoulder, and sat down again to her work. I could not look at her, I could not look at him, I knew quite well that he was looking at us both; and I turned to the window and looked out there, at some shrubs that were drooping their heads in the cold. (3.138-9)

First of all, it makes our blood boil that Mr. Murdstone can talk to his wife this way – how dare he tell her to "control herself," like a dog or something. Second of all, what is Mr. Murdstone asking Mrs. Copperfield to control? He doesn't want Mrs. Copperfield to be too obvious in her affection for David, so he wants her to repress her demonstrations of love for him. What damage do you think Mr. Murdstone imagines Mrs. Copperfield's emotions will do?

Quote #3

I heard that Mr. Creakle had a son [...] who, assisting in the school, had once held some remonstrance with his father on an occasion when its discipline was very cruelly exercised, and was supposed, besides, to have protested against his father's usage of his mother. I heard that Mr. Creakle had turned him out of doors, in consequence; and that Mrs. and Miss Creakle had been in a sad way, ever since. (6.50)

Schools are hotbeds for gossip. We are sure you guys are aware of that. Here, these gossips speculate that Mr. Creakle had a son who he disowned for protesting Mr. Creakle's abuse of his family and the students. How seriously do you think we are supposed to take this bit of gossip about Mr. Creakle's family? Is there evidence elsewhere in the book that Mr. Creakle has a son?

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