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David Copperfield

David Copperfield

by Charles Dickens

Society and Class Quotes Page 4

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Quote #10

Or perhaps this is the Desert of Sahara! For, though Julia has a stately house, and mighty company, and sumptuous dinners every day, I see no green growth near her; nothing that can ever come to fruit or flower. What Julia calls "society," I see; among it Mr. Jack Maldon, from his Patent Place, sneering at the hand that gave it him, and speaking to me of the Doctor as "so charmingly antique." But when society is the name for such hollow gentlemen and ladies, Julia, and when its breeding is professed indifference to everything that can advance or can retard mankind, I think we must have lost ourselves in that same Desert of Sahara, and had better find the way out. (64.18)

In David's "Last Retrospect," he finds Julia Mills married to a rich man. But Julia Mills's marriage has drained the life from her, and makes her surroundings completely barren ("nothing that can ever come to fruit or flower"). David tells us that "society" is full of sneering, snide, unproductive people: "hollow gentlemen and ladies." And whatever you may say about the Peggottys, they are certainly neither "indiffer[ent]" nor "hollow."

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