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David Copperfield

David Copperfield


by Charles Dickens

David Copperfield Suffering Quotes

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

Quote #10

I came into the valley, as the evening sun was shining on the remote heights of snow, that closed it in, like eternal clouds. [...] In the quiet air, there was a sound of distant singing—shepherd voices; but, as one bright evening cloud floated midway along the mountain's-side, I could almost have believed it came from there, and was not earthly music. All at once, in this serenity, great Nature spoke to me; and soothed me to lay down my weary head upon the grass, and weep as I had not wept yet, since Dora died! (58.11)

This moment really stands out, as David contemplates Nature itself without immediately connecting it to characterization or plot. By contrast, in descriptions of the Yarmouth storm, the wildness of the landscape clearly foreshadows the deaths of Ham Peggotty and Steerforth. Here, David is once again staring at the landscape, but this time, it seems almost meditative. David finds the solution for his emotional suffering in the recognition of the scale of nature – its "eternal clouds" and "not earthly music" – which give him the serenity to "weep as [he] had not wept yet, since Dora died." Most of the novel takes place on a truly human scale, inside small houses of David Copperfield's characters. This is one of the only moments (well, except perhaps with Traddles's skeletons) that we get a real sense of scope beyond the day-to-day lives of David and his companions.

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