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David Copperfield

David Copperfield


by Charles Dickens

David Copperfield Youth Quotes

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

Quote #10

As [Uriah Heep] sat on my sofa, with his long knees drawn up under his coffee-cup, his hat and gloves upon the ground close to him, his spoon going softly round and round, his shadowless red eyes, which looked as if they had scorched their lashes off, turned towards me without looking at me, the disagreeable dints I have formerly described in his nostrils coming and going with his breath, and a snaky undulation pervading his frame from his chin to his boots, I decided in my own mind that I disliked him intensely. It made me very uncomfortable to have him for a guest, for I was young then, and unused to disguise what I so strongly felt. (25.107)

Uriah Heep has come to meet with David in David's apartments in Mrs. Crupp's house. David is revolted, as usual, by the sight of Uriah Heep. But he also includes this interesting line almost in passing, that he feels uncomfortable hosting Uriah Heep because he "was young then, and unused to disguise what [he] so strongly felt." Again, we get further evidence that David links childhood with innocence and honesty and adulthood with lies. At the same time, we're not so sure of this distinction – we told a fair number of lies when we were kids....

Quote #11

There is no doubt whatever that I was a lackadaisical young spooney; but there was a purity of heart in all this, that prevents my having quite a contemptuous recollection of [my courtship of Dora], let me laugh as I may. (26.49)

When David is courting Dora, he behaves like a really sentimental fellow, strumming his guitar and writing her love letters. David looks back on this time with some nostalgia, because while he may feel a bit embarrassed, he loved her with a "purity of heart" that seems lost to later David. All right, all right, Dickens, we get it: youth = goodness and innocence!

Quote #12

I had a great deal of work to do, and had many anxieties, but the same considerations made me keep them to myself. I am far from sure, now, that it was right to do this, but I did it for my child-wife's sake. (44.112)

We still feel a little wigged out that David calls Dora his "child-wife" – and at her own request! Dora wants David always to remember that she is trying her best, but that she is simply too childlike to be practical and serious. She may be an adult in years, but Dora seems resigned never to be an adult in mind. And David encourages her childishness by keeping his anxieties to himself, for his "child-wife's sake." How does David's approach to Dora differ from, say, Doctor Strong's approach to the much younger Annie? What are we supposed to make of the difference in the two marriages?

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