Study Guide

David Copperfield Chapter 58

By Charles Dickens

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Chapter 58


  • David travels away from England for the first time.
  • Slowly, he comes to realize how far he is from everything he loves.
  • He feels this immense and deepening grief over the loss of Dora.
  • Feeling worse and worse, David roams from place to place.
  • When he feels at his darkest, he thinks he should die.
  • David travels like this for months.
  • He winds up in Switzerland, where he is impressed by the scenery.
  • As David walks down a mountain pass one evening , he feels a sense of calm that pushes aside his sorrow for a time.
  • David finally weeps for Dora's death as he is surrounded by all of this beautiful, natural scenery.
  • Once David arrives at his destination, he finds a bunch of letters.
  • The letters are from Agnes.
  • Agnes is happy, and praises David for his strength in the face of his own misfortunes.
  • David feels a sudden flowering of love for Agnes.
  • He writes to her, saying that, without Agnes, David can never be the kind of man he wants her to be.
  • David spends three months in Switzerland trying to recover his spirits, to be a better man.
  • He works hard on his writing during this period.
  • David sends a completed story to Traddles, who has it published.
  • His fame as a fiction-writer is growing day by day.
  • Furthermore, David is exercising all the time, so his health is much improved.
  • During this time, David becomes sure that he must already have thrown away the possibility of Agnes's love.
  • Even if she once had those kinds of feelings for David, he is sure that they can't have survived his marriage to another woman.
  • As David tries to become a better man, he hopes that, some day, he might still marry Agnes.
  • But as time goes on, he slowly gives up on this hope. He feels that he is not worthy of her.
  • David realizes that the years of trials Dora had foreseen (and died before experiencing) are happening to David now, and he has no partner to help him.
  • It's been three years since Mr. Peggotty traveled with Emily to Australia (so David must now be in his mid to late twenties).
  • David sails home.

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