Many events in the novel “David Copperfield” echo the events in the life of the writer himself. It is a novel-recollection, where the first impressions and judgments of a child are carefully delivered to us by an adult, a writer who managed to keep in his soul the purity of the child’s perception.
The first evil that little David encountered, growing up in an atmosphere of affection with a tender mother and devoted nurse Pegotti, is Brother and Sister Murdstone. Mr. Murdstone married the hero’s mother and became his stepfather. The Murdstons belong to those people who are always right, in everything, under any circumstances. Their cruelty and callousness are supported by arguments against which the soft and weak-willed mother of David is helpless.
Children must obey adults. Lessons should be memorized by heart, and for every mistake the student is supposed to punish. This harsh method soon led to the fact that an inquisitive and capable child, who
studied easily and willingly, under their unkind looks began to look like a corrupted dickhead and receive heavy punches as punishment. The chapter narrating about this is called – “I fall into disgrace”. My stepfather managed to convince David’s mother that children should be thrashed. Not enduring humiliation, the child bit Murdstone by the finger, and the question of sending him to the boarding house was finally decided.
The school was commanded by the cruel and ignorant Mr. Creakle, who constantly punished and humiliated the disciples. On the first day, David was put on the back board with the inscription “Beware! Bites!”, And this was the beginning of his school torment. Arriving home on vacation, the boy had to sit for hours in the room under the supervision of Miss Murdstone. Walking and reading to him was forbidden, as in general forbade everything that could please a child. Even the return to the kingdom of Krikl seemed to him almost a holiday. But here he did not stay long. After the death of the mother, the Murdstons decided that a ten-year-old boy was quite capable
of earning a living and made him a “young slave” of the firm “Murdstone and Grinby.” From morning till night the boy had to wash bottles, while living in poverty and constantly starving.
Escaping from the warehouse, David went in search of his cousin Miss Trotwood. Under the external sternness and eccentricity of this lady, a kind heart was hiding, and the child’s sorrows of the hero came to an end. David began to study in a good school and settled with kind people – Mr. Wickfield and his daughter Agnes, but it was in this house that he met Uriah Heep, who became the evil genius of many of the characters in the novel. Then it was an unpleasant red-haired teenager with round eyes without eyelids and sticky palms from the sweat. His appearance disgusted me. And it was that rather rare case when she was not deceptive. An obsequious manner of treatment, constant references to one’s own humility caused rejection from honest and direct David. But he was ashamed to offend Urii with a refusal and went to visit him.
Uriya Hip tried to learn about as many nasty things as possible in order to use this skill. He went a long way, learning to lie and hypocritical in school days. His mother skillfully helped him. Using Mr. Wickfield’s passion for wine, Uriah confused all the affairs of his clients, wanting to take over the legal office and get Agnes to be his wife. Direct and trustful David, he was not shy, partly revealing his plans before him. When Uriah was exposed, he finally threw off the mask of ostentatious humility. Everyone saw that a wolf was hiding under the skin of a lamb. Uriah for the first time openly talked about his hatred of others, especially David.
Proud of this affection, David introduces him to his friends – the brother of the nurse Pegotti, an old fisherman, and his adopted children, Ham and Emily. Steerforth is fond of the beautiful Emily, seduces her, takes her abroad, and when she bothers him like a broken doll, she offers her to marry her lackey. He and his mother do not consider Emily equal to themselves, they do not care about the suffering of ordinary people, to their broken lives. Although, in order to hush an unpleasant story, the mother is willing to pay off old Pegotti money.
Steerforth, however, does not care about his own mother, with whom he breaks up relations and leaves, or to the lovingly loving Rosa Dartle, whom he also broke his life. But about him, especially after his death during the shipwreck, David recalls with bitterness and sympathy: Steerforth was clever, capable of good deeds and in his own way tied to Copperfield.
Remembering it, we understand that good and evil are ambiguous, often mixed in the actions and souls of people. Dickens with the lips of his hero teaches us to stare into the surrounding world, not only to see bad people and confront them, but also to notice glimpses of decency in those who, at first glance, do not deserve indulgence. The mastery of a realistic writer makes even negative images voluminous and ambiguous, forcing us to think about the complexity of life.