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ANSWERS - TEST 1
11. Begin by identifying this question as a reference to the novel's opening sentence. Then define your use of "hero"- as the main character, the most admirable character, or the subject of the book. You might spend one paragraph discussing how David fulfills (or does not fulfill) each of these "hero" roles. Or, after defining your term, you can devote your answer to proving that David is or is not a hero in one particular sense. If you talk about David as the main character, be sure that you distinguish between his role as the narrator and his role as the protagonist (the main actor in the plot). If you talk about David as the most admirable character, you might want to compare him to other characters to show whether or not David seems more admirable than they are. If you discuss David as the subject of the book, it would be useful to show not only whether the plot revolves around him, but also whether the themes all relate to him.
12. First show what makes the Micawbers distinctive in this book-the fact that they are a large family, with both parents, while most of the other families are made up of single children and single parents. Then discuss both sides of the question. What evidence do you have that this is a happy family? What evidence do you have that they are unhappy? Be sure to look at the children as well as the parents, particularly in the later chapters. Finally, state your opinion about them, and defend it. Show how they fit into the values of the book as a whole, especially the theme of families. Explain your own reaction to them; for example, how you feel when you read the passages describing them, or what you imagine it would be like to be part of that family.
13. Make some notes before you start writing. First list places in the book where Dickens does not seem to identify with David, such as when David is being blind about Dora or about Agnes. In the other list, include examples where Dickens does seem to identify with David, such as when he explains about his writing career, when he remembers working in the factory, and when he satirizes political institutions. When you write your answer, try to show both sides before you state your opinion. Also, be careful to distinguish between the older David who is narrating the story and Dickens himself. For example, during David's courtship of Dora, the narrator is consciously poking fun at himself, so Dickens identifies with David the narrator, even if he doesn't totally identify with David the young lover. Remember that Dickens may not be consistent. In some plots, his attitude toward David may be different than in others, as David plays different roles. Try to show the complexity of this question, rather than strain to prove your opinion.
14. Begin with a little background on Dickens as a satirist in general, referring to other books and to his life and times, if possible. Then turn to the satire in David Copperfield. First outline the topics of satire in this book-fallen women, child labor, education, Doctors' Commons, parliamentary debate, prison reform. Explain how each occurs in the book and the attitude Dickens seems to take toward each one. Describe the different satiric techniques he uses. For example, he may not use a satirical tone when writing about Emily, because melodrama is the most effective way of getting his political message across. Finally, relate the satire to the book as a whole. Are these satiric passages central to the book? Is the novel's overall tone satiric? Don't be afraid to base your answer on your own feelings. Show which elements you feel are strongest or most believable, even if they may not be Dickens' main concerns.