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Free Barron's Booknotes-David Copperfield by Charles Dickens-Free Book Notes
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TERM PAPER IDEAS / ESSAY TOPICS / BOOK REPORT IDEAS

THEMES

1. Discuss David's development as a writer, and how it works as a theme of the novel.

2. Look at the different "homes" David has. What is each lacking? What is David searching for in a home?

3. Compare David's love for Dora to his love for Agnes. Which do you think Dickens prefers? Which do you prefer? Why?

4. Choose which marriage in the book you think is the best, and which is the worst. Compare them.

5. Discuss at least three of the single parents in the novel and examine their relationships to their children.

6. Relate the major themes of this novel to events in Dickens' life.

CHARACTERS

1. Compare David to Tommy Traddles. What does this comparison teach you about David?


2. Is Uriah Heep a realistic character or a caricature? Define your terms and defend your opinion.

3. Do you think Micawber's success in Australia is believable? Why or why not? --

4. Discuss Clara Copperfield from two angles: as David sees her and as Dickens sees her.

5. Discuss James Steerforth from two angles: as David sees him with his head and as David sees him with his heart.

6. Do you think Dickens created believable women? Defend your answer by discussing at least three female characters from David Copperfield. Compare them to female characters from other Dickens novels, if you can.

7. Choose one of these minor characters and discuss his or her role in the novel: Dr. Chillip, Barkis, Mrs. Gummidge, Mr. Omer, Mrs. Markleham, Mrs. Crupp, Mr. Jorkins, Sophy.

TECHNIQUES

1. Discuss the image of drowning.

2. Analyze the speech of one of these characters: Mr. Micawber, Uriah Heep, Rosa Dartle, Miss Mowcher. Discuss how speech patterns define the character's personality, referring to specific passages.

3. Discuss Dickens' use of cinematic techniques, with reference to specific scenes.

4. Compare the climactic scenes of each of these plots: Emily/Ham/Steerforth, Wickfield/Heep, David/Dora, David/Agnes.

BACKGROUND

1. Was David's experience in the wine warehouse typical for those times? Research the history of child labor and its reform in England.

2. Find the different settings of David Copperfield on a map of England. How far apart were they, and what would they have looked like in the early nineteenth century? How would railroads change this English landscape?

3. What were the different courts in nineteenth-century England, including Doctor's Commons? What different kinds of lawyers were there?

How would a firm like Wickfield & Heep differ from Spenlow & Jorkins?

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