My Favourite Character in Fiction
The character in fiction that attracts me is David Copperfield, created by Charles Dickens in his masterpiece David Copperfield. Like many fond parents Dickens says he has in his “heart of hearts a favourite child and his name is David Copperfield”.
David is born after his father’s death. His mother marries again. His step-father-Edward Murdstone does not show any kindness in his dealings with David. He sends the boy to Salem House. The Headmaster of the school is a bully and he makes David’s life there miserable. David leaves the school. His mother dies. Then Murdstone sends him as a labourer in the service of Murdstone and Grinby in London: His life there is extremely unhappy. He runs away from London and reaches the house of his father’s aunt Betsey Trotwood. She sends him for further education: to Canterbury. His life in this school is very happy: He marries Dora. She dies. David goes abroad. When he returns home, he has become famous as a writer. He marries Agnes as desired by his first wife and leads a very- married life.
It is the sincere narration of the autobiographical events that gives the novel realism and strength. The bitter experiences that smouldered the sensitive soul of young Dickens acquire a passionate intensity that remains unrivalled in the history of the English novel. David’s employment as a labourer in the service of Murdstone and Grinby reminds us of Dickens who was sent by his father at the age of eleven to a black ink factory to earn his living. Salem House, where David is sent by his step-father, resembles Wellington House Academy, where Dickens learned little. Mr. Micawber, like the novelist’s father John Dickens, is always in debt. David’s love for Dora is Dickens’s own love for Maria Beadnell. Betsey Trotwood, the fairy godmother hiding a soft heart beneath a harsh exterior resembles the novelist’s mother Elizabeth Dickens. Like David, Dickens becomes famous as a writer, works hard and makes his life prosperous. In fact, some critics think that certain details of the novelist’s own life that were not narrated by him to his biographer Forster find eloquent expression in the novel.
The robust optimism shown by David fascinates me. Misfortunes and suffering do not daunt him. He faces them calmly. His life gives me courage and self-confidence to face the battle of life. Winter is always followed by spring. This is what David’s life teaches me.