David Copperfield

End of Chapter 8

What are we to take away from (other than sadness) the final scene, when David's mother holds up David's brother for him to see and stands there motionless looking at David.

Dickens is careful to emphasize the motionlessness--it's one of the many powerful images in this book. Clara knows she is dying (her remarks to Peggotty that Peggotty won't have to wait long before she is free to marry). Is Clara saying to her son, Remember your brother? What is she saying by this gesture.

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Her final gesture to David is the "love" in her eyes. He knows she cares, and she in turn knows what she gave him in that final moment. It was "goodbye" and "I love you," in a glance. They shared that between them with nobody else knowing any different.


David Copperfield