David Copperfield


Chapter 53: Even I have trouble with Dickens’s point of view—that Dora is better off dead, then a disappointment to her husband. Were we intended to accept this point of view as wise? Knowing what we do of his marriage to, and attitude toward, Katherine, I wonder if she interpreted Copperfield as a statement that she too would have been better off dead, because she was not a satisfactory spouse for Dickens.

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I think you misinterpret this chapter. David is saying goodbye to his sick wife. They are remembering things that maybe are best forgotten. It's sad to think how so many people use those last moments together judging the things that were wrong rather than remembering all the things that were right. Are they both making apologies for the right reasons? I don't know. David and Dora obviously believed there were things that had to be said.

As for Dickens, his writing always has his own experiences accounted for. He didn't have a great marriage, but many marriages of his time were based on complacency rather than love. The same goes for the characters in his novels. They are what he's known, and sometimes they're what he wished could be. He's a volatile writer, and although some find his writing a bit dry and unemotional at times, he is an unbelievably gifted writer.


David Copperfield/ Chapter 53