“Class Structure with Reference to David Copperfield”
The social changes which took place in the Victorian Period in England left their marks not only upon the United Kingdom, but also most of its colonies. Among the many changes are the Industrial Revolution, Population boom, Emigration, Migration, Cultural changes, Hierarchical class system, Technological advancements, Scientific discoveries, Social unrest, Morality and Religion versus Science arguments, to name a few. Charles Dickens, who is regarded as one of the greatest Victorian novelists, lays emphasis on the prevalent class-difference in British high-society and the plight of the week in most of his novels, specifically in David Copperfield.
In the Victorian Ages, class differences were well-defined and mostly unchangeable. They were primarily based on the occupation of the individuals and not on their affluence. The Victorian persons could belong to the upper, upper middle, lower middle, upper working, lower working or the underclass. Most people were born into these classes and never left them. If at all they did, they would only move a degree up or down. When a woman got married to her man, she would acquire his class and that is why marrying beneath one’s self was inacceptable for women. Thus visible is the wide gap between the rich and poor which was misused by the upper classes to take advantage of the lower classes.
Throughout David Copperfield, Charles Dickens portrays the plight of the weak and helpless in the hands of the rich and powerful. The weak people in society, i.e. the orphans, women, mentally-disabled, abandoned and poor escape the domination of the wealthy influential ones not by confrontations, but instead by joining with equally authoritative characters. The very people who are made his guardians are the ones who punish and exploit innocent David. The author highlights all through the novel how the worth of characters is judged by their wealth and status in society. Dickens...
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