It is agreed that David Copperfield is one of Charles Dickens’s numerous well-known literary works, and it tells the life of a young middle class boy who is named David.
This novel focuses on the one primary character therefore the events happen around this character. This novel aims at investigating of the social backround of English society at that time. Dickens’s novel is also considered as a social reform by some critics, and David Copperfield reflects individuals who change in the social classes in English society during 19th century. This nove goes around social issues and status which become problems in English society at that time.
For instance, comparison of rich and poor is one of the social issues in the novel, and also this affects social structure which is the organized instruction of social relationships and social institutions that compose a society. Surely, David Copperfield depicts the social problems of Victorian society and throughout David Copperfield, Dickens presents a group of characters from all classes of British society whose interrelationships bring out the best and the worst in human behaviour. As I stated before, social class in Victorian period is strictly divided into two classes which are rich and poor. Steerforth family is represented as rich people in David Copperfield and the poor people represented by Martha Endell, David Copperfield and Mr. Micawber. Dickens criticizes his society’s view of wealth and class as measures of a person’s value. Charles Dickens reflects his dissatisfaction on society and social classes through the eyes of his characters in Victorian period by showing the lifestyles of high, middle and low class people. How the poverty effects lower and middle class citizens in terrible ways while high class citizens have everything by birth.
As Mitchell states in Daily Life in Victorian England “in Victorian England it did not depend on the amount of Money people had, altough it did rest partly on the source of their income, as well as on birth and family connections” so we can say that while lower and middle class citizens work hard for their life all time, upper class citizens did not have to work hard that much, even they did not have to work for food, shelter and education. Dickens depicted the upper class characters behaviours as superficial, deceitful, arrogant and insentitive. Those high class people think that the middle and lower class people are basically animals and they should not pity them and they think they have the right to talk down upon them. In Charles Dickens’s eyes the lower class were the majority of just and moral characters belonged to. Dickens showed a great compassion and empathy towards lower class because he was a lower class child when he was growing up. He was seen as a champion of the lower class by some of the lower class citizens themselves he was characterized as the spokesman of the poor and that’s why he criticized the upper class while he glorified middle and lower class citiziens in David Copperfield. Dickens depicts women, orphans, and mentally disabled people as primarily kind-natured and good in order to display the exploitation these figures suffer at the hands of more powerful characters and the society at large. Dickens showed the powerlessness of the lower class members and they were treated like animals like they had no rights at all and how corrupt Victorian society is.
As mentioned before, Charles Dickens conflicts and takes social issues at that time while he was creating his literary work, David Copperfield. So it should be paid attention that Charles Dickens is going to focus on class and social problems in Victorian period. David Copperfield is such a important work that David Copperfield indicates social criticism such as child labour, family conflicts, crime in society, financial problems, disorders in the educational system, class conflicts. In short, David Copperfield depicts well enough social attitudes and problems of Victorian period. We can say that in David Copperfield, Charles Dickens proves that people can be good or evil in depend on their social status. While lower classes was being despised, higher classes was welcomed and appreciated.