Post 1 – Chapters 1-20 (Pages 1 -270)
Welcome to the first checkpoint for our read-along of the Charles Dickens classic, David Copperfield. This is the first read-along hosted right here at Roof Beam Reader, so any questions, comments, or suggestions as we go along would be greatly encouraged and appreciated.
I should start off by saying that, somehow, I managed to entangle myself with three books simultaneously this month, none of which are yet completed. I’m also about 100 pages behind in this particular read-along, something I hope to correct by the end of the weekend. Starting a new job and the excitement that is Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 2 definitely put a slow-down on my typical reading habits.
Speaking of Harry Potter, did you know that Dan Radcliffe, the boy who has played Harry Potter in all eight movies, was first selected for an audition because of his role as David Copperfield? Radcliffe did not even audition (in fact, his parents turned down the audition multiple times, as they did not want him to become a film star), but the producers enjoyed his David Copperfield performance so much that they kept at it until his parents said yes. I haven’t seen the movie yet, but I do plan to watch it once I’ve finished the book!
Quotes and Meaning:
“-‘To insult one who is not fortunate in life, sir, and who never gave you the least offence, and the many reasons for not insulting whom you are old enough and wise enough to understand,’ said Mr. Mell, with his lip trembling more and more, ‘you commit a mean and base action. You can sit down or stand up as you please, sir. Copperfield, go on.’
‘Young Copperfield,’ said Steerforth, coming forward up the room, ‘stop a bit. I tell you what, Mr. Mell, once for all. When you take the liberty of calling me mean or base, or anything of that sort, you are an impudent beggar. You are always a beggar, you know; but when you do that, you are an impudent beggar.'” (P. 92)
I think this particular passage will come to sum up much of what the book is about – the wealthy classes, even those who appear kind or generous- abusing with insults, mimicry, and other un-kindnesses, the lower classes – even those who least deserve the insults.
Likes and Dislikes:
So far, the two things I like most so far are the characters and the prose. As is not unusual with Dickens, I find characters who I instantly love (in this case, the Peggotty family) and characters who I instantly hate (in this case, the mother, Steerforth, and Mr. Creakle, and the Murdstones). There are also those who I don’t have much of an opinion about and, interestingly, the main character tends to be one. So far, I’m neither a fan of, nor an enemy of David Copperfield. This was the case in Oliver Twist, too. I don’t find David to be quite so innocent, angelic, or naive as Oliver Twist was (which annoyed me to no end), but he is not a stand-out character in any other way yet either.
What I dislike thus far is the story in general. I’m ignoring Dickens’s robust prose, as one must, because we all know he wrote per word – so there are many, many words that could have been removed and likely made the story more digestible. Still, that’s Dickens so I’ll leave that be. I’m just not yet attracted by what’s happening. Maybe this will change – I hope it will – and as there are nearly 700 pages left of the book, I assume quite a bit more will happen between now (David Copperfield arriving at Windsor Terrace) and the end.
What are your impressions so far? Likes? Dislikes? Are you all on pace with the timeline?
Post 2: To be posted on July 31st. Will cover Pages 278 – 562 (Chapters 21 thru 41)