Society and Class in Charles Dickens’s “David Copperfield”
Social structure is the organized instruction of social relationships and social institutions that compose a society. David Copperfield depicts the social problems of Victorian society and throughout David Copperfield, Dickens presents bunch of characters from all classes ofBritish society whose interrelationships bring out the best and the worst in human behaviour. 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 Copperfieldand 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 had it allbybirthas Mitchellstates in Daily Life in VictorianEngland”?n VictorianEngland it did not depend on theamount of moneypeople had, altough it did rest partly on thesource of theirincome, as well as on birthandfamilyconnections” (17) andtheydidnthave to work for food, shelter or 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 basicly animalsandtheyshould not pitythem and they think they have the right to talk down upon them. In Charles Dickens’seyesthelowerclasswerethemajority of justand moral charactersbelongedto. Dickens showedgreatcompassionandempathytowardslowerclassbecause he was a lowerclasschildwhen he wasgrowingup. He wasseen as a champion of thelowerclassbysome of thelowerclasscitizensthemselves he wascharacterized as thespokesman of thepoorandthatswhy he criticized the upperclassandglorifiedmiddleandlowerclasscitiziens in David Copperfield.McDowallstates in An IllustratedHistory of Britain “Charles Dickens attackedtherichandpowerfulfortheircrueltytowardstheweakandunfortunate in society” (155)that he wasdeeplyaffectedby how the society is in theVictorianperiod.Dickens depictswomen, orphans, andmentallydisabledpeople as primarilykind-naturedandgood in ordertodisplaytheexploitationthesefiguressuffer at thehands of morepowerfulcharactersandthesociety at large. Dickens showedthepowerlessness of thelowerclassmembersandtheyweretreatedlikeanimalslikethey had norights at alland how corruptVictoriansociety is.