1. Freud admired Dickens both as a writer and for his insights into the mystery of the human personality. David Copperfield was his favorite novel by Dickens. A Freudian critic, Lawrence Frank, sees in certain passages of the novel material that matches Freud’s “The Wolf Man,” From the History of an Infantile Neurosis, and Introductory Lectures of Psycho-Analysis. Is he right? Compare these writings.
2. Dickens was always careful to make certain that the speech patterns of his characters were accurate, whether they were Suffolk fishermen or London Cockneys. Comment on the speech patterns in David Copperfield.
3. Dickens obviously had great sympathy for women who had become prostitutes. For many years he advised Lady Angela Burdett-Coutts, who had founded a Home for Homeless Women. He also helped her run this charity. How is this experience in his life reflected in David Copperfield?
4. Dickens’ own education was meager, but education was a life-long concern for him. Compare his treatment of this theme in Nicholas Nickleby and Hard Times versus David Copperfield.
5. Dickens respected the working people of England and insisted that their dignity should be protected. Is this born out in his writing? Compare his portraits of Dan’l Peggotty and Steven Blackpool in Hard Times, and, possibly, workers in other Dickens’ novels.
6. It has been said that Dickens does not portray upper-class English people as well as the lower- or middle-class people among his characters. Is this true?
7. The Kings Bench Prison in David Copperfield is really the Marshalsea Prison where Dickens’ father was sent. The Marshalsea itself figures prominently in his later novel, Little Dorritt, which Bernard Shaw called a more seditious book than Karl Marx’s Das Kapital. Compare the satires on prisons in these two novels.