Throughout Contemporary British Society and Victorian People and Ideas, it is statedthat British society is very class conflict. The Victorian novel, with its emphasis on therealistic portrayal of social life, represented many Victorian issues in the stories of itscharacters. Moreover many authors speak about social problems of the Victorian timein their works as Charlotte Bronte (1816-1855)who was the third daughter of theBronte sisters, her finest work Jane Eyre (1847); it examines many sides of thecircumstances of woman and their struggle within the Victorian society, JaneAusten(1775-1817) in Pride and Prejudice(1799), Thomas Hardy (1840-1928) wasconsidered to be one of the novelists who wrote about the problems of the Victorians inthe late nineteenth century, he showed the conflict between the traditional and modernvalues, and Charles Dickens who treats the social class in his novels especially inGreat Expectations, and also in David Copperfield which is the subject of this paper. 2 In fact, Dickens himself was something of a social climber. He was personallyashamed of certain aspects of his past, such as his time as a child worker in a blackingfactory, and had always dreamed of bettering himself.
In 1856 he had bought a countryhouse in Kent (Gad’s Hill) which he had seen many times in his childhood when takenon walks by his father, and he had often fantasized about living in it one day. Thereforehis novel David Copperfield his most popular novel about growing up shows the socialbackground of English society at that time and class issues throughout the novel. Alsohe is one of the most important social commentators who used fiction effectively tocriticize economic, social, and moral abuses in the Victorian era. Dickens showedcompassion and empathy towards the vulnerable and disadvantaged segments ofEnglish society, and contributed to several important social reforms. David Copperfield, is one of Charles Dickens’s many famous literary works. Itconsiders an autobiography by the many comparisons found to his true life, and followsthe life of a young middle class boy named David. This novel, like many of Dickens’sworks, focuses on the one primary character; a Victorian novel written during Britain’sIndustrial Revolution.
For this reason, the study aims at investigating and analyzingDickens’ representation of social class in his novel David Copperfield, because Dickenslived during a time of great social changes in Europe having publishing novels, thesubject of his writing varied of many topics, one of them focuses on the socialbackground of English society at that time. Some critics argue that he saw the novel asan important tool of social reform. So, the choice of Charles Dickens is mainly based on our interest in his novel DavidCopperfield which reflected a picture of people who differ in the social classes inEnglish society in the early of nineteenth century when the Industrial Revolution makechange in it. Also, show the behaviors that each classes are dealing with.
David Copperfield’s novel covers a slew of contemporary social issues ranging fromthe suppression of women and the abuse of children, to the undisciplined heart and goodvs. evil. Moreover, there are many motives behind the choice of Victorian Literature,first because much of the writings of the Victorian period were concerned with socialproblems of that time such as the effect of the Industrial Revolution, also, because of anintensive production of literary works that this period witnessed, especially Novels thatdeal with social realities during the Industrial Revolution.