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David Copperfield | Study Guide

Charles Dickens

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David Copperfield | Chapter Summaries

See Chapter Summaries Chart

Timeline of Events

  • Early 1800s; March

    David Copperfield is born at Blunderstone, Suffolk, England.

    Chapter 1
  • Eight years later

    David is sent to Salem House boarding school; he meets Steerforth and Traddles.

    Chapter 5
  • March; seven months later

    David's mother dies.

    Chapter 9
  • 11 months later

    David must fend for himself at the Murdstone and Grinby's warehouse in London.

    Chapter 11
  • Six to 12 months later

    David is adopted by Miss Betsey; he enrolls in Dr. Strong's school and meets Agnes Wickfield.

    Chapter 15
  • About six years later

    David studies to be a proctor; has rooms in London; falls instantly in love with Dora Spenlow.

    Chapter 26
  • About five years later

    David is a successful novelist, married to Dora; Dora becomes ill and dies.

    Chapter 43
  • Autumn; months later

    David witnesses the deaths of Steerforth and Ham in a storm at Yarmouth.

    Chapter 55
  • Weeks later

    David grieves as he travels through Europe; he begins to write again.

    Chapter 58
  • Three years later

    David returns to England; he and Agnes declare their love for each other and marry.

    Chapter 62

Chapter Summaries Chart

Chapter Summary
Preface to the Charles Dickens Edition (1867) Charles Dickens says he feels sad about saying goodbye to the story characters he has come to like so much. He feels as ... Read More
Chapters 1–3 David Copperfield tells the reader he was born at Blunderstone Rookery, in Suffolk, England, six months after the deat... Read More
Chapters 4–6 David Copperfield feels alone and dejected when his mother, under Mr. Murdstone's influence, curbs her natural impulse... Read More
Chapters 7–9 Mr. Creakle flogs the students at Salem House every day. Tommy Traddles, described by David Copperfield as "very honor... Read More
Chapters 10–12 After Clara's funeral, Miss Murdstone fires Peggotty, who decides to go to Yarmouth where her brother lives. She promi... Read More
Chapters 13–15 David Copperfield walks to Dover. Along the way, he sells his waistcoat and his jacket to buy food, and he sleeps outd... Read More
Chapters 16–18 David Copperfield meets Doctor Strong, head of his new school, and his pretty, young wife, Annie Strong. In addition t... Read More
Chapters 19–21 David Copperfield finishes school and is having trouble deciding on a profession, so Miss Betsey suggests he might tak... Read More
Chapters 22–24 David Copperfield and James Steerforth stay in Yarmouth for about two weeks. Steerforth stays at the inn and spends ti... Read More
Chapters 25–27 Agnes Wickfield sends David Copperfield a note, and he goes to see her at the home of her father's London agent, Mr. W... Read More
Chapters 28–31 When David Copperfield plans for his second dinner party, he resolves to avoid the mistakes he made the first time. Mr... Read More
Chapters 32–34 David Copperfield admits he had never loved James Steerforth more than when the ties between them were broken. He thin... Read More
Chapters 35–37 Mr. Dick takes a room in the same place where Peggotty is staying. David Copperfield gives his room to Miss Betsey and... Read More
Chapters 38–40 David Copperfield applies himself to learning shorthand, and finds it very difficult. Tommy Traddles helps by slowly d... Read More
Chapters 41–43 David Copperfield is invited to meet with Dora Spenlow's maiden aunts at their home in Putney, and he takes Tommy Trad... Read More
Chapters 44–46 As happy as David Copperfield is to finally be with Dora, their domestic bliss is marred by the problems they encounte... Read More
Chapters 47–50 Mr. Peggotty and David Copperfield follow Martha Endell to a kind of wasteland and dumping area near the Thames River.... Read More
Chapters 51–53 Mr. Peggotty tells David Copperfield and Miss Betsey that Emily is staying at his lodging and he shares what Emily tol... Read More
Chapters 54–57 David Copperfield copes with his grief. He decides to go abroad as soon as the situation with Uriah Heep is resolved a... Read More
Chapters 58–61 David Copperfield goes abroad where, "left alone with [his] undisciplined heart," he copes with his grief over all he ... Read More
Chapters 62–64 David Copperfield falls into the habit of spending at least one evening a week with Agnes Wickfield. One day, he asks ... Read More
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