David Copperfield: Chapter 1 - Critical Summary

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Chapter 1: I Am Born

      David Copperfield was born posthumously at 12 o'clock on a Friday night in the month of March at 'The Rookery' Blunderstone, Suffolk, England. His father died six months before his birth.

      David's father's aunt Miss Betsey Trotwood was the main figure in the family. His father lost his aunt's respect and love when he married Clara Copperfield - a girl half of his age. Miss Betsey called David's mother Clara, a "wax doll'. David's mother was only twenty years old when she married Mr. Copperfield. Miss. Betsey's husband too was handsome and younger than her but their marriage proved to be a failure. It was said that her husband had beaten her. So Miss Betsey Trotwood paid his share and got a separation. Ten years later it was heard that he died in India.

      It was a Friday afternoon. Clara Copperfield, David's mother sat weeping in the parlor by the fire. She was very soon disturbed to see a strange lady peeping into the window, frowning and gesturing to her to open the door. It was Miss Betsey Trotwood. Clara led her inside and broke down into tears. Miss Trotwood said, "Tut, Tut" and asked her to remove her cap. Clara did as she was told. As her beautiful hair hung around her face, she felt Miss Trotwood would touch her hair gently.

      Mrs. Copperfield was expected to give birth to a child. Miss Betsey was sure that Mrs. Copperfield would give birth to a girl child. She intended to be her god-mother and wished that the baby would be called Betsey Trotwood Copperfield. Mrs. Copperfield was troubled by the abrupt appearance and manner of Miss Trotwood. She became ill with labor pains.

      The maid servant Peggotty brought tea, bread and candles. She was sent to call the doctor when she found Clara to be ill. After a while, the child was born and the doctor announced, when inquired by the aunt, that the child was a boy. Miss Trotwood was disappointed and she took out her anger on Dr. Chillip. Taking her bonnet by the strings, she then walked out of the house, never to return to the house again.

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