Illustration of Imagination in David Copperfield

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      Introduction. David Copperfield a successful novel is the one which has a blend of fact and Imagination. If the writer indulges in fact alone, his work descends to the level of a historical record; if the writer indulges too much in fancy his novel would be treated as nothing better than a fable. Inventions of an able writer cannot but symbolize the emotional reality because they are truer than the fact. Like any other successful novelist Dickens also had made profound efforts tremendously in the work of evaluating influences that had shaped him as he was. He labored to understand himself and the meaning of his own experiences. Dora is only a fanciful creation but those who know the amorous background of the author can read more in these lines describing David's infatuation for the doll-like simple girl who was a practical zero in the affairs of the world.

      Autobiographical Element. No one can deny the fact that there are many autobiographical elements in David Copperfield. But the writer has put in tremendous effort to blend fact and fiction adequately in order to present the reader with a finished work of art. Had it not been for that we could never have accounted for the fact that David Copperfield is an enchanting piece of literature. The special charm of David Copperfield is the success that it has in capturing the poignant experience of childhood as narrated by a child of uncommon maturity faced with the terrifying facts of life. The orphaned child is further tortured by Murdstone and others but he runs away from the scene to shape his own future.

      Freshness of Childhood Tenderness. The earlier chapters deal with the boyhood days of David. The flavor and freshness of early childhood that cannot be blighted by the activities of ruthless conspirators as has been vividly painted in David Copperfield. Maternal love is experienced by David for only a short period till his mother commits the blunder of marrying such a merciless creature as Murdstone. The hardness and frightening wrath make us realize that the society is not a group of tenderhearted individuals alone. It provides shelter to the geese even as it harbors crocodiles. It is not merely a garden of blooming roses but it contains many, desolate graveyards as well.

      Personal Experiences give Imaginative Colouring. No one would have realized that the novel, David Copperfield had not given an imaginative coloring to the mere narration of personal experiences. The reader does not care for Dickens's personal experiences. What he wants is an imaginative and psychological presentation of those experiences in the light of universal experiences. The unhealed wound of Dickens's early life cannot evoke the sympathy of the ordinary reader unless the author himself so conceals it as to make it seem a wound in the universal heart itself. No reader is to be expected by the author to feel interested in an author's personal adventures and misadventures. The author himself must make the reader feel that the same thing may happen to his own heart, if not now at least in the future. Herein does the faculty of imagination play its role. The similarities in the life of the author and the hero—' Learning of short hand, success as a writer, happy and unhappy experiences at school and warehouses and the like— have to be impersonalized by means of circumvention and indirection before presenting them to the readers.

      Tenderness of Motherhood. Dickens's mother who suffered the experience and improvident recklessness of John Dickens finds a parallel in the story in the person of Mrs. Micawber. In painting this fact of his own life, ample use of fancy and imaginative ability has been made by the author. Dickens’s conception of the angelic quality and tenderness of maternal love has been fully revealed to us in the pages of David Copperfield through the characters like Peggotty, Mrs. Micawber etc. Fancy plays a very significant role in the development of these.

      Incidents of Pure Imagination. Many instances or events that have no trace in the personal life of Dickens are found all through his novels, such as the torturing of Clara by Murdstone despite the fact that he loved her much. Here the sole factor is imagination and that too is in plenty.

      Traddles loves the Micawber family, the trace of courage and industry inherent in them despite the vicissitudes of life partly brought about by themselves, by their own blunders, and partly by the machination of others. Mrs. Micawber is an artistic imitation of his own mother.

      Dickens did not run away from the blacking factory where he worked but in the recesses of his heart, he had harbored such a desire. Hence the author makes David run away from the warehouse. The author does not stop merely after transplanting is painful experience into the life of his hero but gives it a beautiful glow bringing the faculty of imagination to full play. A psychological analysis will thus reveal the artistic treasures in the novel. The novelist introduces significant changes. Dickens was in a good school before he went to warehouse and to a better school thereafter. The artistic and artful reversal of the sequence is intentional. Thus Dickens wants us to note that autobiographical materials can be effectively used only when the author can control and shape them.

      Freud and Dickens. Freud admired David Copperfield and though the method of his analysis is limited yet it is very interesting. David was born with a caul, the fetal membrane sticking to his head. Freud also was born with a caul. Hence his interest in the novel. The psychoanalyst, therefore, had a singular kind of admiration for it. He was drawn to the novel, its brilliant symbolic expression of situations and themes which the great scientist explored in his own fashion. David the orphan was probably in search of a second mother. When he meets Dora his search ends as it were. He falls in love with a doll-like girl who had all the attractions and limitations of his own mother who turned out to be a child-wife. The orphan was feeling the necessity of having to replace what he had lost with an identical substitute. This makes him blind. Of course in the case of his love for Agnes, the experiences of friendship and love become more complicated. David wearily pursues his way towards a disciplined attitude involving attention to suitability of mind and purpose in personal relations. But the needs of the orphan's undisciplined heart impelled him through other channels.

      Thus we find that the author of David Copperfield makes use of fact and fancy in a masterly manner.

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