DAVID COPPERFIELD: 3100 HEADWORDS (OXFORD PROGRESSIVE ENGLISH REA DERS, GRADE 3)
Dickens's heavily autobiographical novel describing a young man's rise in the world is a classic coming-of-age story. David Copperfield, the narrator, is orphaned at a tender age and raised first by his brutal stepfather (who halts his schooling and sends him to work in a factory--as did Dickens's own father), then by a kindly aunt. He trains for a career in law, but eventually becomes a writer. An ill-advised marriage brings him considerable unhappiness, but not long after his wife's death he is reunited with his childhood sweetheart. A sprawling portrait of life in Victorian England, DAVID COPPERFIELD is perhaps Dickens's most popular work, and it contains many of the characters--Mr. Micawber, Uriah Heep, Betsey Trotwood, Steerforth, and Little Emily--who gave Dickens his reputation as the finest literary portraitist of his age.