Like most of Charles Dickens’s novels, David Copperfield is long. The 2004 Penguin Classics edition of David Copperfield is just shy of 900 pages. The following is a short summary of Dickens’s sizable text:
David Copperfield’s widowed mom marries a cruel man. He physically abuses David before jettisoning him to boarding school, where he faces further abuse. After his mom and little brother die, David’s stepdad takes him out of school and makes him work for his wine-bottling factory in London even though he is not even a teen yet.
In London, David meets the kind but downtrodden Micawbers. When Mr. Micawber is locked up, David seeks out his willful but heartfelt aunt, Miss Betsey. His aunt protects him from his stepdad and sends him to a decent school.
Miss Betsey finds herself facing serious financial hardship. Due to a bitter, spiteful man, Uriah Heep, Miss Betsey appears to loose most of her money. However, Miss Betsey doesn’t expose Heep’s treachery out of concern for her longtime associate, Mr. Wickfield.
Mr. Micawber returns to help expose Heep’s devious dealings. Heep winds up in prison. David winds up taking care of Miss Betsey. He also becomes a writer and marries a woman named Dora.
Dora and David’s marriage does not end happily ever after. Dora suffers a miscarriage and dies. Things work out much better with Agnes, Mr. Wickfield’s daughter. David and Agnes marry, start a family, and live, more or less, happily ever after.