illustration of two young men standing in 19th century garb and looking at one another

David Copperfield

by Charles Dickens

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Write an essay about the recollection of childhood in David Copperfield.

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In writing an essay about the recollection of childhood in David Copperfield, it is important to bear in mind that David's recollections are not always completely accurate.

On the whole, the account that David gives us is reliable. But as he himself admits, he often finds it difficult to distinguish between impressions and actual remembrance. David is also honest enough to admit that there is often a “mist of fancy” hanging over well-attested facts.

Taking this into consideration, one could write an essay about the ambiguous nature of David’s recollections and whether we can justifiably regard him as a reliable narrator. One could also examine the extent to which David’s vivid memories, often presented to us in great detail, are more to do with constructing himself, with creating a self-image, than with giving us a completely reliable account of his childhood years.

After reading David Copperfield, we feel we know a lot about this remarkable character. But that still leaves us wondering just how much of what he’s told us about his childhood is true and how much of it has been obscured by the mist of fancy. This is an interesting question, one that could well form the basis of an equally interesting and insightful essay.

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