The story of David Copperfield is well known. Born after his father’s death, David spends some happy years tended by his pretty mother and her devoted servant, Clara Pegotty. The marriage of his mother to the cold-hearted Edward Murdstone and the arrival into the house oh his nasty sister, Miss Jane Murdstone, brings a sharp change in the boy’s life. Both Murdstone and his sister insist that David’s mother must be “firm” in bringing up the the boy, and the poor woman, who is submissive and weak, allows them to take complete control. When she dies of a broken heart – as a result of Murdstone’s harsh treatment of her – David is sent to work in London. The boy, who is only ten, must wash and label bottles at the firm of Murdstone and Grinby.
When they are sent to the debtors’ prison, David seeks help with his great-aunt Betsey Trotwood. She takes care of him and sends him to an excellent school in Canterbury; she also helps him find lodgings with Mr Wickfield, a lawyer who lives with his young daughter, Agnes. David begins to write poetry, and also learns shortland so he can become a parliamentary reporter; he marries a sweet but superficial girl, Dora Spenlow, but soon realises that she is too immature to be a good wife.
His first book is a great success, but David’s happiness is ruined by Dora’s death. In the end he realizes that he has always loved Agnes Wickfield, and the two get married. David becomes a famous writer.