From the Cradle to the Altar: The Comparison of Female and Male Development in Dickens' Bildungsromans: Bleak House and David Copperfield

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In my dissertation I investigate three important aspects of Bleak House and David Copperfield. In the first chapter the emphasis is on the comparison of personal development in the case of a female and a male protagonist. The different narrative technique of the two novels results in a distinct self-definition from the protagonist’s point of view, whose alternation in terms of gender qualities is obvious. It is not only their behaviour which makes 2 them dissimilar, but their representation by the author is an immediate reflection of nineteenth-century social hierarchy. In the second chapter, focusing on the analysis of parental relationship, I try to point out the diverse and colourful characterisation in Dickens, which is the basis of an entertaining surface plot. However, if we take a closer look at the possible mother and father figures of the novels it becomes obvious that Bleak House and David Copperfield are not only about an exciting fairy-tale. In the process of maturation the protagonists experience a serious psychological development and they have to fight an exacting battle to come to terms with their childhood traumas caused by the missing parents.

Bildungsroman, Dickens, Charles