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David Copperfield

  • Essay length: 3100 words
  • Submitted: 07/10/2007
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GCSE David Copperfield

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David Copperfield

How does Charles Dickens create a sense of tension in this extract?

We have a read a short abridged extract from 'David Copperfield' where he returns home after a holiday to find he's got a stepfather. In this extract, Dickens uses a variety of techniques to build tension.

The extract starts with a very positive atmosphere. David is having a holiday in a quiet seaside Yarmouth town with his maid's family, whom he likes. Everything is so peaceful and calm and David is happy.

Then the third paragraph starts with a very short sentence. 'At last the day came for going home.' The short sentence suggests his return might not be a very happy one. The day he went home was a 'cold grey afternoon, with a dull sky, threatening rain.' This technique is called pathetic fallacy, where the weather reflects the mood.

When David reaches home (expecting a huge welcome from his mother), he is received by a 'strange servant'. This has a hint of shock in it because the reader wonders why Copperfield's mother hadn't given him the welcome he expected. Was something wrong?

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