David Copperfield

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OXFORD BOOKWORMS LIBRARY STAGE 2. 11. XXX. © Oxford University P ress ... Wickfield's partner. 5 James Steerforth to David, about studying at Oxford.

David Copperfield


Before Reading



1 Yes 2 Yes 3 No 4 No 5 No 6 No 7 Yes 8 No ACTIVITY 2 BEFORE READING

Encourage students to speculate and to make guesses, but do not tell them the answers. They will find out as they read that the ‘yes’ answers are 2, 4, 5, 6 (with Dora, and with Agnes) and 8 (his mother and his first wife).

While Reading


1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9


1 Because she wanted to bring up a girl and prevent her from making the mistakes she had made in life. 2 David’s mother married Mr Murdstone. 3 Miss Murdstone, Mr Murdstone’s sister. 4 Because he had bitten Mr Murdstone’s hand when Mr Murdstone had beaten him. 5 Because she wanted to give David a purse with eight shillings in it, and a paper bag full of her special cakes. 6 The message was ‘Barkis is willing’. 7 Tommy Traddles and James Steerforth. 8 James Steerforth said he would take care of it for David, and then spent it all on food and drink, which all the boys shared. 8 David’s mother had a new baby, and was not looking well.

Uriah Heep. Miss Murdstone. Tommy Traddles. Mr Micawber. Peggotty and her brother Daniel. James Steerforth. Miss Julia Mills. Betsey Trotwood. Uriah Heep and his mother.


Open answers. Encourage speculation and discussion, but do not confirm or deny students’ guesses. They will find out as they read that the ‘yes’ answer is number 1. CHAPTERS 8 AND 9 WHILE READING



Encourage students to speculate and to make guesses, but do not tell them the answers. They will find out as they read that the ‘yes’ answers are numbers 1 and 4.


Encourage students to speculate and to make guesses, but do not tell them the answers. They will find out as they read that the ‘yes’ answer is number 2.

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1 T 2 F Dora could not accept the fact that David was now poor. 3 F Miss Murdstone found David’s letters to Dora, and told Mr Spenlow about them. 4 T 5 T 6 T 7 F Dora knew she was not the perfect wife for David. 8 F David was unable to share his problems and worries with Dora. 9 F Daniel Peggotty finally managed to find Emily in London.

1 David went home because his mother had died. 2 Peggotty took David to Yarmouth to stay with her brother Daniel, and Ham and Emily. 3 The Murdstones arranged a job for David in a bottle warehouse. 4 David was deeply ashamed of his new job, and hated it. 5 David became very fond of the Micawber family. 6 Mr Micawber was sent to prison because he could not pay his debts.



1 Betsey Trotwood to Mr Dick, about young David. 2 Mr Murdstone to Betsey Trotwood, about David. 3 Betsey Trotwood to Mr Murdstone, about his report on David’s character. 4 Uriah Heep to David, about becoming Mr Wickfield’s partner. 5 James Steerforth to David, about studying at Oxford University. 6 Daniel Peggotty to David, about Emily’s engagement to Ham. 7 David to his aunt, about becoming a lawyer. 8 Agnes to David, about Steerforth.

7 Uriah Heep said this to David, pretending to be grateful for polite words and any act of kindness. He also pretended to be humble and without ambition, but in fact was ambitious, greedy, and dishonest. Because he did not want people to suspect his evil plans, he always thanked people in the most oily way. 8 Mr Murdstone said this to his new wife, Clara, because she was too kind and sympathetic towards young David, her son. He thought that showing love for the boy was a sign of weakness, and that all children needed rules and punishment. These remarks show him to be a cruel, insensitive man.



1 Firstly, that he had lied to his partner so often that Mr Wickfield thought he himself had been dishonest. Secondly, that he had copied Mr Wickfield’s signature on to false documents and cheques. Lastly, that he had stolen large amounts of money from Mr Wickfield and the firm. 2 It meant that she was able to get her money back. 3 Australia, because it was a new country, with a lot of business opportunities, where ‘something could easily turn up’. 4 James Steerforth. 5 He died while bravely trying to rescue the last surviving sailor (Steerforth) on the wrecked ship. 6 It was David.


Acceptable answers to these cloze passages are any words that have an appropriate meaning and fit the structure of the sentence. Students might like to check each other’s work and discuss alternative answers. Some alternatives are given below. 1 David’s letter to Agnes, telling her about his engagement to Dora ‘I simply cannot believe how very lucky (fortunate) I am! I know you will want (wish) to congratulate me on my great happiness (fortune). She is by far the most beautiful girl I’ve ever seen, with her soft (long, etc.) golden hair, blue eyes, and lovely, sweet (blushing, smiling, etc.) face! I am wildly, desperately in love with her, and she has just agreed (promised) to marry me! Of course, we have to keep this engagement of ours secret for a while . . .’ 2 Miss Murdstone’s conversation with Mr Spenlow, telling him she has found David’s love letters to Dora ‘Sir, there is something that I ought (have) to tell you. I’m afraid your daughter has not been behaving as a young lady should. When she returned from her last visit to Miss Mills, I suspected (thought, realized) something was wrong, and I have just (now) found the proof in her room – love letters from a young man who works in your office. There is no question of his marrying Miss Dora. He’s too young, has no money, and is quite (completely, most, etc.) unsuitable.’ 3 Betsey Trotwood’s letter to Mr Murdstone, just after David had arrived at her house in Dover ‘I understand that you are the stepfather of David Copperfield, my nephew’s son, who arrived on my doorstep yesterday, looking dirty (dusty, etc.), hungry, and exhausted, after walking all the way from London. I hear you sent him there to work in a warehouse – a child of ten! If you wish (want) to discuss the boy’s future, you may (can, must) come here to see me …’

After Reading

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1 Barkis, the cart-driver, meant that he was ready to marry Peggotty. He was good-hearted and reliable, but a man of few words, and a slow thinker, so this was the closest he could get to a proposal of marriage. 2 Miss Betsey Trotwood, David’s aunt, said this to Mr Dick, her companion. She wanted to encourage him, and show him that she approved of him, as she believed he was intelligent and sensible, although his family said he was mad. This was a good example of her kindness to people generally, though it was often hidden behind a stern manner. 3 James Steerforth said this, after he had just visited Emily in Yarmouth. He was expressing his selfish wish to do whatever he liked. He did not care about other people’s opinions, or if anyone suffered because of his actions. 4 Dora said this to her new husband David. She knew she was silly and inexperienced, and wanted David to love her for what she was, a foolish, loving, innocent young girl, rather than be disappointed with her because she wasn’t a practical, sensible wife. 5 Mr Micawber, in prison for debt himself at the time, said this to David. It was his way of explaining how important it was not to get into debt. He wanted to be able to pay his debts and live within his income, but was never able to. The remark showed him to be well-meaning, in that he understood the problem, and what the answer was. He just couldn’t manage to live this way himself. 6 Agnes said this to David, expressing her warm friendship for him (and in fact her love, though David did not know this). Whenever David was unhappy or in trouble, she comforted and helped him with encouragement and unselfish advice.


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DANIEL: No, my dear, they wouldn’t, and we wouldn’t need to tell them. It’s a new country, you see, where nobody knows anybody else. We could start a new life there. EMILY: Oh, Uncle, I’ve been so wicked! DANIEL: Wicked? It’s not you who’s been wicked! It’s that … No, I can’t speak about him calmly. That’s all behind us now. EMILY: When shall we go to Australia then, Uncle? DANIEL: As soon as the next ship sails, my dear! ACTIVITY 4 AFTER READING

3+6+10 5+12+9 7+14+1 11+4+15 13+2+8 I learnt today that Copperfield can’t steal Agnes from me because he’s engaged to another young lady, so I don’t have to worry about him as a rival. He stayed to dinner tonight and after the ladies had left us, I raised my glass and drank to Agnes’s health. Old Wickfield had been drinking a lot and was quite drunk, but when I said that I admired and loved his daughter, the silly old fool almost went mad. He shouted and screamed so wildly that the lovely Agnes heard him and came into the room to take him away. I know they all dislike me, but I don’t care what any of them think, because I know I’ll get what I want in the end!



Students can complete this conversation how they like. Suggested answers are: DANIEL: What! Is it . . .? Yes, it is! Emily! I’ve found you at last! EMILY: Uncle, leave me! Let me die here! DANIEL: Die? No, that would be wrong! Come away from the side of the bridge! EMILY: Why should I want to live, after the wrong I’ve done? DANIEL: But you have everything to live for, a young girl like you, Emily! And as for the wrong you’ve done, well, I forgive you – and so does Ham! EMILY: You really forgive me? DANIEL: Yes, we do. We still love you, Emily. Now, come home to Yarmouth with me. You’ll be safe there. EMILY: No, no, I can never go back there! DANIEL: Never? You never want to see the houseboat again, or Ham, or Peggotty, or Master David? EMILY: No, I’d be too ashamed to face them all. DANIEL: Well, well, I can understand that, my dear. I tell you what we could do! You and I could go to live in Australia. EMILY: Would they know about – about my past there?



4 Dora’s last conversation with Agnes, just before her death ‘Oh, thank you so much for coming to see me. I have something particular (important, etc.) to ask you, before I leave this world.’ ‘Oh, my dear, I’ll do anything (whatever) you want!’ ‘Perhaps you have guessed what it is. It’s about David. We’ve been so happy together.’ ‘Dear David! He’ll miss you so much!’ ‘Yes, but I don’t want him to be sad and lonely (miserable, etc.) all his life. I want him to be happy. You are so much wiser (cleverer, etc.) and more sensible than I am. Will you do this for me? When I am gone, will you fill the empty place in his heart?’ 5 Mr Micawber’s letter to David, arranging the meeting in Canterbury when he proves Uriah Heep’s dishonesty ‘My dear friend, I am writing to ask you and your aunt to come to Mr Heep’s office in Canterbury tomorrow morning. Heep, my employer, who is no friend of yours, is the most evil (dishonest, etc.) man in England! And I have proof of his wickedness, which I shall show (give, explain) to you all at our meeting.’

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Open answers. Encourage discussion.

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