The Initiation of David Copperfield the Younger: A Ritual Passage in Three Acts

  • Carolyn Buckley LaRocque


‘I am born.’ Thus Dickens opens one of the finest chronicles of liminality and ritual passage recorded in the English-speaking world. These most fictional of all liminal rites, the rites which contrive to transform boy into man through the symbol and artifice of dramatic action, are nowhere more clearly drawn than in Dickens’s famous account of the London-to-Dover trek of the young David Copperfield. In the boy’s passage from the captivity of a childhood smothered in the clutches of Murdstone and Grinby to the halcyon prospects of an adolescence under the wing of that guardian spirit of birth and family, the androgynous Aunt Betsey, each stage of these perennial rites is brought to life by Dickens with absolute precision.


Decisive Separation Opening Rite Religious Meaning Paternal Aunt Aldine Publishing 
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Copyright information

© Carol Hanbery MacKay 1989

Authors and Affiliations

  • Carolyn Buckley LaRocque

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