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Word Count: 704
Comparing the use of books in Mill on the Floss and David Copperfield In David Copperfield Dickens employs books and learning to read as a means to demonstrate the irrationality and hatefulness of Mr Murdstone and his sister In these scenes David is obviously quite young and just beginning to conquer the world of letters which had been an agreeable task at his mothers knee before she remarried Mr Murdstone and his sister however see this as an opportunity to force their concept of firmness on both David and his mother Just as Dickens used books and learning how to read to comment on the cruelty of Victorian notions of child rearing George Eliot used books to illustrate the unfairness of gender bias during that same era Eliots protagonist Maggie Tulliver is extremely bright undoubtedly brighter then her brother Tom whom her father will sacrifice for in order to provide him with an education However Maggies ability to read her thirst for knowledge and her natural independence are met with condemnation rather then encouragement For example Eliot writes that Maggie shut up the book at once with a sense of disgrace p 491 The text makes it clear that Maggie is expected to fit the Victorian mold for womanhood which includes being submissive and passive leaving education to the males Three incidents in which Dickens uses the point of view of David as a child Dickens was a master at portraying the narrative through a childs point of view This becomes quickly evident as David first of all relates his first perceptions of his mother and Peggotty p 473 As David describes attending church as a small child he includes details that show the perspective of a childWhat a high-backed pew p 474 Also his reaction to his mothers remarriage from the viewpoint of a child who doesnt understand and also doesnt comprehend how his mother could fail to understand his sorrow p
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