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Dickens portrayal of the family in David Copperfield is an interesting one almost none of the characters has a complete family There are countless examples of orphans single parents and even completely heretical perversions of the traditional family The effect of these fragmented homes is to emphasize characters loneliness the fragility of the family and the importance of forming other bonds of friendship and responsibility Dickens came from a large poor family and argues that family is not to be solely relied upon also that a family must not necessarily be based upon blood ties A family can be any group of people who love and support each other in the novel both Mr Peggottys family and Davids family are such examples On the other hand Steerforths family albeit more traditional is a loveless one and splinters easily Mr Peggottys family is one of the sturdiest families in the novel At the same time it is most certainly the least traditional Daniel Peggotty is the head of the family he is the generous manly father figure He not only takes in Ham and Emily as orphans but also makes a home for Mrs Gummidge the widow of his partner Mrs Gummidges role in the family is an odd one She had rather a fretful disposition and she whimpered more sometimes than was comfortable for other parties in so small an establishment 35 Mrs Gummidge would have no proper place in a traditional family but in Peggottys family is a loved member who throughout the plot changes considerably from a simple nag to a strong support Ham has the role of son to Mr Peggotty and brother to Emily He is strong and becomes a fisherman under the guidance of Daniel Emily is the baby of the family she is spoiled and constantly doted on She is also the binding agent of this family she is beloved by all and when she elopes it is near
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