1. "Annual income twenty pounds, annual expenditure nineteen
nineteen six, result happiness. Annual income twenty pounds, annual expenditure
twenty pounds ought and six, result misery."
Mr Micawber, who has recently been imprisoned for debt, tells
David the rule of happiness in life - a rule he himself has failed to follow.
2. "David, I wish to God I had had a judicious father these
last twenty years! . . . I wish with all my soul I had been better guided! . .
. I wish with all my soul I could guide myself better!"
Steerforth laments his lack of a father and the lack of good
guidance, and self-guidance, in his life. His words play into a major theme of
the novel: the importance of wise parenting, which fosters a disciplined heart.
3. "Ah, Trot!...blind, blind, blind!"
Betsey delivers her verdict on David's plan to marry Dora,
with whom she is less than impressed. Knowing how hard married life can be,
Betsey believes that David has chosen his wife-to-be unwisely, disregarding the
qualities that would be helpful to him.
4. "It was impossible to say to that sweet little surprised
face, otherwise than lightly and playfully, that we must work, to live.
"'Oh! How ridiculous!" cried Dora. 'Why should you?"
"'How shall we live without, Dora?' said I.
"'How? Any how!' said Dora."
This exchange shows the gulf that separates David, who is
fully aware of the necessity to earn money in order to avoid starvation, from
his fianc´┐Że, who has no concept of responsibility.
5. "'When I was quite a young boy,' said Uriah, 'I got to
know what umbleness did, and I took to it. I ate umble pie with an appetite. I
stopped at the umble point of my learning, and says I, "Hard hard!" When you
offered to teach me Latin, I knew better. "People like to be above you," says
father, "keep yourself down." I am very umble to the present moment, Master
Copperfield, but I've got a little power!'"
Uriah Heep explains his strategy for gaining power in life
in spite of his poor upbringing. The fact that it has largely worked is an
indictment of the vanity of a hierarchical society, in which many people like
to look down on others.
6. ". whatever I have tried to do in life, I have tried with
all my heart to do well; that whatever I have devoted myself to, I have devoted
myself to completely ...in great aims and in small, I have always been
thoroughly in earnest."
David explains his approach to life, an approach that
Dickens presents sympathetically and appears to endorse. David goes on to
define earnestness as attempting to gain his ends from "steady, plain,
7. "'A poor fellow with a craze, sir,' said Mr. Dick, 'a
simpleton, a weak-minded person - present company, you know!' striking himself
again, 'may do what wonderful people may not do.'"
Mr. Dick, knowing that he is simple-minded, feels that he
may be able to restore harmony to the troubled marriage of the Strongs, when
the "wonderful" people - David and Betsey - may not. Dickens shows the value of
earnestness, a quality that Mr. Dick has, over the qualities of intelligence
and sophistication that David and Betsey have - even though the latter
qualities are far more prized by the world.
8. "There can be no disparity in marriage like unsuitability
of mind and purpose."
Annie Strong expresses how glad she is that she chose to
marry Dr. Strong rather than Jack Maldon, with whom she has nothing in common.
Although she is far younger than Dr. Strong (a disparity that makes onlookers
assume that she only married him for his money and that she really loves Jack),
she and her husband love and honor one another. The Strongs' marriage is a
truly happy one, and stands in contrast with David's marriage with Dora, which
is blighted by unsuitability of mind and purpose.
9. "What they done, is laid up wheer neither moth nor rust
doth corrupt, and wheer thieves do not break through nor steal. Mas'r Davy,
it'll outlast all the treasure in the wureld."
Mr. Peggotty expresses his gratitude for the unknown
foreigners who rescued Little Em'ly after her flight from Littimer. Frequently
in the novel, Dickens emphasizes the importance of kindness and charity which
is given without thought of any return.
10. ". they undergo a continual punishment; for they are
turned inward, to feed upon their own hearts, and their own hearts are very bad
Mr. Chillip describes to David the fate of the Murdstones,
who are punished for their cruel treatment of Mr. Murdstone's new wife. It is
consistent with the novel's simple moral structure, which shows bad things
happening to bad people and good things happening to good people. Even if bad
characters escape external punishments, as the Murdstones do, they are subject
to internal torment.