A distrust of myself,

Category: Mind | Type: Discussion | Title: David Copperfield (in Context) | Author: Charles Dickens | Ch: I Look About Me, and Make a Discovery

David's familiar lack of confidence engenders a deference before those who are older, more knowing, and, he thinks, more accomplished. His distrust of himself does not afflict him when he confronts Dr. Strong, who is much older and learned but himself unworldly. 

Were he to become less innocent and more cynical, he would not feel so unconfident with those who are. But the problem Dickens addresses is how David can be sufficiently sure of himself while retaining his innocence. The Rookery, the Ark, and Wickfield's house nurtured or protected innocence. The world seems to require the loss of what is best in childhood if we are to succeed as adults. This is unacceptable to Dickens.

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