He is better able to judge of it than I am; for I very well know that I am a weak, light, girlish creature, and that he is a firm, grave, serious man.

Category: Mind | Type: Discussion | Title: David Copperfield (in Context) | Author: Charles Dickens | Ch: My Holidays. Especially One Happy Afternoon

As noted, the accepted view of the genders (Search "gender" for this novel in the annotations) is that women are weak, men firm. In her case Clara has acted on that premise even when she married David's father, and Betsey Trotwood declared her more child than bride.

Naturally, younger people are vulnerable to believing what is thought of them. The sign "He Bites" suggests to David that he is a vicious dog. What distinguished David from his mother is that he did bite.

Dickens may be more autobiographical than he intended in showing how the combined wills of the Murdstones can dominate Clara's mind. Dickens's own will accomplished something like this in his marriage.

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