78 pages 2 hours read

Charles Dickens

David Copperfield

Fiction | Novel | Adult | Published in 1850

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Chapters 58-64Chapter Summaries & Analyses

Chapter 58 Summary: “Absence”

David mourns the deaths of Ham, Steerforth, and Dora. To process his grief, David travels abroad, settling in a Swiss valley just beyond the Alps.

 

One day, David receives a packet of letters from Agnes. In these letters, she expresses her confidence in David, her belief that his grief will become strengthen him. Reading these letters, David realizes he loves Agnes, and has loved her all along. He resolves to spend the year restoring his mental and physical health before telling Agnes how he feels.

Chapter 59 Summary: “Return”

When David returns home, he finds the environment uncannily changed and familiar at the same time. After inquiring about Traddles at the inn (and feeling dismayed that no one has any news about him), David literally stumbles upon his office.

 

Traddles is delighted to see David. He tells David that he has recently married Sophy. Though Traddles has not had material success, he is happy in life, contented by the simple sound of Sophy’s “musical” laughter.

 

David experiences a mix of pleasure and sadness as he observes the intimate day-to-day interactions of Traddles and Sophy. After he leaves, he worries that he will never experience this kind of relationship with Agnes.

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