and so I wasn't provided for.'

Category: Daily Life | Type: Discussion | Title: David Copperfield (in Context) | Author: Charles Dickens | Ch: Tommy Traddles

To be "provided for"—to have a sufficient sum of money to buy one's way into an apprenticeship in the law, etc.—was the difference between becoming a "labouring hind" and entering just the fringe of the middle class. Traddles' history is not so different from David's, until he is inspired to search out Aunt Betsey.

Both histories reveal the vicissitudes of earlier 19th-c. English life, when there were no child protective services, no public education, and much sickness and early death. Dickens's knowledge of his own childhood revealed how powerless the child was. Working hard would not by itself release him from Murdstone and Grinby. 

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