Wednesday, March 4, 2009

A favorite character

There are so many excellent female characters in literature, and I've always found it very hard to choose a favorite. Through the years, however, one Dickens heroine has become dearer to me--Agnes Wickfield of David Copperfield. Though I have always been drawn to her, I can now better appreciate her patience, her loyalty, and, above all, her desire to sacrifice herself for her loved ones for the love of God. Agnes quietly does her duty, happily and joyfully. She never complains, and she always tries to see the best in everyone, though she is no fool. Her devotion to David is a most beautiful example of true friendship, a friendship which never wavers because she wants only what is best for him; and she proves this by her actions as well as her words. All the while she is learning, too.

Just recently I have begun to see the parallels between these characters and my beloved Dante and Beatrice. Agnes is Beatrice to David's Dante; she guides him ever higher and closer to heaven over a long and often difficult path. She counsels him when she sees him straying from the right road and, though he doesn't always listen to her, she remains steadfast in her faithfulness to him. Only after many trials have befallen him does David begin to see Agnes for who she really is.

David Copperfield ends with David's beautiful words to Agnes, which are reminiscent of Dante's words to Beatrice at the end of Vita Nuova. David says:

Oh Agnes, Oh my soul, so may thy face be by me when I close my life indeed; so may I, when realities are melting from me, like the shadows which I now dismiss, still find thee near me, pointing upward!"

Upward to God. That is where both Beatrice and Agnes lead the ones they love, always lifting them higher. I pray that I will always do the same for those I love. May God grant my request.


  1. Oh, wow. Now I'm really envious. You've read Dickens? wow. I'm honored to be in the presence (digitally, anyway) of such a well-read person. I really must read Dickens.

    Anyway, beautiful post. as an answer to your question about knitting mysteries, try died in the wool, by Mry Kruger. It's a very good one, emotionally and mentally intriguing. I'm trying to struggle through the rest of the knitting mysteries, but I find myself explicatly drawn to Kruger. frankly, her characters and works are of more interest to me, though she only has 2 books in her knitting mystery series out. Also, if you like teen lit, you might like the Chicks with Sticks trilogy. It's out of print, so check them out at the library, but they are pretty good. First time I've felt like I can relate with a teen in my life. literally. It meets me halfway, bringing the typical teen trials, as well as the wonderfully obsessive knitting that I so enjoy. tell me what you think of them.

  2. And as to the yarn, yes, it's gorgeous! I love it! I wish I were rich, so I could buy it all! or at least a spinning wheel. how beautiful! I wonder if I could ever learn . . . sigh. wishful thinking. :)

  3. Dickens is great--quite verbose, but his characters are so interesting; for starters, David Copperfield is really good, and so is A Tale of Two Cities. Thank you for the tips on knit-lit! I have a friend here, an Englishwoman who spins her own yarn, dyes it, and knits it! Can you imagine? She knits beautifully too. Wouldn't it be great to have a spinning wheel? I've wanted one ever since I first heard the story of Cinderella. I know, she pricked her finger and fell asleep for a very long time; but it was all worth it in the end! :-)

  4. I meant Sleeping Beauty, of course. I'd better go now; it's after midnight and my coach just turned back into a pumpkin. :-)

  5. I love Dickens! Nicholas Nickleby and Oliver Twist have been prominent for me since 2nd grade, I've always loved them.

  6. When I was twenty I lived in a little loft room in a flat in London; it was like a page from a Dickens novel to look out of the window and across the rooftops. Amazing! Dickens is really good, isn't he? :-)