Describing Someone With Two Words (David Copperfield Ch. 15)

Janet!  Donkies!

These two words completely and with great detail describe Mrs. Betsey Trottwood.

EPSON MFP imageAs stated by the book, her apparent quirkiness and meticulousness are both shown in two words.  The way that she constantly interrupts conversations to get rid of the donkeys, then comes right back as if nothing had happened.  Her strict brittle nature, how she sharply yells “Janet!” and expects her full attention while continuing “Donkies!”  It is better illustrated later, when she goes to beat the donkey-boys, sometimes assuming they know what is going on, when in fact they do not.  They way her yard that she tends to is described as “hallowed ground” simply because it is hers shows us a little bit of pride, but with a splash of naiveness.  She sees her work as something that should be respected, even by people who have no idea that she was the one doing it.

We looked at how Dickens’ physical descriptions of people can help us see their personalities, but here in the case of Mrs. Betsey Trotwood, her diction and tone is ample enough to see her personality even farther than it is described in the first chapter.  Close readings (or any kind of readings) of pretty much everything she says points to the same personality that she has.  I especially love how Dickens is able to change the way his characters speak, as if each of their dialogues were written by different people.

Make sure they aren’t any donkies on your lawn!

-Paulie 🙂


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