In Great Expectations (1860–1861), Magwich makes similar threats to the child protagonist Pip. In the first chapter he terrifies the small boy by saying:
A boy may lock his door, may be warm in bed, may tuck himself up, may draw the clothes over his head, may think himself comfortable and safe, but that young man will softly creep and creep his way to him and tear him open. I am a keeping that young man from harming of you at the present moment, with great difficulty. I find it wery hard to hold that young man off of your inside. Now, what do you say?
Although Betsey Trotwood’s house is set in Dover, the house actually described is one which still stands in the seaside resort of Broadstairs. It now operates as Broadstairs’ Dickens House Museum.
Dickens wrote much of David Copperfield while staying in Broadstairs, where he brought his family each summer from 1839 to 1851.
Although a suntan is now something to desired, during the nineteenth century it signified a labourer forced to work outside in the sun. Paleness was a sign of affluence, and it was common for women of means to shield themselves with hats, parasols, and gloves.
Miss Betsey was inspired by Miss Mary Pearson Strong, who owned a cottage in Broadstairs, Kent. Charles Dickens relocated the fictional cottage to Dover.
The name David Copperfield inverts the initials of Charles Dickens, but when a friend observed this fact, the author claimed to be surprised by the coincidence. In the novel, however, David Copperfield is rarely addressed as “David.” Instead, he is often known as “Davy,” “Doady,” “Trot,” “Trotwood,” or “Copperfield.”
This is somewhat similar to the intentions Miss Havisham has regarding Estella in Great Expectations (1860–1861).