mes Steerforth and TommyTraddles
David Copperfield: The many differences between James Steerforth and Tommy
In the novel, David Copperfield, Charles Dickens contrasts many different
characters. The main two characters that he contrasts are Tommy Traddles and
James Steerforth. He displays the contrast between these two characters in many
different ways. The only common thing that they share is their close friendship
with David. Dickens shows these differences through their looks, personalities,
and the final results of their lives.
For one thing, Charles Dickens contrasts these two characters through
their looks. He tells the readers that James Steerforth is an extremely
handsome young person whom everyone seems to adore. In every instance in the
book when someone sees him for the first time, they recognize him as being very
attractive. He was described as being tall and thin character. On the other
hand, Traddles was pictured as being somewhat on the heavy side. He reminds the
reader of the fat clumsy kid in their own school. Dickens portrays this when he
says, “Poor Traddles! In a tight sky-blue suit that made his arms and legs like
German sausages, or roly-poly puddings,” (143).
Besides being different in appearance, Charles Dickens contrasts these two
characters through their personalities. From the beginning, James Steerforth
leads people to believe that he is a good person. There are many instances in
which he shows off his true colors. The first sign of his deceitful manner
occurs when David allows Steerforth to keep his money. Steerforth uses this
money to buy food for many of the students. Steerforth displays his selfishness
when he insults his schoolmaster, Mr. Mell, and gets him fired. Again,
Steerforth shows his stern personality again when David arrives in London, and
he is given a very small room over a stable. Steerforth confronts the hotel
employee, and David is given a much better room. The greatest example of
Steerforth’s brute personality is when he runs off with little Em’ly. Dickens
tells us that Steerforth and Em’ly fought a lot and finally Steerforth leaves
her, and suggests she marries Littimer. On the other hand, Tommy Traddles is a
very nice person. Traddles shows his kindness by introducing David to the boys
at the Salem House. Charles Dickens shows Traddles’ personality when he says of
him, “He was very honourable, Traddles was, and held it as a solemn duty in the
boys to stand by one another” (143). Traddles is a strong-willed person. Even
though he receives more punishment than anyone else at the school, he maintains
his honor. Traddles is a very reserved person. He keeps many of his feelings
hidden, revealing them only as skeletons drawn on paper.
The biggest difference between James Steerforth and Tommy Traddles is
final results of their lives when the book ends. James Steerforth dies a tragic
and horrible death. Steerforth spent most of his boisterous life looking down
on the people. In the end, it is nature that pays him back by drowning him in
the ocean. In contrast, Tommy Traddles becomes a very successful magistrate.
He is happily married to the love of his life, Sophy. She and Traddles have two
boys and they are living a happy family life.
In this novel, Charles Dickens shows contrast between several of the
main characters. He shows these characters to be different in many ways. He
especially shows this between James Steerforth and Tommy Traddles. He does this
by contrasting their looks, personalities, and the final results of their lives.