Background.

David Copperfield
  • Whether I shall turn out to be the hero of my own life, or whether that station will be held by anybody else, these pages must show” is a quotation from David Copperfield (Chapter 1).
  • David Copperfield was the eighth novel by Charles Dickens, first published between May 1849 and November 1850. The novel, written in the first person, revolves around the character after which the work is named. It follows his life until middle age, with his own adventures and the numerous friends and enemies he meets along his way.

Context.

These are the opening lines of the novel David Copperfield. These first words are by the narrator and protagonist, setting out to the reader that the subsequent pages are the story of his life.

Source.

Taken from the following passage in Chapter 1 (I am born) of David Copperfield:

Whether I shall turn out to be the hero of my own life, or whether that station will be held by anybody else, these pages must show. To begin my life with the beginning of my life, I record that I was born (as I have been informed and believe) on a Friday, at twelve o’clock at night. It was remarked that the clock began to strike, and I began to cry, simultaneously.

In consideration of the day and hour of my birth, it was declared by the nurse, and by some sage women in the neighbourhood who had taken a lively interest in me several months before there was any possibility of our becoming personally acquainted, first, that I was destined to be unlucky in life; and secondly, that I was privileged to see ghosts and spirits; both these gifts inevitably attaching, as they believed, to all unlucky infants of either gender, born towards the small hours on a Friday night.

I need say nothing here, on the first head, because nothing can show better than my history whether that prediction was verified or falsified by the result. On the second branch of the question, I will only remark, that unless I ran through that part of my inheritance while I was still a baby, I have not come into it yet. But I do not at all complain of having been kept out of this property; and if anybody else should be in the present enjoyment of it, he is heartily welcome to keep it.

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Whether I shall turn out to be the hero of my own life, or whether that station will be held by anybody else, these pages must show.
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