Mother Figures in Charles Dickens’ Novel “David Copperfield”: A Pragma-Discoursal Analysis of Social Deixis

Abstract

The theme of motherhood and mother figures constitutes a core pillar in the novel “David Copperfield”. Relying on the context in which the different deictic expressions of person, social, time and place construct the language used to portray mother figures, a pragma-discoursal study can best fit in the interpretation of literary texts.  This article aims at identifying specifically the social deixis mostly used by the mother figures Clara Copperfield, Clara Peggotty and Miss Betsey in Charles Dickens’ novel “David Copperfield” and how they determine mothers’ roles in relation to David’s life from early childhood. The data involve three extracts selected from three chapters of the novel. Based on Fillmore’s (1975) and Levinson’s (1983) models of social deictic expressions, a mixed method approach in conducted. The article concluded that David Copperfield used basically the family social deixis to represent the three mother figures (Clara Copperfield, Clara Peggotty and Miss Betsey) stating clearly that mother roles such as loving, caring and nurturing are not necessary to be performed by the biological mother. 

Citation: Farah Abdul-Jabbar Al Manaseer & Aysar Basheer Hasan Radhi (2022) Mother Figures in Charles Dickens’ Novel “David Copperfield”: A Pragma-Discoursal Analysis of Social Deixis, European Journal of English Language and Literature Studies, Vol.10, No.5, pp. 24-35

 

Keywords: Discourse Analysis, Motherhood, Pragmatics, fictional autobiography social deixis, mother figures

DOI: https://doi.org/10.37745/ejells.2013/vo10.n5pp2435

Article Review Status: Published

Pages: 24-35 (Download PDF)

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