David Copperfield

David Copperfield

Mr. Barkis Character Analysis

Mr. Barkis is a cart driver who frequently takes David back and forth from the Rookery to Yarmouth. He rarely speaks (and then only in very short sentences), but he develops a lasting admiration for Peggotty, in part because he likes her cooking. He therefore has David act as a go-between, asking him to inform Peggotty that "Barkis is willing [to be married]." The two eventually do marry, with David's blessing, and have what seems to be a comfortable marriage overall. Although Peggotty remarks more than once that Barkis can be "near" (stingy), even this turns out to be a mark of his affection for his wife; after Barkis's death, it emerges that he has saved up a small fortune, which he divides between his wife, Mr. Peggotty, little Em'ly, and David himself.
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Mr. Barkis Character Timeline in David Copperfield

The timeline below shows where the character Mr. Barkis appears in David Copperfield. The colored dots and icons indicate which themes are associated with that appearance.
Chapter 3: I Have a Change
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...Yarmouth in a cart driven by a silent man David will later learn is named Barkis. Ham is waiting for them when they arrive and greets David as an old friend... (full context)
Chapter 4: I Fall Into Disgrace
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...the objections of Miss Murdstone. David is then taken away in a cart driven by Barkis. (full context)
Chapter 5: I Am Sent Away From Home
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Barkis and David are soon intercepted by Peggotty, who embraces David and gives him a bag... (full context)
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David and Barkis arrive at an inn in Yarmouth. David is nervous and overwhelmed as he sits down... (full context)
Chapter 8: My Holidays, Especially One Happy Afternoon
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The coach deposits David at an inn in Yarmouth, and the next morning, Mr. Barkis arrives to bring him the rest of the way home. David tells Barkis that he... (full context)
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...out, so David, Clara, and Peggotty spend a happy afternoon together. Over dinner, he relays Barkis's message to Peggotty, who laughs and grows flustered as she denies having any intention of... (full context)
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...who accuses Peggotty of being jealous of the baby, and suggests that she should marry Barkis after all. Peggotty retorts that that would make Miss Murdstone happy, and the two women... (full context)
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...school, though it pains him to say goodbye to his mother and new brother. As Barkis and David drive away, Clara calls out to her son one more time and holds... (full context)
Chapter 10: I Become Neglected, and Am Provided For
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...sad to say goodbye to her home. She is soon distracted, however, by the attention Barkis pays to her as she and David ride in his cart: he asks repeatedly whether... (full context)
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Meanwhile, Mr. Barkis pays daily visits to Mr. Peggotty's house, always wordlessly leaving behind some kind of gift... (full context)
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David is sad when Peggotty and Barkis drive off after depositing him and little Em'ly at Mr. Peggotty's, but he perks up... (full context)
Chapter 21: Little Em'ly
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David leaves to visit Peggotty, with plans for Steerforth to meet him at Mr. Barkis's in a couple of hours. He is in a good mood, although he is surprised... (full context)
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...Peggotty, and they pretend to be very formal with one another: David asks whether Mr. Barkis (who now suffers from rheumatics) ever goes to Blunderstone, and whether Peggotty happens to know... (full context)
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Peggotty goes to tell Barkis that David is there, which she says will do him good. David finds that Barkis... (full context)
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...his kindness to David, and partly because of Steerforth's own charisma. Steerforth also charms Mr. Barkis, and makes no objection to the inconvenience of having to stay at an inn while... (full context)
Chapter 22: Some Old Scenes, and Some New People
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Later that night, David returns to Mr. Barkis's house only to find Ham waiting outside. Ham explains that Emily is inside, talking to... (full context)
Chapter 23: I Corroborate Mr. Dick, and Choose a Profession
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...In any case, David and Steerforth are busy saying their goodbyes to the Peggottys, Mr. Barkis, and even Mr. Omer. They also part with Littimer, who is remaining behind—ostensibly to oversee... (full context)
Chapter 28: Mr. Micawber's Gauntlet
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...that Emily isn't married yet. He also gives David a letter from Peggotty, saying that Barkis is close to death. Steerforth is philosophical about Barkis's impending death, remarking that everyone dies... (full context)
Chapter 30: A Loss
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...is inside and lets David in. David says he was sorry to learn of Mr. Barkis's condition and asks Mr. Omer what he knows about it. Omer, however, says he doesn't... (full context)
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Omer explains that little Em'ly has been keeping them up to date on Barkis's condition, and David asks how she is. Mr. Omer replies that he is anxious to... (full context)
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Minnie enters and reports that Barkis's condition has worsened, and that Mr. Peggotty is currently at Barkis's house. David hurries there... (full context)
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...him for coming. She then asks David to come upstairs, saying his presence will cheer Barkis if he happens to wake. (full context)
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Once upstairs, David finds Barkis unconscious, but clinging to the box he keeps beside his bed. Peggotty attempts to wake... (full context)
Chapter 31: A Greater Loss
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David agrees to stay until Mr. Barkis is buried (in the same cemetery as Clara Copperfield). He also helps Peggotty and exercises... (full context)
Chapter 32: The Beginning of a Long Journey
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David returns to Peggotty's house and thinks about everything that has happened since Barkis's death. Suddenly, he hears a knock at the door and opens it to find Miss... (full context)
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...this idea, David simply reminds him that Mr. Peggotty now has an inheritance from Mr. Barkis. David, Mr. Peggotty, and Peggotty then leave for London. (full context)
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Since Peggotty will be staying in London for some time to deal with Barkis's affairs, David and Mr. Peggotty help her find a room to rent. They then have... (full context)
Chapter 33: Blissful
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Far from distracting David from Dora, Barkis's death and Emily's disappearance just make her seem even "purer" and more loveable in comparison.... (full context)
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...Murdstone is with him. A tense exchange follows in which Murdstone expresses his condolences over Barkis's death and Peggotty pointedly says that she can take comfort in the fact that no... (full context)