David Copperfield

David Copperfield

Mr. Mell is the junior teacher at Salem House. Despite being a kind and intelligent man, he is unable to accomplish much as a teacher thanks to the overall atmosphere of brutality at the school. He has a soft spot for David, however, which unfortunately gets him into trouble. After picking David up at the coach station, Mr. Mell had taken him along when he paid a visit to his mother in an almshouse. David later told Steerforth about this episode, who in turn uses it to bully Mr. Mell and eventually get him fired: when Mr. Creakle learns of Mr. Mell's impoverished background, he dismisses him on the ground that he does not want a "beggar" as a teacher at his school. David feels intense guilt over the role he played in Mr. Mell's dismissal and is therefore delighted when he learns—in a letter from Mr. Micawber—that Mell has achieved success as a headmaster at a school in Australia.
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Mr. Mell Character Timeline in David Copperfield

The timeline below shows where the character Mr. Mell appears in David Copperfield. The colored dots and icons indicate which themes are associated with that appearance.
Chapter 5: I Am Sent Away From Home
Home and Family Theme Icon
...for him to simply be abandoned there. Eventually, however, a young man (later identified as Mr. Mell ) with a somewhat rundown appearance comes to collect him, introducing himself as one of... (full context)
Ambition, Social Mobility, and Morality Theme Icon
Home and Family Theme Icon
After David has made his purchases, he and Mr. Mell arrive at an almshouse for poor women. Here, they visit with two old women, one... (full context)
Coming of Age and Personal Development Theme Icon
Ambition, Social Mobility, and Morality Theme Icon
David and Mr. Mell leave the almshouse and board a coach, where David again falls asleep. When he wakes... (full context)
Coming of Age and Personal Development Theme Icon
...of him. He bites." David assumes that there must be a dog somewhere nearby, but Mr. Mell apologetically explains that David must wear the placard on his back—presumably, Mr. Murdstone has asked... (full context)
Coming of Age and Personal Development Theme Icon
...waiting for his classmates to arrive is unhappy. He does well at his studies with Mr. Mell, and strikes up a kind of friendship with him, despite the teacher's eccentricities. He is... (full context)
Chapter 6: I Enlarge My Circle of Acquaintance
Ambition, Social Mobility, and Morality Theme Icon
Memory and Nostalgia Theme Icon
...Both are consequently cruel with the students, although Mr. Creakle never dares to beat Steerforth. Mr. Mell and Mr. Sharp, meanwhile, are badly paid, and the former is particularly poor, having grown... (full context)
Chapter 7: My 'First Half' at Salem House
Coming of Age and Personal Development Theme Icon
Ambition, Social Mobility, and Morality Theme Icon
...of Mr. Creakle. David, however, does manage to pick up "some crumbs of knowledge" from Mr. Mell, and is therefore disturbed by the fact that Steerforth consistently treats Mell with disdain. He... (full context)
Coming of Age and Personal Development Theme Icon
Ambition, Social Mobility, and Morality Theme Icon
Suddenly, Mr. Creakle enters, and scolds Mr. Mell for "forgetting himself" so far as to chastise Steerforth and to accuse Creakle himself of... (full context)
Ambition, Social Mobility, and Morality Theme Icon
Mr. Mell 's dismissal causes a rift between Steerforth and Traddles, who had cried when he left... (full context)
Chapter 63: A Visitor
Coming of Age and Personal Development Theme Icon
Ambition, Social Mobility, and Morality Theme Icon
...article recounting a public dinner given in Micawber's honor. The article also mentions that a Doctor Mell presided over the dinner and gave a speech praising Micawber, and David delightedly realizes that... (full context)