David Copperfield

David Copperfield

Mrs. Gummidge Character Analysis

Mrs. Gummidge is an elderly woman who lives with Mr. Peggotty; she is the widow of his former business partner, and he therefore feels responsible for her. For much of the novel, Mrs. Gummidge repays Mr. Peggotty's kindness with nothing but complaints (although Mr. Peggotty generously attributes her constant state of self-pity to grief). After little Em'ly runs away with James Steerforth, however, Mrs. Gummidge's manner changes entirely, and she selflessly supports Mr. Peggotty in his attempts to find his niece. After Emily and Mr. Peggotty are reunited, Mrs. Gummidge goes with them to Australia.

Mrs. Gummidge Quotes in David Copperfield

The David Copperfield quotes below are all either spoken by Mrs. Gummidge or refer to Mrs. Gummidge. For each quote, you can also see the other characters and themes related to it (each theme is indicated by its own dot and icon, like this one:
Coming of Age and Personal Development Theme Icon
). Note: all page numbers and citation info for the quotes below refer to the Puffin edition of David Copperfield published in 2013.
Chapter 22 Quotes

"I have been sitting here," said Steerforth, glancing round the room, "thinking that all the people we found so glad on the night of our coming down, might—to judge from the present wasted air of the place—to be dispersed, or dead, or come to I don't know what harm. David, I wish to God I had had a judicious father these last twenty years."

"My dear Steerforth, what is the matter?"

"I wish with all my soul I had been better guided!" he exclaimed. "I wish with all my soul I could guide myself better!"

Related Symbols: The Sea
Page Number: 275
Explanation and Analysis:
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Mrs. Gummidge Character Timeline in David Copperfield

The timeline below shows where the character Mrs. Gummidge appears in David Copperfield. The colored dots and icons indicate which themes are associated with that appearance.
Chapter 3: I Have a Change
Memory and Nostalgia Theme Icon
Home and Family Theme Icon
...also meets a woman and a "most beautiful" girl, who he will soon learn are Mrs. Gummidge and little Em'ly.  (full context)
Home and Family Theme Icon
...are orphans, their fathers having died at sea. Mr. Peggotty also introduces his "wife" as Mrs. Gummidge but does not explain who she is. Later, however, David learns from Peggotty that Mrs.... (full context)
Memory and Nostalgia Theme Icon
The adults find David and little Em'ly's romance charming—even Mrs. Gummidge , who otherwise has a habit of complaining about everything and constantly declaring her own... (full context)
Chapter 7: My 'First Half' at Salem House
Coming of Age and Personal Development Theme Icon
Memory and Nostalgia Theme Icon
...remarking on how much David has grown. Mr. Peggotty confirms that Peggotty, little Em'ly, and Mrs. Gummidge are all well, and David asks whether Emily has changed much. Mr. Peggotty says that... (full context)
Chapter 10: I Become Neglected, and Am Provided For
Coming of Age and Personal Development Theme Icon
Memory and Nostalgia Theme Icon
Womanhood and Gender Roles Theme Icon
David finds that Mr. Peggotty's house looks nearly the same as he remembers, and Mrs. Gummidge is as grumpy as ever. Little Em'ly, however, is away at school when David arrives,... (full context)
Coming of Age and Personal Development Theme Icon
Memory and Nostalgia Theme Icon
Womanhood and Gender Roles Theme Icon
...are asked to make a day trip with Barkis and Peggotty. As the group leaves, Mrs. Gummidge throws a shoe after them for good luck. The chaise stops at a church, and... (full context)
Chapter 21: Little Em'ly
Home and Family Theme Icon
...also a lot of noise coming from inside the house. When they enter, they find Mrs. Gummidge clapping, Ham and little Em'ly shyly holding hands, and Mr. Peggotty warmly greeting his niece.... (full context)
Memory and Nostalgia Theme Icon
Home and Family Theme Icon
...family over by singing sea shanties and talking about "boats, and ships, and tides." Even Mrs. Gummidge is less gloomy than usual. Eventually, Emily and David begin to talk of their shared... (full context)
Chapter 22: Some Old Scenes, and Some New People
Coming of Age and Personal Development Theme Icon
Shortly afterwards, Mrs. Gummidge arrives, and Steerforth's mood further improves. He and David plan to depart the following day,... (full context)
Chapter 31: A Greater Loss
Womanhood and Gender Roles Theme Icon
Home and Family Theme Icon
...comfort in the fact that she and her husband "did their duty" by one another. Mrs. Gummidge is as grumpy as usual and complains that the Peggottys would be better off without... (full context)
Memory and Nostalgia Theme Icon
Womanhood and Gender Roles Theme Icon
Home and Family Theme Icon
...he can't "drown" the man himself, and then set off in search of little Em'ly. Mrs. Gummidge , however, begs him not to leave now, but to sit down for a while... (full context)
Chapter 32: The Beginning of a Long Journey
Coming of Age and Personal Development Theme Icon
Home and Family Theme Icon
...day, and Mr. Peggotty agrees. Ham, meanwhile, will continue to work as a boat-builder, and Mrs. Gummidge will stay in the house and keep a candle lit in case Emily returns. As... (full context)
Womanhood and Gender Roles Theme Icon
Home and Family Theme Icon
Mr. Peggotty, Ham, and David return to the house, where Mrs. Gummidge has made breakfast and urges Mr. Peggotty to eat. She then begins mending some clothes... (full context)
Ambition, Social Mobility, and Morality Theme Icon
Home and Family Theme Icon
The next morning, David, Peggotty, Mr. Peggotty, Ham, and Mrs. Gummidge all meet at the coach office. Ham pulls David aside and asks him to look... (full context)
Chapter 40: The Wanderer
Womanhood and Gender Roles Theme Icon
Home and Family Theme Icon
Mr. Peggotty shows David a letter little Em'ly sent to Mrs. Gummidge . In it, she pleads with Mrs. Gummidge to show her some mercy and send... (full context)
Chapter 51: The Beginning of a Longer Journey
Womanhood and Gender Roles Theme Icon
Home and Family Theme Icon
...she keeps house for. Meanwhile, Mr. Peggotty says he intends to provide an allowance for Mrs. Gummidge so that she can have her own house (his thinking being that Peggotty might find... (full context)
Memory and Nostalgia Theme Icon
Womanhood and Gender Roles Theme Icon
David goes to Ham's house, where Peggotty now lives as well. Mr. Peggotty has brought Mrs. Gummidge over as well, and both she and Peggotty are crying over the news of little... (full context)
Memory and Nostalgia Theme Icon
Womanhood and Gender Roles Theme Icon
Home and Family Theme Icon
...is busy packing up or giving away his possessions. David arranges to meet him and Mrs. Gummidge at the old boat-house that evening, because he wants to see it one last time.... (full context)
Memory and Nostalgia Theme Icon
Home and Family Theme Icon
Mr. Peggotty and Mrs. Gummidge have emptied the house of most of its furniture by the time David arrives. The... (full context)
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David and Mr. Peggotty tour the rest of the house, and then return to Mrs. Gummidge , who suddenly cries out that she doesn't want to be left behind. Instead, she... (full context)
Chapter 57: The Emigrants
Womanhood and Gender Roles Theme Icon
...David mentions Martha. At this, Mr. Peggotty gestures to a young woman who is helping Mrs. Gummidge with the luggage, and David sees that it is Martha. Martha, overwhelmed, begins crying, and... (full context)
Chapter 63: A Visitor
Womanhood and Gender Roles Theme Icon
Home and Family Theme Icon
...Peggotty says she married a farm-laborer, who is aware of her "true story." As for Mrs. Gummidge , Mr. Peggotty laughingly explains that a ship's cook proposed to her, but that Mrs.... (full context)