David Copperfield

David Copperfield

Mrs. Heep Character Analysis

Mrs. Heep Uriah Heep’s widowed mother. She loves her son obsessively and shares many traits with him—above all, a self-serving insistence on her own "humbleness." David first meets Mrs. Heep when he goes to have tea at Uriah's house, and she very skillfully supports her son's attempts to wheedle information out of David. Although David eventually comes to dislike Mrs. Heep intensely, he reluctantly admits that her feeling for her son is real: for instance, when the truth about Uriah's actions begins to come to light, Mrs. Heep begs her son to confess in the hopes of receiving a lesser punishment.

Mrs. Heep Quotes in David Copperfield

The David Copperfield quotes below are all either spoken by Mrs. Heep or refer to Mrs. Heep. 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 39 Quotes

"Father and me was both brought up at a foundation for boys; and mother, she was likewise brought up at a public, sort of charitable, establishment. They taught us all a deal of umbleness—not much else that I know of, from morning to night. We was to be umble to this person, and umble to that; and to pull off our caps here, and to make bows there; and always to know our place, and abase ourselves before our betters […] Father got made a sexton by being umble. He had the character, among the gentlefolks, of being such a well-behaved man, that they were determined to bring him in."

Related Characters: Uriah Heep (speaker), David Copperfield, Mrs. Heep
Page Number: 479–480
Explanation and Analysis:
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Mrs. Heep Character Timeline in David Copperfield

The timeline below shows where the character Mrs. Heep appears in David Copperfield. The colored dots and icons indicate which themes are associated with that appearance.
Chapter 17: Somebody Turns Up
Ambition, Social Mobility, and Morality Theme Icon
Home and Family Theme Icon
When David arrives at Uriah Heep's house, he finds that Mrs. Heep closely resembles her son. She also shares his personality, saying she is honored to receive... (full context)
Ambition, Social Mobility, and Morality Theme Icon
...something slip about his time at the counting-house. However, David introduces Micawber to Uriah and Mrs. Heep , who protest that they are too lowly to be considered David's friends. David explains... (full context)
Chapter 35: Depression
Ambition, Social Mobility, and Morality Theme Icon
Memory and Nostalgia Theme Icon
Home and Family Theme Icon
...journey with them in part to protect her father. She further explains that Uriah and Mrs. Heep now live with the Wickfields (Uriah in David's old room), and that the entire atmosphere... (full context)
Chapter 39: Wickfield and Heep
Womanhood and Gender Roles Theme Icon
Home and Family Theme Icon
Much to David's frustration, Mrs. Heep is now in Agnes's room knitting. In an effort to be polite, he asks how... (full context)
Womanhood and Gender Roles Theme Icon
Home and Family Theme Icon
...with Mr. Wickfield and Uriah, who "leers" and "writhes" constantly. They then rejoin Agnes and Mrs. Heep in the drawing room, and Mrs. Heep insists that Agnes play a favorite song of... (full context)
Ambition, Social Mobility, and Morality Theme Icon
Home and Family Theme Icon
...that he wants to be alone after "so much company," and Uriah—guessing that he means Mrs. Heep —says that his and his mother's "umbleness" obliges them to make sure they're "not pushed... (full context)
Chapter 42: Mischief
Ambition, Social Mobility, and Morality Theme Icon
...with her, and both Agnes and the Doctor hope the visit will do Wickfield good. Mrs. Heep also comes for a "change of air," and Uriah accompanies her to help settle her... (full context)
Home and Family Theme Icon
The next day, David sees Uriah walking with his mother, Mrs. Heep ; Uriah's face is wrapped up in a handkerchief, and he later learns that he... (full context)
Chapter 52: I Assist at an Explosion
Coming of Age and Personal Development Theme Icon
Ambition, Social Mobility, and Morality Theme Icon
...youth." Uriah pretends this is a compliment and sends Mr. Micawber to fetch Agnes and Mrs. Heep , explaining that Mr. Wickfield's condition keeps him busy with work—though he says this is... (full context)
Ambition, Social Mobility, and Morality Theme Icon
Traddles returns with Mrs. Heep and—when Uriah asks him who he is—explains that he has a power of attorney to... (full context)
Coming of Age and Personal Development Theme Icon
Ambition, Social Mobility, and Morality Theme Icon
Memory and Nostalgia Theme Icon
...house lately, and hints that he found an incriminating pocketbook Uriah left there. Hearing this, Mrs. Heep begs her son to be "umble" and "make terms," but Uriah tells her to be... (full context)
Ambition, Social Mobility, and Morality Theme Icon
Home and Family Theme Icon
...short.  Meanwhile, Traddles confirms that Micawber gave him the incriminating pocketbook earlier that day, and Mrs. Heep again pleads with her son to be "umble." Uriah retorts that she might as well... (full context)
Ambition, Social Mobility, and Morality Theme Icon
Home and Family Theme Icon
Uriah once again ignores Mrs. Heep and fixates on David as the cause of all his problems. Meanwhile, Mr. Micawber proceeds... (full context)
Ambition, Social Mobility, and Morality Theme Icon
...pulls his aunt away from Uriah, assuring her that they will recover the money. Meanwhile, Mrs. Heep continues to plead with her son and everyone else in the room. (full context)
Ambition, Social Mobility, and Morality Theme Icon
...accounts, and—when Uriah says he won't—threatens to get the law involved and have Uriah arrested. Mrs. Heep begs Uriah to do as Traddles says, and he reluctantly tells her to go fetch... (full context)
Chapter 54: Mr. Micawber's Transactions
Ambition, Social Mobility, and Morality Theme Icon
...he was motivated less by greed than by his hatred of David. Both Uriah and Mrs. Heep have now left Canterbury, however, and Traddles says he doesn't know much more than that.... (full context)
Chapter 61: I Am Shown Two Interesting Penitents
Coming of Age and Personal Development Theme Icon
Home and Family Theme Icon
...is anything more he can do for Uriah, and Uriah asks permission to write to Mrs. Heep again: he is worried about the state of his mother's soul and wishes she could... (full context)