The English word take has many meanings and uses. In this session, we bring you BBC Learning English’s own version of David Copperfield by Charles Dickens – and we’ve found many different ways to use the word take in it.

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Hello, I’m Darren. Today I’m going to tell you one of Charles Dickens’ favourite novels. It’s the story of a boy called David Copperfield, who survived the cruel treatment of his stepfather but grew up to find true love and success.

David spends his first happy years with his loving mother, a widow, and Pegotty, their devoted housekeeper. Everything changes when Clara Copperfield meets the handsome but cruel Mr Murdstone, who treats David badly. Pegotty takes David to Yarmouth to visit her brother, a fisherman, who has taken two orphans, Ham and Emily, into care. After a wonderful fortnight, David returns to find his mother has married Mr Murdstone. David’s stepfather continues to mistreat him. One day David bites him. Furious, Mr Murdstone takes the opportunity to persuade Clara to send David to boarding school. It’s a grim place, but David meets the dashing Steerforth – the school’s head boy.

Tragedy strikes when David learns that his mother and baby brother have died. He is sent by Mr Murdstone to work in his London wine factory. He lodges with the happy-go-lucky Micawber family, who are always in debt. When the authorities take Mr Micawber off to prison, David runs away to Dover to take refuge with his aunt. Miss Betsy is quite formidable but she takes pity on her nephew and sends him to a good school in Canterbury. He lives with Mr Wickfield, her business manager, and his daughter. Agnes is David’s good angel. David also encounters the scheming Uriah Heep, Mr Wickfield’s clerk. Such a creep and hypocrite! David takes an instant dislike to him and indeed, Uriah will bring ruin to the Wickhams and Aunt Betsy.

David, now 17, leaves school. En route to Yarmouth, he bumps into Steerforth, who travels with him to Yarmouth. There they find Emily and Ham are engaged, though Steerforth seems quite taken with Emily. This doesn’t bode well!

I’ll tell you what happens in the next part of the story when I see you next time. Bye for now.

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