Some time in 1860, Dickens had started a piece that he found funny and truthful and thought it might do better as a novel: "...it so opens out before me that I can see the whole of a serial revolving on it, in a most singular and comic manner," he wrote. Dickens had told friends that he had gone back and read David Copperfield and was quite struck by the story now that he looked back upon it. Copperfield was a happy novel, the story of a young man who came into his fortune though hard work and luck. Its influences and similarities are seen in Great Expectations. There are, however, some major thematic differences.
I advise students to read plenty of examples of strong essays in advance of beginning any brainstorming or writing. There are a number of books on the market and websites to help. Then I like to choose a couple of those sample essays and have the student identify three things or traits that were revealed about the writer/applicant. For example, family is important as revealed by the catchy beginning that showed the writer/applicant having a deep discussion with an older sibling. Or the writer is profoundly interested in studying French and is willing to take on challenges outside her comfort zone as revealed by the reference to studying abroad in a full-immersion exchange program. Or the writer values community as revealed by the eloquent description of her role within the corps d’ ballet, and how she provides support to and draws on the strength of her fellow dancers. Then I ask, “what do you want to reveal about yourself that’s important to you?”
The Contra Costa coroner, Henry Curry, was later accused of stealing valuables from the dead passengers. Ella Sessions testified that her husband had over $400 when he boarded the Owl Limited in Oakland. Henry Curry claimed to have found only some cigarette paper, an old knife, a nickel, piece of watch chain and a nickel watch on the battered body. Public suspicions grew when it was revealed that in 15 years as a coroner, Henry Curry had never contributed a single dime to the county's "Deceased Fund" with moneys recovered from dead bodies. Curry never held elective office again.