Fieled 3 perceptions of Heep, and he takes every opportunity of doing so. Heep
is a “red
; David makes every attempt to make Heep look bestial. However, Uriah iscanny enough to manage a rise in power and societal standing which
rivals David‟s own.
Both David and Uriah have been formed by their experience of poverty; both are hard-working and patient; both wind-up vying for the love of the
same woman. Yet David‟s
(and Dickens‟s) power as narrator undermines Heep‟s standing in the book. Heep
is presented as unequivocally evil a
nd conniving; David‟s tone rarely
wavers. It doesnot come as a shock that Heep fares poorly. His Bildungsroman has been presented
to us a “classification” model type; everything Heep does leads him to the jail cell where
he eventually descends; events seem to lead us to the conclusion that this is what hedeserves. Moretti posits that every Bildungsroman has elements of both models;
presents a more or less complete instance of (rather precisely) both.
Uriah Heep is not necessarily an unambiguous character; it is David‟s narrative
rendering of him
that makes clear what his fate must be. It is a
is represented as the “Official Villain of the novel”(Rogers, 12). Because David is living
out his own, more open-ended Bildungsroman, it seems that Heep must stand in stark contrast both to everything that he is and everything he desires to be. Yet, willy-nilly,Heep grows, gains in power and influence. As David, through open-ended development,must rise, so Uriah, through his singular treachery, must fall. The two Bildungsromans both have the same narrator; in one instance, he is the protagonist, in the other, a bystander; sometimes tangentially involved, sometimes directly. The novel boasts a
This phrase is taken from the title of Tara MacDonald‟s article „red
-headed aninmal: Race, Sexuality, and
Dickens‟s Uriah Heep.
I refer to David, rather than Dickens, as the narrator, for the sake of convenience.