David first meets Tommy Traddles when they are students at Salem House. He is a gentle boy but his softness makes him easy pray for older students and teachers who like to get him into trouble. It is no surprise, then, that a young David refers to his classmate as the “most unfortunate boy in the world.” However, Traddles is undeterred by his treatment at Salem House and remains cheerful despite the verbal and physical abuse. Young Traddles is an inherently kind and generous soul with a strict moral compass. For example, he offers David his pillow after he learns that David’s mother has died because it “was all he had to lend.” He is also the only child to stand up to Steerforth and Mr. Creakle when they are abusing Mr. Mell, and he refuses to sell out his fellow classmates when he is blamed for something that he did not do. In this regard, he acts as a sort of foil for Steerfoth during the Salem House portion of the novel because Traddles is a kind boy who is always being unjustifiably punished, whereas Steerforth is a cruel young man who is never disciplined. This contrast between Steerforth and Traddles highlights David’s naïveté: David idolizes Steerforth (who masterfully uses his charm to mask his sinister personality) and regards Traddles as a mere afterthought. However, Traddles returns to the narrative about halfway through the novel, and he and a more mature David become best friends. The adult Traddles is just as good-natured and generous as the young Traddles. For instance, he works tirelessly as a legal clerk in order to save up enough money to marry the woman that he loves and support her many dependent sisters, and he is keen to help the eternally struggling Mr. Micawber. Traddles is ultimately rewarded for his goodness with an adoring wife and a successful career. Traddles’s transformation from a kind but abused boy to a successful man with a loving family is a typical Dickensian convention because Dickens often rewards his most moral characters for their kindness and their empathy by the end of the novel.