History and Memory- “True History of the Kelly Gang” &"Charge of the Light Brigade”

865 Words Aug 11th, 2012 4 Pages
In the novel “True History of the Kelly Gang” by Peter Carey and Lord Tennysons poem “Charge of the Light Brigade” both authors manipulate their textual form to crystallise the perception of an inextricable link that exists between history and memory. The texts use methodical, documented fact to anchor the work in historic authenticity whilst Carey uses imaginative speculation to shape personal representation of events and Tennyson adds a personal perspective, both demonstrating how a subjective view can give new meanings to the cold facts of history.

The very backbone of Carey’s novel, its textual form, begins to shape a seemingly historical account, credible and authentic. The novel is presented as a chronological, autobiographical
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While a daughter deliberately invented by Carey allows Ned to be represented as caring and considerate ‘My dear daughter I will not lie to you’ and thus both pairings serve as an explanation to the facts that the facts alone do not yield and thus textual form continues to explore and shape the symbiotic nature of history and memory.

Having established his character Carey explores Ned’s subjective perspective. News paper articles in both the exordium and peroration provide differing representations of Ned than the one he himself offers ‘I am the ------- monitor, my boys. But he was not the monitor, he was a man of skin and shattered bone blood squelching in his boot’ through which Carey emphasizes the bias of history. Carey continues to manipulate textual form through perspectives switching to second person narration as Joe tells the story of Ned’s fight with Wild Wright demonstrating that memory is fallible; incomplete and unreliable. The novels paradigm of history and memory serves to paint the picture that collectively we can achieve a portrait of the past.


Lord Tennyson also manipulates textual components throughout his poem “Charge of the Light brigade” in order to weave history and memory together through the telling of a romanticised British Calvary set on the back drop of historic facts.

The poem’s structure of a linear narrative provides a sense of carefully recollected history much like in ‘True History of the Kelly Gang’, each stanza acting as its…