Interplay Between Dickens's Great Expectations and Carey’s Jack Maggs

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Interplay Between Dickens's Great Expectations and Carey’s Jack Maggs Carey’s Jack Maggs is an example of the post-colonial concept of ‘writing back’. That is, the novel although written over a century apart from Dicken’s Great Expectations, is in fact indirectly interacting with this original text. The principal protagonist of Carey’s novel the eponymous Jack Maggs is undoubtedly indebted to the original Magwitch of the Dicken’s novel. Although Carey does not call Maggs, Magwitch, the shared sound of the name immediately prepares us for other similarites. The two characters are both convicts, who for their crimes were deported at an early age to Austrailia, and more particularly both characters settled in New South Wales. While the…show more content…
Tobias Oates has an illicit relationship with his wife’s sister, which in its consumation results in her disastrous pregnancy. Here Carey is myth-making the life of Dickens himself, who was reportedly in love with the sister of his wife as well. Although this relationship with Mary Hogarth was not anything more than friendship, Dickens was attracted to her nonetheless. For more biography on Dickens see: http://www.kirjasto.sci.fi/dickens.htm Carey says of the Magwitch character in Great Expectations that: ‘this man is my ancestor…this is unfair.’ And any doubt that Maggs is not Magwitch (or at least almost exactly him) is quashed. The colonised subject is given much more of a voice by Carey than in Dickens’ novel and is at pains to have him not the ‘other’ subject of Great Expectations but a much more sympathetic creation. The novel Jack Maggs is perhaps of more interest to the reader studying post-colonialism, due to its addressing of issues such as an interest in the way in which Maggs acquires his wealth. He is unable to function as an individual in the Metropolitan occident of London, it is only following his expulsion from his country that he becomes a respectable member of society. For details on life in Australia at this time visit http://www.scholars.nus.edu.sg/landow/post/australia/convicts.html Carey’s latest novel True History of The Kelly Gang also deals with the nineteenth century and in particular the convict in Australia. The novels’ epigram

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