Are appropriated texts just as valuable as the text on which they are based? I am looking at two texts in particular, Great Expectations and Jack Maggs (In the response please consider...

Are appropriated texts just as valuable as the text on which they are based?

I am looking at two texts in particular, Great Expectations and Jack Maggs

(In the response please consider whether Jack Maggs challenges or subverts the ideas and values in Great Expectations?

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mwestwood | College Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

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Appropriated texts are often based upon books or plays that have been time-tested and are considered great works and/or classics. Therefore, while they have a value of their own for providing additional insight or challenging an aspect of the original text, appropriated texts are not usually considered to be as worthy as those original texts upon which they are based.

With regard to the question of the two texts, Great Expectations and Jack Maggs, having equal merit, consideration should be given to the fact that an understanding of Jack Maggs relies upon the prior reading of Great Expectations. 

Obligatory intertextuality relies on the reading or understanding of a prior hypotext, before full comprehension of the hypertext can be achieved (Jacobmeyer, 1998).

Therefore, since full comprehension of the hypertext of Jack Maggs relies upon the prior reading of the hypotext, Great Expecations, a classic novel that stands on its own merits, the appropriated text is not as worthy a novel. It is also not considered as valuable because the characters are borrowed from the hypertext, an action that compromises the author's originality.

Nevertheless, many readers find hypertexts such as Jack Maggs stimulating and enjoyable because they develop fully those characters who are underdeveloped, or at least less interesting, in the original text. Or, they provide a more realistic presentation of character. There is little question that Magwitch is a character Charles Dickens created as representative of those poor and underprivileged who were unable to escape the prison of British society. Labeled from his youth as an undesirable, Magwitch is almost destined to his fate. But, Peter Carey challenges this Victorian stereotype and extends the characterization of Magwitch, providing readers with a reinvention of this "transported" character that assists him in his noble message to Australians to break from its nostalgic allegiance to British culture. And, while his narrative is different from the hypotext, Peter Carey writes a powerful narrative on nineteenth-century England's maltreatment of its poor and unfortunate. While he challenges Dickens's depiction of Victorian society and stereotypes, Peter Carey also subverts the text of Dickens' Great Expectations through the character of Oates with whom he contradicts the historical accounts of Australia by Dickens, accounts which readers would accept as true.

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