Jack Maggs Summary
The novel is a deliberately loose adaptation of Dickens's Great Expectations (serialized 1860-1861), and in order to appreciate fully the subtleties of Carey's revision at least some knowledge of the plot of Great Expectations is desirable, although of course, there is no substitute for the text itself.
In brief, and focusing only upon the elements of the story which resurface in Carey's reinterpretation, Great Expectations is the story of Philip Pirrip, or Pip, an orphan who is raised by his ferocious older sister and her weaker husband, the blacksmith Joe Gargery. One Christmas, when he is a child, Pip aids an escaped convict, Abel Magwitch, by stealing food for him.
Magwitch is subsequently re-captured and banished to Australia for the term of his natural life. Thus, having made the briefest of appearances, Magwitch vanishes from the narrative for several years. In the meantime Pip is taken to meet...
(read more from the Short Guide)
The Jack Maggs Study Pack contains about 88 pages of study material in 11 products, including:
Jack Maggs Short Guide
Peter Carey Biographies (2)
944 words, approx. 4 pages
Australian writer Peter Carey (born 1943) won over twelve awards and received two major award nominations for his works of fiction (short stories, novels, and film adaptations) between 1981-1994. Care...
4,620 words, approx. 16 pages
Peter Carey is widely acknowledged as one of the most accomplished and successful Australian novelists of recent decades and is one of a handful--along with Thomas Keneally, David Malouf, and Tim Wint...
Essays & Analysis (8)
4,686 words, approx. 16 pages
In the following essay, Hassall examines the differences between Jack Maggs's characterization in Jack Maggs with the character of Magwitch in Charles Dickens's Great Expectations.
1,603 words, approx. 6 pages
In the following review, Kermode praises Carey's tightly controlled plot and imaginative ideas in Jack Maggs.
According to its dust-jacket, Jack Maggs is ‘by the author of Oscar and Luci...
1,154 words, approx. 4 pages
In the following review, Eder describes Jack Maggs as a brilliantly written novel, likening Carey's text to a work Charles Dickens might have written if he were not constrained by the social mo...
1,732 words, approx. 6 pages
In the following review, Allen provides a favorable assessment of Jack Maggs and offers insights to the novel's underlying message.
The question of how much or how little “real life ...
1,683 words, approx. 6 pages
In the following review, Miller contends that Carey's purpose for writing Jack Maggs is to refute the stereotypical portrayal of Australia as a land of criminals and brutes.
Peter Carey first s...
2,928 words, approx. 10 pages
In the following essay, Ross offers a laudatory review of Jack Maggs and analyzes the novel along with Carey's other works in terms of the political, social, and cultural issues Australia faces...
1,228 words, approx. 5 pages
In the following review, Hensher appreciates the control Carey employs while writing the characters in Jack Maggs but argues that Carey's abrupt prose style clashes with the subtlety of Charles...
6,147 words, approx. 21 pages
In the following interview, Carey discusses the works of Charles Dickens, his inspiration for writing Jack Maggs, and the impact writing has on his life.
[Koval]: When I read Jack Maggs, I thought, of...