The formation and transformation of identity in the novel and film of Great expectations by Charles Dickens / N. Beneke
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The research done in this study was motivated by the notion that individuals (or societies) create their own reality through the specific space they occupy at a certain moment in time. This concept of reality implies an "interspace" between (con)texts that could be described as a hybrid (a term that is used to describe the mixing or intermingling of different aspects or liminal space between various (con)texts. As the notion of identity is closely related to the interaction of the individual with a specific context, the main aim of the research was to promote hybridity as a form of identity by exploring the relationship or dialogue between literature (novel) and film as texts. For this purpose, a comparison was made between the formation of identity in the novel Great Expectations by Charles Dickens and its twentieth century counterpart in film produced by Twentieth Century Fox (directed by Alfonso Cuaron and adapted by Mitch Glazer). The main difference between the two texts, the different periods in which the works were produced, constituted an important point of departure for this study. It also revealed that the main character of the respective texts, Pip/Finn, possesses a type of "core personality" of a sense of values that refuses to be repressed, despite the character's interaction with context as reflected in the interplay between the similarities and differences between the texts. The methodological approach was based on the Brockmeier model which suggested an imbrication of theories such as narratology, semiotics and intertextuality that could all contribute, in some way, towards the formation of "textual" identity. The analysis ,first identified three (con)textual aspects/constants in the formation of identity, namely ideological influences, strategies of writing and social reality, in the novel Great Expectations, and then proceeded to illustrate the transformation of these contextual markers in the twentieth century film version. 'The comparison indicated an expansion of the narrator's/protagonist's historic consciousness in the film that correlated with the cultural dominants of the specific time: the film's realist mode as opposed to the postmodernist expansion or fusion of boundaries. The two texts were perceived to be engaged in a dialogue with no conclusive interpretation, an aspect familiar to the postmodernist approach.
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