This website uses cookies to ensure you have the best experience. Learn more

Dickens' Defensive Fantasy Of Imperial Stability

3050 words - 13 pages

The Perils of Certain English Prisoners: Dickens' Defensive Fantasy of Imperial Stability

Note: "The Perils of Certain English Prisoners" consists of three chapters. Chapters one and three consist of material written by Dickens, whilst chapter two comprises the work of Wilkie Collins', completed under the auspices of Dickens. As the material under consideration in this essay is taken from the first and third chapters, and considering Dickens' creative control over the second chapter, "Perils" has been discussed as a Dickens text.

Imperial Britain, Dickens and the Culture of Negated Alterity

'Colonial literature,' Abdul JanMohammed writes, 'is an exploration and a representation of a ...view middle of the document...

This analysis of "Perils" will discuss the text as a manifestation of a disharmonious marriage of ragged defensive fantasy on Dickens' behalf, against the background of the reality of the predominating colonial framework: the discussion will aim to highlight the paradoxical Other negating tunnel vision through which the British colonial project felt both the balance and imbalance of its status as "colonial master." The terms "imperial" and "colonial" will be used according to Said's definitions in Culture and Imperialism:therefore ' "imperialism" means the practices, the theory, and the attitudes of a dominating metropolitan centre ruling a distant territory....[whilst] "colonialism" which is almost always a consequence of imperialism, is the implanting of settlements on distant territory' (8).

It is certain that Dickens empathised and had strong links with both Victorian concepts of family, duty and honour both at home and in India: his son Walter had left for military service in India in July 1857, shortly after the Mutiny (Peters 176), whilst Dickens had by that time played the role of the dutiful, self-sacrificing Walter Hartwright several times in Wilkie Collins' play The Frozen Deep(Oddie 14).

The desire for vengeance following the attack on these cultural cornerstones of Victorian life by the mutineers suggests an imperial culture under threat from a rebellious Other it prefers to leave unacknowledged. The Mutineers and the colonisers are, from the British colonial viewpoint, polar opposites. Therefore, as JanMohammed argues, 'if [the European] assumes that the Other is irremediably different, then he would have little incentive to adopt the viewpoint of that alterity: he would again tend to turn to the security of his own cultural perspective' (18).Such is the British colonial stance: the Mutiny provides an extreme example of the disruption of such a viewpoint. The colonised native forces his or her presence onto the coloniser, who is therefore placed under threat in terms of his or her position in the colony as "colonial master," and furthermore has 'his [or her] own cultural perspective' forcibly removed from its position of extreme alterity to be repositioned side to side with a now equally articulate native force. The British colonial presence, adopting a state of mind I shall term passive defensive fantasy, used to maintain the extreme alterity between itself and the "uncivilised" native, can only maintain the alterity it requires for its own sense of security under the new conditions imposed by an uprising, by changing its stance to that of active defensive fantasy: in this, brutal suppression of the native populace restores the feeling of security , superiority and alterity. Outward force repels the native figure, thus enabling the coloniser to once more occupy, if a little warily at first, the position of the passive defensive fantasy.

The simple plot of "Perils" affirms this: Gill Davis and his fellow soldiers arrive...

Other Essays Like Dickens' Defensive Fantasy of Imperial Stability

To What Extent Was Disraeli's Imperial Policy Driven by a Vision of Empire?

3588 words - 15 pages Malay. Disraeli was much in favour with keeping possession of the defensive frontiers already acquired by the previous Liberal government. Gladstone chose not to include Fiji in his Midlothian Campaign. The reasoning for this omission was that it was a procedure begun by Gladstone’s government and therefore a continuation of his policy under the new government. Most evidence seems to suggest that imperial policy was not the co-ordinated plan

A Tale Of Two Cities Essays: The French Revolution

3024 words - 13 pages France and England in A Tale of Two Cities - The French Revolution    Introduction  In the eighteen-fifties, Charles Dickens was concerned that social problems in England, particularly those relating to the condition of the poor, might provoke a mass reaction on the scale of the French Revolution.  In a letter written in 1855, for example, he refers to the unrest of the time as follows:  I believe the discontent to be so

Why Was World War One a Global War?

2436 words - 10 pages contributing to why the war was global, there are certain important factors that lead to why the war is considered to be global. Firstly, the political factors of World War One considerably contributed to the global sense of the war, with the role of the ever-continuing imperial ambitions and aims of the major powers of Europe. Secondly, A major reason as to why Europe was not the only location where the war was being fought was highly due to the

What You Want To Do In 15 Years?

1123 words - 5 pages profession that is considered neither here nor there in terms of childishness. I would like to become a fiction writer. A fiction writer is a person who invents stories, a non-fiction writer is a person who has had the experience he has written about. The fact remains that you can't become a full-time non fiction writer it is next to impossible. You'd have to hear about in detail or experience everything you write about.To Dickens, it came naturally

Narrative Check List

566 words - 3 pages [pic] PLOT AND STRUCTURE: Checklist. • Plan a convincing /realistic story • Make sure some form of CONFLICT is at the centre. • CONFLICT between two or more people, someone in conflict with themselves (making a decision, perhaps), conflict between a person and society, or a person and nature. • Simple and personal ideas work well • Start from what you know and build/ elaborate on this. • Avoid fantasy fiction

Fahrenheit 451

702 words - 3 pages WHEN THE PULITZER PRIZES were handed out in May during a luncheon at Columbia University, two special citations were given. One went to John Coltrane (who died in 1967), the fourth time a jazz musician has been honored. The other went to Ray Bradbury, the first time a writer of science fiction and fantasy has been honored. Bradbury, a longtime Los Angeles resident who leads an active civic life and even drops the Los Angeles Times letters to

Educationg Rita - Explore the Ways in Which Russell Makes Scene One a Dramatic and Effective Opening

1158 words - 5 pages the next section. “’E’,’e’ ‘e’… (Suddenly he remembers) Dickens” “Jubilantly he moves to the Dickens section and pulls out a pile of books to reveal a bottle of whisky.” This is humorous as you wouldn’t expect this from a university lecturer. “The telephone rings…” This is a dramatic device use by Russell to help the audience get a bit of information about Frank. In the conversation Franks partner Julia asks if he is coming home for tea

Explain Why, by 1917, the Attitude of Both German and Allied Soldiers Towards the War Had Changed

777 words - 4 pages for their beliefs. Patriotism, honour, duty, peer pressure and steady income were the main factors and contributions to the excitement of war. Despite the excitement, the German government faced difficulty with convincing the people of their reason for war. Due to Germany being encircled, the idea of a defensive war could be justified and other propaganda was created. Strict government control prevented media discussion of negative military


2467 words - 10 pages been validated by the unfolding of history. As always, throughout the entirety of the Cold War, traditionalists argue that America was free of any imperial pretensions, acting only in a defensive capacity. As mentioned above, these orthodox histories often came from those who had formerly worked for the U.S. government (usually the State Department) and thus give the reader an “insider’s view” into the motivations and processes of the

Building Healthy Society

2163 words - 9 pages ourselves from these pathologies depends on a common solution -- replacing the underlying dominator cultures and institutions of Empire with the partnership cultures and institutions of Earth Community. Unfortunately, we cannot look to imperial powerholders to lead the way. History shows that as empires crumble the ruling elites become ever more corrupt and ruthless in their drive to secure their own power -- a dynamic now playing out in

The Government Of Japan

2362 words - 10 pages The Government of JapanEarly in Japan's history, society was controlled by a ruling elite of powerful clans. The most powerful emerged as a kingly line and later as the imperial family in Yamato in the third century A.D., claiming descent from the gods who created Japan. An imperial court and government, shaped by Chinese political and social institutions, was established. Often, powerful court families effected a hereditary regency, having

Related Papers

The Greatest Good For The Greatest Number

527 words - 3 pages ompare the presentation of Gradgrind and the presentation of the circus. The Victorian era was a time of great change and in 1854, when Dickens was writing Hard Times, Britain was hugely confident as a developing industrial nation and Imperial power. Hard Times is a fictional literary review of the Science of Political Economy, and the philosophy of Utilitarianism. This was contemporaneous with the Conservative government’s view that the

"Hard Times" By Charles Dickens Essay

927 words - 4 pages Dickens takes the horsemanship against the gloomy Coketown, at least so it is in "Hard Times". However, it is only a fantasy of Dickens to fly to the horsemanship, as it is the capitalists who control the Coketown and the horsemanship as well.As in the view of some certain bourgeois critics, "Hard Times" is a book full of sullen Socialism. Though, of course, the novel does not show any confidence or affirmation in the proletariat. Yet the hardness

Dickens, Thurber, Andersen, London And Perseus

930 words - 4 pages , soap operas and talking head yakety-yak cable tabloid shows. Because my cerebrum delights in working by making bizarre associations, whenever my mind thinks of Charles Dickens, the great English author is filed and classified in a “mental cabinet” along with James Thurber, Hans Christian Andersen, Jack London and the mythical ancient Greek hero, Perseus. All of these personages had to overcome trials, tribulations and adversity. They

The Role Of The Emperor In Meiji Japan

1927 words - 8 pages to take on anti-foreign policies. The choice of the imperial thrown by the imperialists as a point for Japan to rally around could not have been more wise. Although the imperial institution had no real power it had universal appeal to the Japanese public. It was both a mythic and religious idea in their minds.Footnote11 It provided the Japanese in this time of chaos after coming in contact with foreigners a belief in stability