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It would be fair to say that Australias role in Great Expectations is fairly minimal It simply functions as a plot device a place to deposit Magwitch when he is no longer required and a place for him to return from when needed again to further the plot With the rise in postcolonial studies however Australia and Magwitchs experiences there have become the focal points for new readings of the novel Thus it is through a postcolonial reading of Great Expectations that the issue of Magwitchs return can be addressed As I have already pointed out Dickens uses Australia to get rid of Magwitch in the first place and then to have him return This return I have always found to be problematic why does Magwitch come back under the threat of death The answer to see Pip is not satisfactory However a postcolonial reading of the novel I feel offers a more plausible explanation Magwitchs identity and status with regard to the empire throughout the text is an important factor in his motivations for returning In Postcolonial terms he is seen through the eyes of the empire and those of the reader as other Pips first encounter marks him thus firstly as a convict and then through the cannibal references when he threatens to eat Pips fat cheeks 3 GE and threatens to have another convict eat his heart and liver Due to Magwitchs otherness and subsequent inability to function in normative society he along with his heart eating fellow cannibal is being transported displaced and removed from the centre The shipment of convicts to Australia was familiar to Dickens and though never having gone there he was a firm believer in its benefits for both the convicts and the imperial centre it was the solution for all social problems for England Coral Lansbury Charles Dickens and his Australia It seems for the Victorian reader at least that no elaboration on Magwitchs Australian
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