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Historical Accuracy - Steve Creasy The Importance of...

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Steve Creasy 11/5/2006 The Importance of Historical Accuracy in Great Works As Hermione Lee stated in her description of the Booker Prize winners, historical accuracy, among other things, is a distinguishing characteristic of a great work. The historical correctness of a novel is often a dividing line between a good novel and a great work of literature, and many great authors ranging from Samuel Clemens to Charles Dickens have effectively recreated historical periods in their literary works. In the Blind Assassin and True History of the Kelly Gang , Margaret Atwood and Peter Carey use language to accurately describe each story’s culture, resulting in a powerful story that is extremely believable and very captivating. The Blind Assassin and True History of the Kelly Gang both base the events of the story around a specific time period in which certain historical events were taking place. In The Blind Assassin , the majority of the story focuses on Canada during the era of the Great Depression, while the True History of the Kelly Gang takes place in Australia during the late 1800’s when the country was being colonized. These two novels show historical factuality through their use of language that is reflective of the culture at the time, serving to greatly enhance the experience of the reader. The language used in the books reflects the setting’s culture by using regional dialect, specific social references, and unique simile. The True History of the Kelly Gang constantly reminds the reader of the setting of the novel, making it nearly impossible to forget where the novel takes place. Likewise, the references to British culture in The Blind Assassin provide subtle, yet effective, reminders of the story’s setting.
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In The True History of the Kelly Gang , regional dialect permeates the book, and at times the strong dialect seems to be overused. However, dialect is a distinguishing part of Australian culture, and if it were not used the story would lack an important element.
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