Doubleness and Alienation in the South Park Version of Great Expectations

Claudia Cao


This paper proposes a comparative analysis of the South Park episode “Pip” dedicated to Great Expectations (1861) by Charles Dickens. Starting from the assumption that every transposition is a form of active reworking that opens up and multiplies the source text on a semantic level, my essay shows how this animated series highlights a main theme of Great Expectations and refunctionalizes it in a science-fictional revisitation of the story: the theme of doubles and the alienation of the two youngest characters, Pip and Estella.

My methodological approach is based on the premise that, as a syncretic text, the transposition uses multiple languages to convey its communicative intention. In particular, the South Park episode emphasizes the focal point chosen throughout four closely interdependent means: the presence of a storyteller, the use of cuts and condensations, the dialectic between parody and fidelity to the original text and, finally, in the third part of the episode, the change of the genre from the original Bildungsroman to a science-fictional version.



Charles Dickens, Theory Of Transposition, Intersemiotic Translation, Adaptation

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