Peter Carey's Creation of the Oedipal Complex.
Peter Carey has often been known for weaving intricate patterns of literary devices into his novels but he truly outdoes himself in his award winning novel, True History of the Kelly Gang. Along with many other literary strategies, Mr. Carey ingeniously incorporates a classic case of the oedipal complex into the life of famous bushranger Ned Kelly. The life choices of Ned Kelly from boy to outlaw explain themselves solely through Ned's relationship with his mother and his own oedipal complex.
Reviewers notice the extreme example of the oedipal complex and note its exception: "But it's from Carey that he got his mother complex" (Jones 1). A brief explanation of the oedipal complex is: "in psychoanalytic theory, a son's unconscious sexual love for his mother and his subsequent hostility and jealousy toward his father" ("Academic Press" 1). Ned's complex runs much deeper than previously defined and is true evidence that Peter Carey intentionally afflicts Ned. This is confirmed as Carey addresses all criteria of the oedipal complex in the novel.
Although the oedipal complex is presumed to be inherit in all children, the complex blossoms as a product of environment. "It's easy to look at this boy as a product of his class and circumstances; one more example of what happens when you imagine you can change your penal colony into a decent nation" (McCrum 1). Reviewers also notice that Ned is truly a product of his circumstances and therefore susceptible to external factors on his behavior.
The oedipal complex is most common in children who are exposed to intimate relations between their mother and father (Human Behavior 896). There is no doubt that Ned is continually exposed to the intimate workings of his mother's relationships, whether they be between her and Ned's father or between her and one of her suitors. The financial state of Ned's family only allows them a small hut with a sheet to separate the children from the parents.