Arab World English Journal (AWEJ) Special Issue on Literature No.3 October, 2015                  Pp.115-126

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Colonel Jacks Americas and Spiritual Allegory

Khaled Aljenfawi
Department of English, Faculty of Arts
Kuwait University, Kuwait


What seems to be interesting about Daniel Defoe’s novel Colonel Jack (1722) is the apparent eagerness of its protagonist colonel Jack to achieve the status of a gentleman! Born as an orphan, turning later into a petty thief and somewhat a reluctant pickpocket, Jack however believes that he is destined to become a gentleman. Defoe creates in Colonel Jack a parallel narratives, a spiritual journey from sin to repentance and a journey to realize the dream of becoming a gentleman. Jack goes through these two parallel journeys and ultimately synthesizes an extraordinary reality: spiritual repentance leads to becoming a gentleman! The place where this remarkable transformation in the destiny of Jack happens is Virginia, both an actual physical location and a spiritual site of atonement. Ultimately, Jack realizes that his earlier dreams of becoming a gentleman were desires for spiritual and moral penitence. Defoe seemed to have intended Jacks’ life of crime, repentance and eventual prosperity as a moral tale. He examines how Jack’s poverty prevented him from achieving his promised gentry’s status. However throughout the narrative of the life of Colonel Jack we realize that his spiritual journey toward prosperity and permanent settlement continues to be problematic in the sense that Defoe creates an erratic route toward repentance which goes through crime!
Keywords: allegory, gentleman, parallel, repentance, Virginia.


Khaled Aljenfawi, PhD. Assistant Professor in the Department of English, Faculty of Arts at
Kuwait University. He is interested in researching/ writing about the representations of Arab,
Muslims and Middle Easterners in Eighteenth-Century English Literature. He currently teaches
English Literature at Kuwait University.