How is Mr. Watts seen through the eyes of Matilda?
Mr. Watts is a liar whose life is based on half truths. He transforms from ‘Pop Eye’ to an influential teacher and to Matilda and the children on the island, he is a knowledgeable, superior man who brings energy to them. Portrayal is arguably reflective of the structure of the narrative and Lloyd Jones has chosen to tell ‘Mister Pip’ through the eyes of a young, depressed Matilda. Furthermore we receive a biased view on life on the island, which is coming from someone who has possibly suffered from post-traumatic stress. The character of Matilda is essentially a device used by Jones which demonstrates how memories are untrustworthy and distorted because she is an innocent child who chooses to filter her memories. Also she is a going through puberty so would not necessarily remember some are of things that are happening to her. Jones chooses to base the novel on the island of Bougainville as it is a remote part of the world which is isolated. This allows him to make things up as people are not likely to know what happens there.
Throughout the novel Matilda’s view on Mr. Watts changes. Initially, Mr. Watts is introduced as a cartoon character like, ‘Pop Eye’. Then his triumph on the island is determined by the book, ‘Great Expectations’ as when he becomes the children’s educator, he re-tells an easier version of ‘Great Expectations’ which is essentially injustice to the children as he is holding back their learning. As the story progresses, Mr. Watts becomes referred to as ‘Tom Watts’ a man of deceit and pitiful lies. Matilda meets Tom’s ex-wife, ‘June Watts’ at the climax of the narrative and Matilda discoverers how Tom was a cheating liar.
Lloyd Jones has chosen to use the name Mr. Watts because the word ‘Watts’ suggests power and Mr. Watts is powerful because he is the only white man on the village. The word also connotes energy because Mr. Watts is the energy for the children as he has dedicated...
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