Jasper Jones Moral Speech

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Craig Silvey engages us with Jasper Jones in order to convey a certain moral message in hope to make us stop and think. No one in this novel is truly accepted into the community, which tells me as the responder, that in order for this society to succeed differences need to be tossed aside. Jasper Jones is a credible recollection of the injustice, racism and social exclusion that exists in the Australian society. It also tackles growing up, first love, family unity, and a sense of belonging in a community.

It is not hard for me to forget that this novel is set in 1965, in a rural town known as Corrigan. It is very similar to the one Silvey grew up in, although he denies writing the book purely on his personal experience, wanting to question a wider experience than his own. Corrigan is a town drenched in secrecy and mistrust, but it is also a landscape shaped by tragedy and loss. This theme is explored in the book through thoughts, emotions and exchanges between the two central characters, Charlie and Jasper. They share deep thoughts on their views of the world, and are clearly outsiders in this community. Indeed, no character appears to be a comfortable insider in the town, from Mad Jack Lionel, labelled as a dangerous 'village idiot', to the gang of egotistic teenagers who attempt to bully everyone else, the only effect of which being to highlight their own distance from the community center. While the hostility is often visible, it is the potential for violence spread through the town that imparts a persistent tension throughout the text. Past actions can disturb the contemporary landscapes of the town to such a degree; through brittle relationships with families (Eliza and her parents for example), secrets that can possibly destroy the concept of love itself (such as Jack Lionel's and Charlie's mother's secrets), and the community's incapacity to accept differences. Together, this renders ideas of the shared redundant. Silvey's novel was set during the...
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