Characters in novels are important and key figures in the construction and representation of human experiences and relationships. Characters are constructed to position readers to be aware of certain themes and ideas through the presentation of experiences of which we may relate to. Lloyd Jones’ Mister Pip (2006) presents the theme of the power of literature through the construction of the characters, Matilda, Dolores and several more. Through these characters, literature (or story-telling) is an extremely powerful theme in Mister Pip as it not only provides an escape for the community, but also as a tool to bring them together and shape their views of the world.
Matilda, a teenage girl, is the main protagonist of the novel. Matilda is constructed to be a young, and initially, innocent girl from Bougainville. Bougainville is an island owned by Papua New Guinea with a flourishing copper mine, but due to the rebellion led by Francis Onas, all the locals were suppressed and trapped within the island by soldiers from Papua New Guinea (redskins).
Matilda is without her father (who is working in Townsville, Australia) and is left with her extremely religious mother, Dolores Laimo. She is shown to be unsure about many things and attempts to comprehend the horror of her surroundings, along with many others on the island. All education has stopped on the island since all but one white man has left the island and the villagers are left stranded in their own fear. However, when Mr. Watts offers to teach the children, do the children gain a new form of escape. This is illustrated after the first reading of Great Expectations, “But as the rebels an redskins went on butchering one another, we had another reason for hiding under the cover of night. Mr. Watts had given us kids another world to spend the night in. We could escape to another place.” where the children uses Great Expectations as their escape from the horror of war, showing the power of literature as a tool of...
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