Personal Response Grace Curel “Mister Pip” Essay
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Mister Pip by Lloyd Jones is a compelling story of a young girl called Matilda Laimo caught in the throes of a civil war. Set in 1991 it occurs during the civil unrest between the indigenous people of Bougainville and the Mainland, Papua New Guinea government.
The title of Mister Pip is very significant to the story as it connects the imagination and reality aspects of the novel. “Mister Pip” is a nod to Charles Dickens novel “Great Expectations”, as it is named after the main character, Mister Pip.
This character is very important to the story as they become the only beacon of hope to the children of Bougainville when they are read “Great Expectations” by Mr. Watts. This influences many children to use their Imagination as a form of escapism from their gruesome surroundings and also ends up being the downfall to the community’s safety when Invaders demand they bring Mister pip to them after hearing courageous stories of his bravery.
Mister Pip is perhaps the most compelling fictional story based on a historical event I have ever read. While brutality in a book is not something I tend to gravitate to, I found Lloyd Jones’ adaptation of the 1991 civil war eye-opening. The story seemed authentic and believable in the way he described the struggles of the citizens stuck in the middle of the civil war through the eyes of young Matilda. Even though at times the Novel was nothing but brutal, Such as when members of the community were brutally murdered and feed to the pigs while family and friends were forced to watch on. It forced me into the shoes of Matilda and made me realize that the genocide of indigenous people was not something of the 18th century but rather a sad reality which still happens in this century.
“the took my mum to the edge of the jungle, to the same place they\’d dragged Mr. Watts, and there they chopped her up and feed her to the pigs” This particular quote from the novel really opened my eyes and made me realize the privileged life I live. It was sobering to realize I have food on the table a roof over my head and clothes on my back when some girls my age don\’t even know if they will be murdered or live to see another day. It especially made me think of how sheltered and naive I\’ve been to not realize Matilda\’s life of being plagued by the question of whether you will be killed by Rebels or foreign invaders is the very thought that goes through the minds of people still to this very day.
Another aspect of Mister Pips which I really admired was her portrayal of Mr. Watts. His bravery and optimism were really unexpected yet it gave the kids of Bougainville and the story an unexpected hero in the times when there seemed to be no hope. Having such a human character who was elderly and an outcast really gave the story a realistic twist which is not commonly seen. It was really inspiring to read how he risked his life to give the kids hope and an escape from their brutal surroundings even if I was just for an hour or two “ No matter what happens, I want this place to be a place of light”, this quote really showed Mr. Watts unselfishness and his eager to inspire the children he read too.
In conclusion I found Lloyd Jones novel Mister pip very historically accurate and one of the most compelling novels based on a historical events I have ever read as well as portraying the hero of the story in a realistic manner to show that to be a hero you don\’t have to be strong and to physically fight your problems but rather be courageous and put other people before yourself. I also found the novel very eye opening to the struggles that people still face to this day and made me realize how privileged I am to live in a country like New Zealand where I don’t have the threat of war looming over my head.
I would really recommend this novel to year twelve students as it gives an insight into the struggles that many girls our age still face to this day.