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Greetings, ladies and

gentlemen, today I would like


to share my own reading of
Jasper Jones by Craig Silvey.
As you know, Jasper Jones is
categorized as a Southern
Gothic text and one of its
most prominent attributes is
the development of the
characters.
Through the development of
these eccentric, bizarre
characters, we are able to
realize the darkness that is
intrinsic to humanity.
Theres no denying that
everyone in the world, no
matter who they are, has
endless potential to do
whatever they want.
But, what people seem to
deny is the other side of this
potential. Torture, abuse,
manipulation, exploitation,
betrayal.
We deny this reality; we put
on facades and social niceties
in order to keep the peace
Its simply how our world
works.
This hidden, grotesque side
of human nature is what
Jasper Jones exposes. It
doesnt merely expose this,
but it alters how we perceive
ourselves and shatters
whatever delusion of
innocence we ever thought
humanity once had.
The darkness intrinsic to
humanity can be explored in
the effects that the twisted
town of Corrigan has on the
characters in the story.
The novel is written from the
perspective of Charlie
Bucktin, a 13 year old
introvert and Jaspers Jones
partner-in-crime in more
than one sense.
Unfortunately, at least at
first, Charlie is quite nave of
the true nature of the world
around him, and he initially
seeks solace inside the
fictional universes of his
books.

He initially makes all kinds of


references to fictional
characters because he
wanted to deny his reality of
being constrained by his own
dysfunctional family and
alienated by the town.
Now, add that to his burden
of carrying such a heavy
secret with Jasper and the
psychological effects it has
on him. The constant
paranoia, the fear, guilt and
the anxiety he feels are
evident through his thoughts
and actions.
These feelings are due to the
secret he holds, and the root
of that were the actions of
the town. Both as individuals
and the mass belief of
placing more value into
appearances rather than
justice.
I actually think main cause of
Lauras suicide wasnt the
fact that she was raped and
abused, but rather the fact
that no one did anything to
stop it. This is perhaps not so
much with Jasper and Eliza,
since they felt responsible for
her death and certainly
wouldve tried to help if given
the chance.
The fault lies in Lauras
parents, the ones who
refused to do anything and
placed more faith in the
illusion of power and social
status rather than justice.
The depiction of their
indifference just goes to show
how terrifying the innate lust
for power can be, driving
parents to indirectly murder
their own children.
Lauras mother doesnt see
her father as Pete Wishart
she sees him as the Shire
President. A figure of power
and influence in the town,
and it seems that she would
prefer the leverage to her
flesh and blood.
Of course, this is a total
switch from how he is at
home, away from prying
eyes. He is an abusive
alcoholic who rapes his

daughter for no apparent


reason. Maybe he wanted to
establish a form of
dominance, or maybe he
wanted her to develop
Stockholms syndrome no
one can really tell.
In the case of Mad Jack
Lionel, the darkness in
humans is portrayed through
the tendency for people to
warp information for some
kind of beneficial gain. Also
known as bending the truth
or tweaking the details.
All kinds of rumours and
stories were based around
him, without anyone knowing
the truth. In the end, whats
accepted by the masses was
regarded as truth despite the
lack of genuine information.
It was because of the lie from
Jaspers father and the gossip
in town that Jack was isolated
from the town. So much so,
that the only ones he saw
were the children who dared
to steal his peaches.
Although it is true that he
killed Jaspers mother, the
fact that it was accident
escapes most people since
they dont know the truth.
Lastly, Jasper and Jeffrey both
get discriminated by the town
for factors out of their
control: namely, their race.
They arent defined by who
they are as people, but by
the connotations of
stereotypes.
Jasper is well known as the
scapegoat of the town, being
falsely accused of anything
bad that ever happens. But
he takes it in his stride, not
seeming vengeful at all.
Rather, he appears forgiving.
Jeffrey also deals with this in
his own way. Hes portrayed
as that one nice guy. The
optimist who light up the
mood for everyone else.
They both face hardships of
varying natures, and deal
with them in their own way. It
can be argued that Jaspers

forgiveness and Jeffreys


over-optimism could in
actuality be coping
mechanisms. I think that this
part of their behaviour may
be acts of overcompensation
rather than personality traits.

Or perhaps its just how


Charlie wishes to view them, I
mean, the whole book is from
his perspective so anythings
possible.
As a final note, I ask of you
this: Do you know what the

butterfly effect is? Do you


think the characters are
absurd and bizarre, or is it
because of the pitiful
circumstances?