Jasper Jones

1 January 2017

The novel “Jasper Jones” by Craig Silvey is narrated in first person point of view by Charlie Bucktin (the main character of the book). But why? The book is called “Jasper Jones” yet it is told from Charlie’s point of view. This is because the story is about a girl called Laura Wishart committing suicide, which Charlie and Jasper try to find out why this happened, thinking that someone had actually murdered her. If the story was told from Jasper’s point of view the story would be less believable because of the false idea that all Aboriginal people are bad which means everything they say a lie.

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So instead it is told from Charlie’s point of view because he is European/white which makes his story believable and more credible. One of the main themes of the story is racism. During the 1960’s era there were a lot of racism issues in Australia. There was racism towards Aboriginal people and towards the Vietnamese people due to the Vietnam War. Jasper is actually a good person. He is: confident, clever, brave and mature. But the town fails to see this because of the racism towards him.

They blamed him for all the wrong doings in town such as burning the post office which in fact he didn’t do. Jasper is despised by the community but when it comes to sport, he is like everyone’s hero. He is constantly being abused by the police, for example when Jasper was called in for an inquiry by the police about the disappearance of Eliza Wishart they let the shire president hit/bash him. The police are meant to protect the young and Jasper is only a fifteen year old boy. The setting is a crucial part of the story.

It is set during the 1960’s Western Australia in the small country town of Corrigan. First of all in a small town word spreads as fast as a runaway train so when something bad happens like how the post office got burnt down, “apparently” by Jasper the town’s people are going to start talking. In Corrigan Jasper is the person being always being blamed. This is probably due to a few people starting rumors and spreading them through the small town. Why do people believe all these rumors? This links back to Jasper Being Aboriginal and because he is Aboriginal he is different.

In a small town people don’t accept difference and because Jasper is different he became he became the easy target for everyone to blame for the bad things that happen in Corrigan. Characterisation plays a big part in the story. It helps us understand what Craig Silvey wants to convey in his story about Jasper and Charlie. In the story Charlie is portrayed as a non-sporty, smart/educated person. Craig Silvey chooses to portray Charlie this way because compared to the other kids in town he is intelligent and since he is “white” the story that he is telling is more credible/believable.

Jasper on the other hand is portrayed as a very sporty boy that is well known through the town and has a bad reputation. He is intelligent but in a different way, not through education but through life experience. He is street smart. Jasper is portrayed this way because this is how society imagine how an Aboriginal person is like. There are many conflicts in the book such as Laura’s death, racism towards Jasper because he is Aboriginal, police brutality and racism towards Jeffery and his parents due to the Vietnam War.

The cause of Laura’s death was that she got sexually abused by her father and when she needed Jasper he went to work to earn some money without telling her thinking that Jasper had left, she thought there was no one to turn to she hung herself. As a father Laura’s dad was meant to protect her but instead but instead sexually abused her when she was most vulnerable, which was when she was asleep. Another conflict is how the town’s people treat Jasper. First of all Jasper has no one to look out from him. His mother died in an accident and his dad is a drunk.

But because he is an Aboriginal person he is stereotyped into the person who does all the bad things in town. The kind of language that Craig Silvey uses is very descriptive and emotive. The dialogue used is very different when you compare Jasper and Charlie. The English that Jasper speaks is very poor. This is stereotyped as how the typical Aboriginal person speaks. Silvey chooses to write Jasper’s dialogue like this so people will feel sympathetic towards his character. In contrast Charlie’s dialogue is smarter and more intelligent than the other kids and Jasper.

His speaks proper English but also uses Australian slang when he is around his friends and especially around Jasper. But because of his intelligent way of speaking the other kids dislike him and bully him when he uses “big” words. In a way the reader is made felt sorry for him but for a different reason compared with Jasper. To sum things up the story is told from Charlie’s point of view because it would make it more credible. The theme deals with racism towards Aboriginal and Vietnamese people during the 1960’s period. Characterisation makes us understand and able to relate to Jasper and Charlie.

There are 3 main conflicts in the story; first there is Eliza’s death, second the racism towards Aboriginal people and third police brutality when Jasper is questioned about Eliza’s disappearance which also links back to racism towards Aboriginal people. The dialogue used for Jasper is that of a typical Aboriginal person which makes you sympathetic towards him. In contrast with this Charlie’s dialogue is smarter than the other kids his age which leads to him getting bullied and this makes us feel sorry for him too.

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