Mr Pip Chapters 1+2

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  • Mr Pip Chapters 1+2
    • WHAT ARE THE CHAPTERS ABOUT?
      • Matilda describes Mr Watts and Grace; she shows how the Whites are seen through the Islanders' eyes. They don't understand the white people. Matilda talks about her family and then the war. It shows how the villagers were living in fear
    • WHAT IDEAS ARE PRESENT?
      •  Prejudice; making assumptions about things we don't necessarily understand. Cultural differences.
      • Mental illness and people's responses to it.
      • War and its effects.
      • The motif of colour.
    • IMPORTANT QUOTES TO GO WITH THE IDEAS
      • “Popeye was the only White for miles around...little kids stared at him until their iceblocks melted over their black hands.”
        • Contrast: White, used as proper noun and capitalised; black used as adjective, not capitalised. Suggests superior status of whites.
      • “Our parents looked away...Mrs Watts was as mad as a goose.”
        • Simile: mad as a goose. This gives a local comparison. Westerners would say “mad as a hatter” but the Islanders would not understand this reference. They all kept chooks and geese and geese behaved in crazy ways.
      • “The redskins were going to choke the island and the rebels into submission.” “Soon the littlest kids came down with malaria”
      • . “Blue parasol” (Mrs Popeye) “What was the difference between these black umbrellas and the blue parasol?” “We had grown up believing white to be the colour of all the important things.” “We are black as the night. The soldiers looked like people leached up out of the red earth.”
        • . Symbolism: the colours are used as a motif to represent difference. Rhetorical question – it is am impossible one to answer but makes the reader think of the meaning behind it. Black umbrellas seem to represent Islanders – big, unsophisticated; the parasol represents the West – delicate and stylish.
    • IMPORTANT CHARACTER INTERACTIONS
      • Mr Watts and his wife. We get an early insight into their relationship and wonder why he pushes her around in the trolley. The Islanders think it's because he's a crazy White man but as Westerners, we know there must be some other reason behind it.
      •   Matilda is established as the narrator: both and observer and a participant. We get her child-eye view of the way the children saw Mr Watts and grace, as well as snippets of adult conversation, filling in a few of the blanks.
    • HOW DOES IT MOVE THE STORY/LINK TO OTHER CHAPTERS?
      • Establishes Matilda as the narrator. Gives some background to the war and Matilda's family circumstances. Explains why the Islanders don't understand the Whites which links to the second chapter, where it is revealed that this ignorance is mainly because of the Blockade that is in effect around the Island.

Comments

Paul Dutton

Some good information about the opening two chapters.

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