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1 Hawthorne Literature- A to Z

Mister Pip


Mister Pip Cover

ISBN13: 9780385341073
ISBN10: 0385341075
Condition: Standard
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Reading Group Guide

1. Is it important that Mr. Watts is the last white man on the island? Why?

2. Why does Matilda write Pips name in the sand alongside the names of her relatives? Why does this upset her mother? How does this contribute to Doloress feelings about Mr. Wattss instruction of her daughter? Are these feelings understandable?

3. Why do you think Mr. Watts pulled his wife in the cart? Why did he wear the red clown nose? What meaning did that have for them?

4. What is the message Matildas mother is trying to express to the children with the story of her mothers braids? How is this related to the issue of Mr. Wattss faith in God?

5. What did you think of the lessons that the mothers of the children bring to the classroom? If you were the parent of a child in Matildas class, what lesson would you teach the children? What might your mother have taught the class?

6. Who is Dolores warning the children about when she tells them the story about the devil lady and the church money? How does this story justify her actions regarding the book and the redskins? Do you agree with Doloress refusal to bring forth the book? With Matildas?

7. Where do you think Gilberts father takes Sam? How do you know? In your opinion, was it necessary that he do so?

8. Why does the corned beef in Mr. Wattss house “represent a broad hope” for Matilda? Discuss Mr. Wattss reaction to Matildas fragment. Do you believe that Grace was alive when Matilda arrived?

9. Discuss how the characters in this story struggle to reconcile the concepts of race and identity. Does it seem to dictate their interaction with each other? How does it influence their concepts of self? What moments, especially, helped reveal this to you?

10. What is the meaning of the story of the Queen of Sheba? Why does Mr. Watts bring it up? Why is it significant that Dolores is familiar with that story?

11. Why does Dolores step forward to declare herself “Gods witness” to the murder of Mr. Watts? Were you surprised that she did? Why does she insist that Matilda remain silent?

12. Do you think Matilda was able to return home? How would that outcome affect your reading of both novels?

13. Discuss your memorable experiences of being read to as a child. What book made the greatest impact on your life? Did any book come to you at precisely the right time, the way Great Expectations was brought to Matilda?

14. On Great Expectations and Mister Pip. Are both Mister Pip and Great Expectations universal coming-of-age tales? How did you react to the blending of these two distinctly different settings and time periods?

15. The initial lines of Great Expectations are reflected several times in this novel. Compare them to the opening lines of Mister Pip. What connections do these first sentences draw between the themes of both novels?

16. In what way are the narrative voices of Mister Pip and Great Expectations the same? How are they different? What shifts do you notice in the storytelling after Matilda leaves the island? How did this impact your reading?

17. How is Doloress treatment of Matilda similar to Estellas treatment of Pip in Great Expectations? How does this relationship help Matilda understand Pips attachment to Estella? Is it necessary that this attachment be severed before Pip/Matilda can grow individually?

18. Why do you think Mr. Watts omitted the characters of Orlick and Compeyson from his telling of Great Expectations? What additional meaning might the children have gleaned from the story if these characters and their storylines, such as Compeysons jilting of Miss Havisham, had been included?

19. What is signified by the changing of ones name, both in Great Expectations and Mister Pip? Why does Matilda not change her name?

20. In what ways does Great Expectations help Matilda cope with her reality and prepare her for the future? How does it help Mr. Watts deal with his past? What makes Great Expectations the ideal Dickens choice for this purpose?

What Our Readers Are Saying

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Average customer rating based on 6 comments:

itpdx, December 24, 2013 (view all comments by itpdx)
A little treasure. A story about where a book and your imagination can take you. The last white man in a village on a island of Papua New Guinea during a civil war that has isolated the village takes on teaching the children. Through the eyes of a thirteen year old girl in the village, the most successful lesson is the Mr. Watt's reading of Dicken's Great Expectations. But he also invites the adults of the village to share their knowledge and stories with the children. A book, imagination and the horror of war weave an amazing story.
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Addicted to the page, January 4, 2011 (view all comments by Addicted to the page)
Lloyd Jones bases his story of the power of imagination in the civil war on Bougainville, Papua New Guinea, where a young girl, her mother, and an eccentric foreign teacher collide with a dangerous soldier. Poignant and powerful.
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(2 of 4 readers found this comment helpful)
Julie Spezia, January 1, 2011 (view all comments by Julie Spezia)
I loved this book and gave it to several discerning readers. When I was in New Zealand I bought other books by Lloyd Jones. All worth the read.
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Product Details

Jones, Lloyd
Dial Press
Books and reading
General Fiction
Literature-A to Z
fiction;papua new guinea;new zealand;dickens;charles dickens;war;great expectations;novel;bougainville;coming of age;south pacific;literature;new guinea;new zealand fiction;civil war;island;books about books;21st century;contemporary;literary fiction;teac
Edition Description:
Trade paper
Publication Date:
May 2008
Grade Level:
12 x 9 x 5 in 9.77 lb

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Mister Pip Used Trade Paper
0 stars - 0 reviews
$5.95 In Stock
Product details 272 pages Dial Press - English 9780385341073 Reviews:
"Staff Pick" by ,

One of the best books I read in 2008, Mister Pip is the kind of lyrical and poignant novel one wishes to find every few weeks. An added bonus: it also inspires a desire to reread Dickens's Great Expectations.

"Publishers Weekly Review" by , "A promising though ultimately overwrought portrayal of the small rebellions and crises of disillusionment that constitute a young narrator's coming-of-age unfolds against an ominous backdrop of war in Jones's latest. When the conflict between the natives and the invading 'redskin' soldiers erupts on an unnamed tropical island in the early 1990s, 13-year-old Matilda Laimo and her mother, Dolores, are unified with the rest of their village in their efforts for survival. Amid the chaos, Mr. Watts, the only white local (he is married to a native), offers to fill in as the children's schoolteacher and teaches from Dickens's Great Expectations. The precocious Matilda, who forms a strong attachment to the novel's hero, Pip, uses the teachings as escapism, which rankles Dolores, who considers her daughter's fixation blasphemous. With a mixture of thrill and unease, Matilda discovers independent thought, and Jones captures the intricate, emotionally loaded evolution of the mother-daughter relationship. Jones (The Book of Fame; Biografi) presents a carefully laid groundwork in the tense interactions between Matilda, Dolores and Mr. Watts, but the extreme violence toward the end of the novel doesn't quite work. Jones's prose is faultless, however, and the story is innovative enough to overcome the misplayed tragedy. (July)" Publishers Weekly (Copyright Reed Business Information, Inc.)
"Review" by , "[A]n assured tribute to the remarkable ability of literature to see us through adversities and tribulations. The Man Booker committee would be on the mark were it to give its prestigious award to Mister Pip."
"Review" by , "Not just a delightful read, Mister Pip shows the cut and thrust of true multiculturalism."
"Review" by , "The accessible narrative, with its direct and graceful prose, belies the sophistication of its telling as Jones addresses head-on the effects of imperialism and the redemptive power of art."
"Review" by , "[A]ddresses ideas of place and homesickness with conviction...a worthwhile read."
"Review" by , "Mister Pip is sheer magic, a story about stories and their power to transcend the limits of imagination and reside in the deep heart's core. Lloyd Jones is a brave and fierce writer, and he has given us Dickens brand new again."
"Review" by , "[I]f Mister Pip is preachy — and it is — it's also a book with worthwhile thoughts to impart. Mr. Jones's ability to translate these thoughts into the gentle, tropical, roundabout idiom of his setting...turns out to be genuinely affecting."
"Review" by , "A little Gauguin, a bit of Lord Jim, the novel's lyricism evokes great beauty and great pain."
"Synopsis" by , In a transcendent novel that is at once intense, beautiful, and fable-like, the author of Biograf celebrates the resilience of the human spirit and the power of narrative to transform lives.
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