Bougainville's One Character Analysis

1236 Words 5 Pages
Conflict grips the World in 2014: civil war rages in Syria, ISIS ravages Iraq, and Ukraine remains a battleground. These conflicts resemble Mister Pip’s setting, 1990s New Guinea, in which rebels combat government forces, pressuring the inhabitants of Bougainville, a small village, including the widow Dolores, her daughter Matilda, and Matilda’s teacher, Mr. Watts, to make quick decisions regarding their essential values. In each of the three cases, the characters make hasty choices because they cannot fully consider their actions’ consequences. Conflicted environments cause one to misinterpret his/her core values to make rash decisions, but he/she usually positively changes his/her conduct to accurately reflect these values.
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In reality, they often misconstrue or warp these values before acting positively. Mr. Watts’ conduct shows this in Mister Pip. After reading Great Expectations in Australia, Matilda notices, “Mr. Watts had read a different version to us kids. A simpler version ” (225). Mr. Watts had taken one of his core values, the appreciation of great literature, and misinterpreted it to mean he must dumb down Great Expectations for poor, black children. He is wrong in doing so, but he allowed the conflict between himself and Dolores to allow him to make such a poor choice. If he had not had such a force acting on him, he likely would have been wiser. Additionally, Mr. Watts makes a poor decision in how to tell his story to the rebels. He tells a largely fictitious story to the armed and dangerous rebels, lying about objective facts, such as his age (161). He did this because he valued the community and togetherness it would create among the villagers and the rebels, as well as to save himself. However, it was a major risk that indirectly contributed to Mr. Watts’ death. Mr. Watts shows that people in conflicts do not act perfectly, but instead make often detrimental decisions they view as …show more content…
The difficult civil war pushes good people in Bougainville to make bad decisions: Dolores steals Great Expectations, the villagers burn an innocent man’s possessions, and Matilda flees her home without a proper goodbye. Fortunately, they adjust their conduct once they calm down from the pressure and stress of conflicted environments. Dolores protects Matilda from the consequences of Dolores’ actions. Matilda connects with her father. The villagers mourn Mr. Watts’ loss. Although it may seem like difficult situations bring out the best in people, Mr. Watts’ conduct demonstrates otherwise. Ultimately, the impacts of Mister Pip’s environment on its characters’ actions is what makes the novel significant. It shows how all people succumb to external pressures at first, but internal forces eventually prevail. Any person can benefit from this lesson, and resist the often negative impacts environment can have on one’s

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