Literature That Saves: Matilda as a Reader of Great Expectations in Mister Pip by Lloyd Jones

Open access


The article reflects on the therapeutic and ethical potential of literature, the theme which is often marginalized and overlooked by literary critics, in the novel Mister Pip by Lloyd Jones. Matilda, the main character of the analyzed novel, finds salvation in the times of war and oppression thanks to Charles Dickens’s masterpiece, Great Expectations, and the only white man on the island−her teacher, Mr. Watts. Matilda’s strong identification with Dickensian Pip (their similarities and differences) and imagination make her escape to another world, become a self-conscious person and reunite with her father. The paper also discusses relationships between Matilda, Mr. Watts (her spiritual guide and creator of her story, who presents the girl with expectations for a better future) and her mother, Dolores. I attempt to show the emotional development of the characters, their interactions, changes, sense of identity (significant for both Jones and Dickens), and, having analyzed their actions, I compare them to protagonists created by Charles Dickens (Pip, Miss Havisham, Estella). Needless to say, drawing the reader’s attention to British culture and traditions, Lloyd Jones avoids focusing on the negative aspects of the postcolonial views, pointing out that “the white man” can be an example of a Dickensian gentleman.

Ashcroft, Bill, Gareth Griffiths, and Helen Tiffin. The Post-Colonial Studies Reader. London: Routledge, 1995. Print.

Attridge, Derek. The Singularity of Literature. London: Routledge, 2004. Print.

Bedell, Geraldine. “From Hard Times to Great Expectations.” Rev. of Mister Pip, by Lloyd Jones. The Guardian 14 Oct. 2007. Web. 19 Dec. 2016.

Burleigh, Lindy. “Dickens in the South Pacific.” Rev. of Mister Pip, by Lloyd Jones. The Telegraph 5 July 2007. Web. 19 Dec. 2016.

Fludernik, Monika. An Introduction to Narratology. London and New York: Routledge, 2009. Print.

Jones, Lloyd. Mister Pip. London: John Murray, 2006. Print.

Klonowska, Barbara. “Great Expectations a Hundred and Fifty Years Later: Strategies of Appropriation.” Reflections on/of Dickens. Ed. Ewa Kujawska-Lis and Anna Krawczyk-Łaskarzewska. Newcastle: Cambridge Scholars, 2014. 222–34. Print.

Kossew, Sue. “‘Pip in the Pacific’: Reading as Sensation in Lloyd Jones’s Mister Pip.” Literature and Sensation. Ed. Anthony Uhlmann et al. Newcastle: Cambridge Scholars, 2009. 280–89. Print.

Laing, Olivia. “Pip Pip.” Rev. of Mister Pip, by Lloyd Jones. The Guardian 7 July 2007. Web. 19 Dec. 2016.

Latham, Monica. “The Battle for the Spare Room and the Triumph of Hybridity in Lloyd Jones’s Mister Pip.” Hybridity: Forms and Figures in Literature and the Visual Arts. Ed. Vanessa Guignery, Catherine Peso-Miquel and Francois Specq. Newcastle: Cambridge Scholars, 2011. 82–91. Print.

O’Reilly, Elizabeth. “Lloyd Jones: Critical Perspective.” British Council 2010. Web. 19 Dec. 2016.

Robinson, Roger, and Nelson Wattie. The Oxford Companion to New Zealand Literature. Oxford: Oxford UP, 1998. Print.

Uggla, Frederika. “Picking up Threads: Intertextuality in the Postcolonial World of Lloyd Jones’s Mister Pip.” Diss. Lund U, 2012. Print.

Text Matters

A Journal of Literature, Theory and Culture; The Journal of University of Lodz

Journal Information

SCImago Journal Rank (SJR) 2017: 0.101


All Time Past Year Past 30 Days
Abstract Views 0 0 0
Full Text Views 379 378 42
PDF Downloads 140 140 20