JASPER JONES - CRAIG SILVEY - ESSAY - MARGINALISATION
Jasper Jones Essay
The novel, ‘Jasper Jones’, is set in a small country town in outback Australia in the 1960s. The setting was influenced by novels that Silvey, the author had read as a youth. Such as To Kill A Mocking Bird,The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn, and One Flew Over The Cuckoo’s Nest. people from this same hot desert climate and who have a decent knowledge of past events and times can really get into the book, as you can see the different perspectives of each character living in that time and place.
The Bucktin family is an excellent example of this. The town sees this family as a normal family, with Charlie’s dad working , his mum staying at home and Charlie doing as he is told. This is how they want to be seen so they don’t get frowned upon by the townspeople. On the inside though the family was holding together by a string. Charlie’s mum is really unhappy living in Corragin, the dad only stays with her for Charlie’s benefit. Mum was only in it because in the 1960’s it was frowned upon to get a divorce and she really only cared about her image in town.
This small town ideology of the 1960s really shaped the way the Bucktin family acted and how many of the other families in that small town also acted. Although the time and setting affected the Lou’s in a bad way because of their Vietnamese background. During the time the book was set the Vietnam War was happening, and some of the local Corrigan residents had been sent to fight over there. The Lou’s were not only picked on but marginalised by most of the town. Sue Findley was one of those people as she blamed Mrs Lou for the death of her husband in Vietnam, because she was Vietnamese. The family was also blamed by some of the young men that had lost their jobs at the local mine – the same mine that was sponsoring the Lou’s to be able to live in Australia. They blamed them purely because of their background and the fact they were Vietnamese.
Jasper Jones was also marginalised because he was a half cast. This really affected him more because the author put him in the 1960’s and black people were set aside as the ‘others’, they weren’t seen as real people but blamed if anything was to go bad. His father didn’t help Jasper so he was forced to take control of his own life, as there was no support like Centrelink back in the 1960’s. But Because of his father’s bad parenting Jasper Learned morels about looking out for himself. Because of this Jasper made his own hide-out and when he found Laura dead there he had no choice but to hide the body. Otherwise, because of the way the townspeople viewed him, he would be blamed for her death without question.
The only reason Charlie helped Jasper was because of the way his Dad raised him, letting him read novels with good beliefs and values. These novels are also the novels that the author, Silvey read that had influenced his writing of the book. These novels shaped the way Charlie thought and how he reacted to certain events through the novel. Often he would refer to a character in one of these books, like Atticus Finch – “What would Atticus Finch do?” Charlie Bucktin. The thoughts allowed Charlie to better handle the situations that he and Jasper were placed in throughout the novel and the different circumstances that affected him. The lack of proper detectives and the absence of modern technologies such as DNA testing, affected how Jasper and Charlie dealt with Laura’s murder, from the beginning of the novel. As Jasper would have been blamed for the murder of Laura, because the town hated him and the only evidence (the location of the body), this stopped Charlie from going straight to the police for help and instead decided to solve the mystery and help Jasper, like his dad did when he helped the Lou’s when some locals destroyed there beautiful garden.
All the characters in this novel, Jasper Jones, are affected differently by the author’s setting in a small town in the 1960’s. Characters that are different such as the Lou’s and Jasper are marginalized, and families like the Bucktins to act in a certain way and would have been frowned upon by the community if they weren’t the communities idea of a family. All these characters would have had very different lives if placed in the present day. But its this allowence for the time that gives us a real connection to the charcters.