AS 90854 Reading Record Sheet – Reading Log #1
The Film Mr Pip, is about the life of a small village girl called Matilda, living in Bougainville at the time of civil war between Papua New Guinea and Bougainville.
In the book a blockade has been put in place, straining island life and forcing those who have not departed to be trapped in a prison-like life. The Island starts to be invaded by Papuan government forces, otherwise known as the ‘redskins’. Named this because of the contrast between their skin and the people of Bougainville’s. These forces are opposed by the rebels; groups of Bougainville men.
Only a handful of locals are left in the villages, anxiously anticipating the arrival of the red skins. But whilst they wait, a white man named Mr Watts takes over the school classroom and introduces the children to “Great Expectations”; a novel written by Charles Dickens, set in England in 1840.
Themes that are explored in the Film are courage, escapism and good versus evil.
Escapism is portrayed through the novels, Great Expectations and the Bible. Matilda escapes into the surreal world of Victorian England, where she meets Pip; a boy much like herself. Pip was born lower class but in new circumstances, he is benefited by large sums of money from an unknown benefactor. The deal proposed is that Pip must take up a new life and become a “gentleman”, or to say “live with upper class”. Matilda develops an affinity to the boy and the book. Her new interests allow her to escape from the modern world struggles of Bougainville and the war that exasperates the island.
In a conflict between the Bougainvilleans and Redskins, Mr Watts stand up for the Islanders and takes on the name of the fictitious character Pip. The act results in the condemn of Mr watts but displays courage, as the islanders are left alone and fewer people are harmed because of it. We see this in the book when Mr Watt boldly states “ I am pip, I am Mr Pip.
The theme of good versus evil is continuously displayed through a protruding dispute between Mr. watts and Dolores through the contrast of two texts. The book “Great expectations” resembles evil in the eyes of Dolores and opposes the morals of the bible. We witness this when Dolores finds out that Pip is stealing from his sister, she believes this is immoral and becomes concerned about Mr Watt’s intentions. Whereas too Mr. watts it is just a great piece of English literature.
To Mr Watts the text, the bible is not necessarily “evil” but he believes it contains misleading and false content yet still preaches true values. In contrast, Dolores believes the bible is all that is true in the world and that its morals are all that matter. Reinforced by her quote “Religion is like oxygen, it keeps you afloat at all times”
The film “Mr Pip” details on the effects of war and exploits the nature of the want for supremacy, money and power. The war between the Bougainvilleans and Papua New Guineans, also know as “red skins” is sparked because of Bougainville’s desire for independence. Papua New Guinea is not happy with this decision because of a large amount of involvement they had with the majority of mines in Bougainville. This gave work for their people and provided a satisfactory income for the country. But many of the islanders wanted the mining to stop because of its adverse effects on the island’s environment. This conflict between both government forces lasted from 1988 – 1998. In its rampant state, the war leads to the death of near to 20,000 Bougainvilleans and a large amount of Papua new guinea’s armed forces.
This situation is very relevant to the world today. Politically we witness substantial debates every day between superpowers rivalling for ultimate supremacy or over silly disputes. Such as whose country is better, the discrimination of one’s country or simply belligerent messages between political parties This is immensely portrayed through the current conflict between America’s president “Donald Trump” and Korea’s supreme leader “Kim Jong-un”. Where Donald Trump fired tempestuous messages towards “Kim Jong-un” in retaliation the leader threatened to send missile onto American island “Guam”. The effect of this attack would have lead to the death of thousands and would have been a tragedy to all.
In history, we have noticed various times that cultures have clashed and in these disagreements, war has resulted. One example very relevant to the bougainvillean crisis is when the Europeans invaded New Zealand. In their invasion, they were meet by “Maoris”, natives of the land. The Europeans also know as “Pakeha” needs for expansion were opposed by the Maoris. This sparked a war between both cultures known as the “Maori wars” which sustained from 1845 – 1872 but was finally put to rest by the treaty of Waitangi. Many of the wars were just localised conflicts triggered by tensions over disputed land purchases, they escalated dramatically from 1860 as the government became convinced it was facing a united Māori resistance to further land sales and a refusal to acknowledge Crown sovereignty.
The war between Bougainville and Papua New Guinea shows to us that a majority of the high scale events occur in our world are because of government decisions. The text details our innate want for supremacy, “to be better than one another” and how this is influenced by our greed for money. Money is a big factor that satisfies the goal of ultimate power. Showing Papua New Guinea’s avarice and how it plays a major part in the war further fortifies the avidity in society and how many of the things we do are just to increase of a societal gain, our status and our income. Lloyd Jones uses this concept to further fortify the profound symbol of good versus evil, “power versus peace” and show that there can be peace in the world. But much of it is ridiculed by the want for power, money supremacy.
The film is very in-depth and unique. The way Lloyd Jones uses so many themes to portray a greater meaning; the effects of civil war is very captivating and heart-wrenching. He also draws many parallels to the modern world in the dispute between characters such as Dolores and Mr. watts and the different cultures; White, Black and “red skins”. The director uses a wider variety of written techniques and uses more complex words/language to make it easier for the reader to picture the situations in the book. Such as the foreshadowing of events, Symbolism: Colours and the devil, Narrative voice and parallelism. Overall it is a very good book and I would recommend to all ages.