Mr. Pip/by Lloyd Jones


A book I heartily recommend you to read during your Christmas holidays

Mr. Pip by Lloyd Jones

Mr. Pip is a wonderful, easy to read, funny  and most tragic book. It made me shed real tears but it also made me laugh quite often, when through the eyes of Mathilda, the  14-year-old girl, Lloyd Jones narrates, for example, about what is important to the white man and what for the black man.

The story is set on the Papua New Guinea island of Bouganiville (South Pacific) during a brutal civil war in the 1990s. All the white people, except Pop Eye, or Mr Watts have left the place and the blockade has begun, helicopters are circling and generators don’t work anymore.

There is no teacher left and that’s why Mr. Watts decides to help the children out, even though teaching is not his profession. Because of shortage of writing material and as he loves Dickens he starts to do GREAT EXPECTATIONS with them. This story and the way they work on it help the children to escape from their terrible situation. The book changes Mathilda, instilling a moral code, but the surrounding in which it is read also changes the book.

Great Expectation changed Mathilda's life! M.Ramsauer

Great Expectation changed Mathilda’s life! M.Ramsauer

In order to avert disaster, Mr. Watts tells ” Pip’s story”, which in fact contains many stories, in nightly instalments, to the drunken rambo rebells.

Death is the threat that looms everywhere, and despite the fact that Mr. Watts my not have been considered so heroic by everybody, he and Mathilda really tried to transform situations but the person who, in the end, succeeds in taking the most heroic action is Mathilda’s mother.


Download my summary:Mr.Pip2

Short summary about Bougainville’s  recent history:

The first indipendent movements began to arise in the 1960s.  In 1964 the first attempts were made to explore the island’s resources, when a subsidiary of the Australian company RIO TINTO ZINC, began drilling in the Panguna area. (They have copper and gold.)

In 1972 Bougainville was granted some autonomy, but this did not stop the sessionist movement. Bougainville also failed in an attempt to be united with the Solomon island. In 1976 the Bougainvillean Government had to accept Papua New Guinea’s sovereignity. In 1990, Francis Ona declared unilaterally the island’s indipendence. The BRA (rebels)had never any real control over the other groups/ clans which also belonged to the BRA. Ona declared himself King and refused to play a part in the peace process. In this video

we see the acutal King PEI II,(King of the rebels in the southern part of the island) who seems to be a big lier, promissing very high interests to those who invest in his newly created  and audicious banking system. He makes people believe that he was elected by Good and he pretends to train his „people“ in getting a better the knowledge of the bible. Usually no foreigners or government officials are admitted in his kingdom.

To sum up, it seems very difficult to find compromises between the Bougainville Revolutionary Army and its various clans on the one hand, and the other parties interested in this conflict on the other.

See also my website:

Some questions about Mr. Pip

-Why did the bloody civil war in Bougainville break out in th 1990s?

-Was Mr. Watts or Charles Dickens the way Mathilda had imagined?

-In what way did Pip’s story help Mathilda and the other children?

-Why did Mr. Watts tow his wife Grace in a trolley?

-Why is Dolores the real heroine of this book?

-Discuss books that were read to you when you were a child and the

impact they had on you?

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