Jasper Jones

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Jasper Jones is a half-white, half-Aboriginal fourteen-year-old who enlists Charlie’s help in hiding Laura Wishart’s dead body, thereby setting off the events that make up the novel’s plot. Because he is “mixed caste,” and is raised by a neglectful father, Jasper is a scapegoat for every crime and wrongdoing in the town of Corrigan. Like Charlie, he frequently contemplates leaving Corrigan. Charlie is fascinated with Jasper’s courage and calmness throughout the novel, though in the end, he comes to realize that Jasper is no more mature or brave than Charlie himself. Charlie also comes to see that Jasper is capable of great love, loyalty, and sympathy for others.

Jasper Jones Quotes in Jasper Jones

The Jasper Jones quotes below are all either spoken by Jasper Jones or refer to Jasper Jones. For each quote, you can also see the other characters and themes related to it (each theme is indicated by its own dot and icon, like this one:
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). Note: all page and citation info for the quotes below refers to the Ember edition of Jasper Jones published in 2012.
Chapter 1 Quotes

Jasper Jones has a terrible reputation in Corrigan. He’s a Thief, a Liar, a Thug, a Truant. He’s lazy and unreliable. He’s feral and an orphan, or as good as. His mother is dead and his father is no good. He’s the rotten model that parents hold aloft as a warning: This is how you’ll end up if you’re disobedient. Jasper Jones is the example of where poor aptitude and attitude will lead.

Related Characters: Charlie Bucktin (speaker), Jasper Jones
Page Number: 5
Explanation and Analysis:

Early on in the novel, Charlie, the young narrator, introduces us to Jasper Jones. Here, Charlie doesn't tell us what he thinks of Jasper--instead, he tells us what the people in his community think of Jasper. Apparently, they regard Jasper as bad in almost every way--he's untrustworthy, criminal, no-good, etc.

One of the most important things to notice about this passage is the way the people of the community talk about "ending up" like Jasper--as if Jasper is a mature man, at or near the end of his life. Nobody seems to recognize that Jasper is still very young--he's still a teenager, after all. The unsympathetic townspeople don't treat Jasper as a child of any kind--as far as they're concerned, he's responsible for his own ruin--thus, it makes a certain amount of sense that they'd think of him as an adult instead of a youth. In general, the townspeople treat Jasper as a scapegoat, not a human being. Instead of extending love and compassion to Jasper, they blame him for everything bad that happens, and measure their own "goodness" against his badness.

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“Bloody hell. Listen, Charlie, we can’t tell anyone. No way. Specially the police. Because they are gonna say it was me. Straight up. Understand?”

Related Characters: Jasper Jones (speaker), Charlie Bucktin
Page Number: 14
Explanation and Analysis:

Jasper and Charlie find a dead body, belonging to Laura Wishart, Jasper's former girlfriend. Jasper immediately tells Charlie that their only option is to lie--they can't report the death to the police for fear that Jasper will be arrested for the crime.

Jasper lives with the assumption that any problem will be pinned on him, and so he's apparently terrified that he'll be automatically arrested for this murder. And there is, of course, a legitimate possibility that the police will blame Jasper, simply because he's a known troublemaker--and a person of color, too. As Charlie has already verified, the people of the community despise Jasper, primarily because he's seen as "other" because of his Aboriginal mother.

At the same time, Charlie can't dismiss the possibility that Jasper really is guilty. A part of him wants to believe the racist townspeople--he wants to think that Jasper is dangerous and untrustworthy (and just because racists hate Jasper doesn't necessarily mean he's not a murderer). At this early point in the novel, Charlie doesn't know what to do--he just knows that he's overwhelmed and afraid.

Chapter 5 Quotes

Jasper Jones has lost his girl, maybe his best friend, too. His only friend. It seems so infinitely sad to me, I can’t even imagine. To lose someone so close, someone he had his hopes pinned on. Someone he was going to escape with, start anew. And to see her, right there, as she was. Right where I’m sitting. What a horrible series of events this has been. But Jasper Jones has to keep that poker face. He has to throw that cloak over his heart. I wonder how much of Jasper’s life is spent pretending his doesn’t give a shit.

Related Characters: Charlie Bucktin (speaker), Jasper Jones, Laura Wishart
Page Number: 143
Explanation and Analysis:

Charlie tries to understand what his friend Jasper is going through. Jasper's girlfriend, Laura, has died recently; while a young woman's death would be sad under any circumstances, it's particularly moving since Jasper has few friends--his status as an outsider and  a scapegoat in his community means that he's forced to hold his friends especially dear.

Charlie also realizes that Jasper has to hide his emotions: his sadness, his loneliness, and especially his fear. Unlike Charlie, Jasper denies that he's afraid of anything; a lifetime of bullying and scapegoating has trained him to put on a tough face whenever anything frightening happens to him.

I had to make things work when I could. Soon as you can walk and talk, you start makin your own luck. And I don’t need some spirit in the sky to help me do that. I can do it on my own. But, see, that’s what I reckon, Charlie. It’s that part inside me that’s stronger and harder than anything else. And I reckon prayer is just trustin in it, havin faith in it, just askin meself to be tough. And that’s all you can do.

Related Characters: Jasper Jones (speaker), Charlie Bucktin
Page Number: 154
Explanation and Analysis:

In this passage, Jasper tells Charlie about the personal "religion" to which he subscribes. Jasper claims not to believe in any organized faith--he doesn't think there's a god, a heaven, or anything of the kind. Instead, Jasper subscribes to the belief that he is capable of anything: he believes in his own "spirit" of hope and inner strength. Jasper even suggests that all forms of religion are just versions of his own belief in himself; when a Christian, for example, prays to God for help, he's really praying that he'll find the spirit and the courage to help himself.

Jasper's trust in his own abilities parallels Charlie's quest to find bravery and strength through the act of writing. Just as Jasper prays to his spirit in times of uncertainty, so does Charlie turn to writing and self-expression when he's frustrated. Charlie tries to use words to inspire himself to be braver than he thinks possible--to summon the same strength that Jasper embodies.

Chapter 7 Quotes

We’ll be like Kerouac and Cassady. We could steal away in boxcars, ride all the way across the country. Melbourne, Sydney. Every town in between. I could document our adventures. Maybe one day I could get our story published under a nom de plume. I’d have to move to New York City. The famous writer who fled from his hometown and shunned the limelight.

Related Characters: Charlie Bucktin (speaker), Jasper Jones
Page Number: 227
Explanation and Analysis:

Charlie, increasingly exasperated with his town's behavior, fantasizes about escaping the town altogether, with Jasper Jones by his side. Charlie has read plenty of books about people who travel around the world, never getting too comfortable in any one place. Here, he imagines that he and Jasper could model their behavior on Jack Kerouac, the seminal Beat writer who wrote On the Road.

Charlie's fantasies are appealing, but they're also naive and a little cowardly. Charlie has ample reason to hate his town: townspeople have bullied and beaten his best friend's father, simply because he's Vietnamese. And yet Charlie is too hasty in his plan to leave town altogether: he's never had any real experience with being on the road, and wouldn't know the first thing about how to go about moving from place to place. Moreover, Charlie's desire to leave the town suggests that he's still too afraid to stand his ground and protect the people he cares about: he'd rather avoid his peers altogether than protect those in need.

We’d gone to confront Mad Jack Lionel about murdering Laura Wishart only to find that he was driving the car that killed Jasper’s mother. The world isn’t right. It’s small and it’s nasty and it’s lousy with sadness. Under every rock, hidden in every closet, shaken from every tree, it seems there’s something horrible I don’t want to see. I don’t know. Maybe that’s why this town is so content to face in on itself, to keep everything so settled and smooth and serene. And at the moment, I can’t say as I blame them.

Related Characters: Charlie Bucktin (speaker), Jasper Jones, Mad Jack Lionel, Laura Wishart, Rosie Jones
Page Number: 244
Explanation and Analysis:

Charlie and Jasper have just visited Jack, hoping to convince him to confess to Laura Wishart's murder. Instead, they wind up discovering that Jack is Jasper's own grandfather. Jack had always called out at Jasper whenever he saw him, because he feels responsible for the death of Jasper's mother (Jack was driving the car when Jasper's mother was rushed to the hospital with appendicitis).

Thinking back on everything he's just learned, Charlie reaches some bitter conclusions: life is a mess; the world is meaningless, etc. Charlie even comes to sympathize with his townspeople--the same people who beat up his best friend's father just a few days before. In the past, Charlie has resented his neighbors for ignoring injustice and pretending that everything is perfect. Now, Charlie can understand his peers' behavior--they're just trying to forget how horrible life can be.

And yet in spite of his understanding, Charlie himself doesn't try to forget about the horrors of life. Instead, he converts these horrors into literature. By writing about Jack, Laura, and Jasper, Charlie finds a more powerful and honest way of coping with tragedy: he deals with his problems head-on instead of repressing them.

I also have a suspicion that Eliza might be less concerned with what’s right, less concerned about uncovering the truth, than she is about ensuring that she and Jasper Jones, and maybe her father, too, are meted out the penance that she feels they each deserve. I think she wants to do something with all this blame and hurt. I think she just wants to tie rocks to all their feet.

Related Characters: Charlie Bucktin (speaker), Jasper Jones, Eliza Wishart, Pete Wishart
Page Number: 282
Explanation and Analysis:

Jasper and Charlie find out the truth about Laura Wishart's death--she hanged herself after being raped by her own father--by talking to Eliza, Laura's sister. Eliza explains that she witnessed Laura's suicide; instead of intervening, she just watched. Eliza insists that the only "right" thing to do is tell the police about her father's actions, ensuring that he'll be arrested for rape and child molestation. Jasper angrily points out that going to the police will implicate him in Laura's death, since he moved Laura's body. But Charlie realizes that Eliza wants to punish herself and punish Jasper for their roles in Laura's death.

The passage reiterates Charlie's abilities to understand people's reasons for doing strange things, while also making an important point: sometimes, people do the right thing for the wrong reasons. While Eliza's decision to go to the police might seem like the only moral action, it's also clearly motivated by a desire for revenge.

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Jasper Jones Character Timeline in Jasper Jones

The timeline below shows where the character Jasper Jones appears in Jasper Jones. The colored dots and icons indicate which themes are associated with that appearance.
Chapter 1
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An unidentified narrator says that a young man named Jasper Jones has come to his window. The narrator has no idea why, but guesses that... (full context)
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Jasper Jones calls to the narrator, whom he addresses as Charlie, to come out. Charlie does... (full context)
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Jasper and Charlie walk through the moonlight, away from Charlie’s house. Charlie thinks that his mother... (full context)
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After Charlie puts on his sandals, he and Jasper head out of the small town where Charlie lives: Corrigan, Australia. Jasper offers Charlie a... (full context)
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Jasper and Charlie reach their destination: the house of Mad Jack Lionel. Charlie feels a twinge... (full context)
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Charlie wonders if Jasper has brought him to Mad Jack’s house to steal a peach, and hopes that this... (full context)
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As Charlie and Jasper walk along the river, Charlie thinks of everything he knows about Jasper. Jasper’s mother is... (full context)
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Once, Charlie heard that Jasper was “half-caste.” He brought this up with his father, who is a calm, intelligent man.... (full context)
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Charlie follows Jasper away from the river. He asks Jasper where they’re going, but Jasper only tells him... (full context)
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Jasper leads Charlie into a thick patch of bushes. He stops here, and tells Charlie to... (full context)
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Charlie, terrified by the sight of the dead girl, asks Jasper who it is. Jasper tells him that the girl is Laura Wishart. He insists that... (full context)
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Charlie, still panicking at the sight of the dead girl, asks Jasper if he killed Laura. Jasper looks confused and disdainful, and denies that he has anything... (full context)
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Charlie insists that he and Jasper have to alert the police to Laura’s death, a suggestion that Jasper immediately disagrees with,... (full context)
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Charlie asks Jasper if he ever brought Laura to the bushes. Jasper replies that he did, but always... (full context)
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Jasper tells Charlie that he thinks Mad Jack killed Laura, since Jack often saw him walking... (full context)
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Even as he tells Jasper that they won’t be able to track down Laura’s killer themselves, Charlie feels a part... (full context)
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Charlie proposes that he tell the police about Laura’s death without mentioning Jasper’s name. Jasper refuses to let Charlie do this. If the police find out about the... (full context)
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Jasper proposes that he and Charlie throw Laura’s body in the river, so that no one... (full context)
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Jasper tells Charlie to focus—Charlie has to help Jasper prove his innocence. Jasper explains that he’s... (full context)
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Jasper climbs the eucalyptus tree where Laura is hanging, intending to cut her down. As he... (full context)
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Jasper climbs back down the eucalyptus tree and walks to where Laura’s body is now lying.... (full context)
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...and wonders what will happen when Eliza finds out about Laura’s death. As Charlie thinks, Jasper walks into the darkness, and returns a moment later carrying a heavy block of granite,... (full context)
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Jasper gently runs his hand against Laura’s cheek. For some reason, the sight of Jasper doing... (full context)
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At the river, Jasper directs Charlie to swing Laura’s body into the water. They swing the body three times,... (full context)
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Charlie turns and sees that Jasper is bent over, shaking. The sight of Jasper collapsed on the ground makes Charlie weep.... (full context)
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Charlie notices that Jasper is holding a small bottle without a label. Jasper takes a swig, and offers Charlie... (full context)
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After a few moments of silence, Charlie tells Jasper that he feels like he’s in a dream. Jasper says he knows what Charlie means,... (full context)
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Jasper continues to tell Charlie about his father. He explains that his father spends all of... (full context)
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Jasper takes another drink from the bottle, and tells Charlie that he thinks about leaving Corrigan... (full context)
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Jasper finishes the bottle of Bushmills, and almost as soon as he does so, he turns... (full context)
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As Charlie and Jasper pass by the center of Corrigan, the Miners’ Hall, Charlie thinks about Jasper. Though he’s... (full context)
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Charlie and Jasper arrive back at Charlie’s house. Jasper helps Charlie climb back into his room through his... (full context)
Chapter 2
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...washes himself with granite soap. He looks at his body—he’s scrawny and pale, nothing like Jasper Jones. (full context)
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It occurs to Charlie that Jasper may have been responsible for Laura’s death after all. While Charlie finds this possibility unlikely,... (full context)
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...He feels a strong temptation to tell her about Laura, and to assure her that Jasper Jones didn’t kill her. When Eliza crosses paths with Charlie and Jeffrey, she greets Charlie... (full context)
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Charlie thinks about Jasper Jones’s talents as a football player. While Jeffrey is mocked in spite of his abilities... (full context)
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...the ball himself. The players make fun of Jeffrey and Charlie. Charlie privately wishes that Jasper were with him—Jasper could beat up Warwick, just as Warwick beats up Charlie. As Charlie... (full context)
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...be reported missing. He can’t imagine how anyone could murder a girl, and doubts that Jasper has bought himself more than a few hours by throwing Laura in the river. As... (full context)
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...finds it impossible to concentrate on anything but the sight of Laura Wishart. He wishes Jasper were there—it’s not right, he thinks, that he should have to be alone. He notices... (full context)
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...planning what to do next. Charlie feels a deep sense of dread, and realizes that Jasper has led him to this feeling. He tries to think about Eliza, and imagines smelling... (full context)
Chapter 3
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As Charlie reads about Cooke, he thinks about Jasper, with his alcoholic, physically abusive father, and other victims of bullying: Jeffrey; Prue Styles, a... (full context)
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...a search party to look for Laura. Charlie is tempted to tell his father about Jasper and the river, but he remains silent. Wesley says that he’s taught Laura in school,... (full context)
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Alone in his room, Charlie notes that Jasper Jones has not come to his window that night. He wonders where the search party... (full context)
Chapter 4
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...few hours later, Charlie hears a tapping at his window. Charlie is sure that it’s Jasper, and so is surprised to see Jeffrey instead. Jeffrey is excited because his favorite cricketer,... (full context)
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...become of Laura. Perhaps the search party will never find her body, and he and Jasper will never find out who killed her. Charlie wonders if he’ll ever be able to... (full context)
Chapter 5
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A week after Laura’s death, Jasper Jones returns to Charlie’s window. It is a week, Charlie notes, that feels as long... (full context)
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In the remainder of the week leading up to Jasper’s return, little happens. Jeffrey doesn’t make the Country Week cricket team, which surprises no one,... (full context)
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The night that Jasper returns to Charlie’s window, there is a town meeting at the Miners’ Hall. The town... (full context)
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As Charlie thinks about Mrs. Lu, he realizes what might happen to Jasper. If he’s linked to the place where Laura was found hanging, then the townspeople, eager... (full context)
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That night, Charlie hears a tapping at his window. He opens the window and sees Jasper Jones, who has a black eye and a cut lip. He tells Charlie to follow... (full context)
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Jasper leads Charlie down the street, careful to stay out of view of any cars. A... (full context)
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Charlie and Jasper reach the glade where they found Laura. Charlie feels apprehensive as he remembers the sight... (full context)
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Charlie notices that Jasper has a black eye, and asks him if it was his father who gave it... (full context)
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As they take swigs of whiskey, Jasper tells Charlie about Laura and their relationship. He’s confident that Laura would never have left... (full context)
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Jasper tells Charlie that he’s sure Mad Jack Lionel killed Laura. Mad Jack saw Jasper with... (full context)
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Jasper tells Charlie about what he and Laura had been doing in the days leading up... (full context)
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Jasper tells Charlie something Laura once told him. There have been more than 100 billion human... (full context)
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Charlie asks Jasper about his mother, who was an Aboriginal. Jasper tells Charlie that he barely knew his... (full context)
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As Jasper speaks, Charlie feels his vision blurring and his body numbing. He vomits up the whiskey... (full context)
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Jasper and Charlie walk back to Corrigan, thinking about the carved tree. Charlie doesn’t know how... (full context)
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Charlie and Jasper walk back through the center of town, staying off the main streets to avoid the... (full context)
Chapter 6
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...with Charlie and asked him questions. His first question was whether Charlie had been with Jasper Jones. In that instant, Charlie discovered that he enjoyed lying. He told the Sarge that... (full context)
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...help Eliza. Charlie marveled that this calm, fatherly person was the same Sarge who beat Jasper Jones. (full context)
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...time was Ken Kesey’s One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest, whose protagonist reminded him of Jasper. Charlie also thought about Eliza during his time indoors—he wished he could comfort her, and... (full context)
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...if his father knows he lied about sneaking out to see Eliza. He also wishes Jasper Jones would come by tonight—he wants to tell him about kissing Eliza. (full context)
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Between the night Charlie was caught sneaking out and Boxing Day, Jasper has visited Charlie twice. The first time, a few days after Charlie is caught, Jasper... (full context)
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Charlie isn’t sure what to make of Jasper’s news. Jasper seems certain that Mad Jack is responsible for Laura’s murder. At the same... (full context)
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Before Charlie can question Jasper further, he hears three knocks at his door—it’s his mother. Jasper quickly runs away, and... (full context)
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It has been three nights since Charlie last saw Jasper, he writes. Tonight, he is writing in his notebooks. Almost without thinking, he writes, “sorry,”... (full context)
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...now has to deal with the misery of the attack on his father. He contemplates Jasper, wrongfully bullied and beaten for Laura’s disappearance, and realizes that Eliza will hate Charlie if... (full context)
Chapter 7
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...with Eliza Wishart. He also feels anxiety in his stomach because he hasn’t heard from Jasper in more than a week. It’s possible that the police have arrested him again. (full context)
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...dead body will rise to the surface of the lake soon, and if he and Jasper will be arrested for hiding her there. He’s reluctant to go to the fireworks display... (full context)
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...read it in his room. Just as he’s beginning, he hears a knock at the window—Jasper is there. Jasper explains that tonight, he and Charlie need to confront Mad Jack—sneak onto... (full context)
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Remembering his loyalty to Jasper, Charlie decides to follow him to Mad Jack’s house. He tells Wesley he’s going to... (full context)
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Charlie walks the rest of the way to Mad Jack’s house, where Jasper is waiting for him. He smiles and tells Charlie he knew Charlie would come. Charlie... (full context)
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Jasper bangs on the front door of Mad Jack’s house and calls for Mad Jack. After... (full context)
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Mad Jack invites Jasper and Charlie to sit down, but Jasper insists that they won’t sit. Jack, unfazed, asks... (full context)
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Jasper presses on, trying to get Jack to confess to killing Laura. He tells Jack that... (full context)
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Jack asks Jasper why he’s being accused of murder, and as he asks the question, he begins to... (full context)
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...walk back from Jack’s house, he didn’t run into Eliza. Instead, he walked silently with Jasper. Once they’d reached Charlie’s room, Jasper told him that he planned to talk to his... (full context)
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Charlie reveals everything Jack told Jasper. Jack was the father of Jasper’s father, whose name is David—he showed Jasper David’s old... (full context)
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After Rosie’s child—Jasper—was born, Rosie tried to befriend Jack. After a year of attempts, Rosie finally succeeded. When... (full context)
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...apart from the children who stole peaches from his property. He would always call to Jasper when Jasper walked by, and assumed that Jasper was ignoring him because he hated him.... (full context)
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Charlie wonders how Jasper never learned about his father. Even if David never told Jasper, it seems likely that... (full context)
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After Jack explained his relationship to Jasper, he told Charlie and Jasper what he’d seen the night Laura died. He’d watched Laura... (full context)
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Eliza leads Charlie to the river, on the same path that Charlie takes with Jasper. By the river, Charlie notices an unexpected sight: his family’s car. He tells Eliza what... (full context)
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...tells her, “go home,” and as he says the words, he feels as authoritative as Jasper. With this, he turns, takes Eliza’s hand, and walks away. Ruth calls after him, but... (full context)
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...the man, who’s now forced to lived alone. Eliza leads Charlie to the glade where Jasper previously took him, and Charlie notices that she doesn’t hesitate at all. (full context)
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...and she agrees. She takes out a letter, and explains that Laura wrote it for Jasper. Charlie asks Eliza how she found the letter, but she only shrugs. Eliza tells Charlie... (full context)
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Eliza knew that Laura and Jasper were in a relationship, Charlie explains. Their relationship charmed Eliza—it was like a modern Romeo... (full context)
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On the night that Jasper took Charlie to the glade for the first time, Eliza tells Charlie, there had been... (full context)
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...been gone for a few minutes, Eliza realized that Laura was probably going to meet Jasper. Quickly, she ran out of her house and followed Laura. Eliza was afraid and confused—she... (full context)
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...by the sight of her dead sister, she heard a voice, and quickly hid again. Jasper Jones arrived in the clearing. Eliza watched as he wailed and moaned, embracing Laura and... (full context)
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...Laura’s death, Eliza read the letter Laura had left, even though it was addressed to Jasper. Eliza learned that Laura and Jasper were planning to leave Corrigan forever. In her letter,... (full context)
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...At the same time, Charlie is deeply angry with Eliza—if she hadn’t taken Laura’s letter, Jasper would have found it, and neither he nor Charlie would have had to go through... (full context)
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...glade. Then she asks Charlie to tell her what he knows. Reluctantly, he explains that Jasper showed him Laura’s body—the most horrible sight, he tells Eliza, that he’d ever seen. Afterwards,... (full context)
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Still alone in Jasper’s glade, Eliza leads Charlie toward the hollow under a tree. In the hollow, there are... (full context)
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As Charlie lies in the hollow with Eliza, he hears a noise, and looks up: Jasper is in the glade. Jasper demands that Charlie explain why Eliza is there. In response,... (full context)
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When Jasper jumps into the waterhole, Eliza and Charlie are shocked. Instead of standing still, however, Charlie... (full context)
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Charlie and Jasper swim to the side of the waterhole and climb out. In silence, Charlie, Eliza, and... (full context)
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Eliza, Jasper, and Charlie lie in the glade and look up at the stars. Suddenly, Charlie turns... (full context)
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Jasper, Eliza, and Charlie fall asleep in the glade. The next morning, they walk back to... (full context)
Chapter 8
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...together, and Eliza brings her sister small gifts, which she places in the hollow where Jasper sleeps. Sometimes, they sleep in the hollow themselves and kiss. Charlie isn’t nervous or awkward... (full context)
Chapter 9
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...two other children, the Beaumonts, who live in a neighboring town and have been kidnapped. Jasper hasn’t shown up for school, or even checked his name for the football team. Jeffrey... (full context)
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...could have been a cigarette or the stove. After only a few moments, Charlie hears Jasper Jones’s name. Charlie then reveals that he’s known that Jasper Jones is gone from Corrigan.... (full context)