Jasper Jones

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Peaches Symbol Icon
At the beginning and the end of the novel, Silvey mentions a traditional “dare” for the children of Corrigan: to sneak onto Mad Jack Lionel’s property and steal a peach from the peach tree that grows in his yard. Because this dare shows up at both the beginning and the end of the book, it serves as a convenient gauge of Charlie’s maturation. At first, Charlie fears Mad Jack, and wouldn’t dare sneak onto his land. Over the course of the plot, though, he learns that Jack shouldn’t feared at all—he’s a sad, lonely old man who would never hurt the children who steal from him. This discovery teaches Charlie the valuable lesson that fear is often the byproduct of ignorance and outright foolishness, the antidote to which is knowledge and understanding. Yet when he walks onto Mad Jack’s property to steal peaches at the end of the book, Charlie must still face his fear of insects. Looking down at the peaches lying on the ground, Charlie sees that they’re crawling with bees and ants, both of which frighten him. Thus, it takes bravery for Charlie to pick up the peaches at all—ironically, he notes, this is the bravest thing he does while on Mad Jack’s land, even though the other schoolchildren think his bravery consists of sneaking onto the property at all. Silvey’s point is clear: sometimes, people can overcome their fears with knowledge and education, but there is a limit to how successful this approach can be. Some fears can never be eliminated. Nevertheless, people can train themselves to face their fears, maturing in the process.

Peaches Quotes in Jasper Jones

The Jasper Jones quotes below all refer to the symbol of Peaches. 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:
Fear Theme Icon
). Note: all page and citation info for the quotes below refers to the Ember edition of Jasper Jones published in 2012.
Chapter 9 Quotes

But what no spectator that day will ever know or anyone who will later lend their ear to an account, is that it requires more courage for me to tentatively bend and snatch up that rotten fruit from amid that sea of bees. My hands tremble. I can barely work my fingers. But I get them.

Related Characters: Charlie Bucktin (speaker)
Related Symbols: Peaches
Page Number: 304
Explanation and Analysis:

At the end of the novel, Charlie proves his bravery to the townspeople by sneaking onto Mad Jack Lionel's property and completing a traditional town challenge: stealing some of Jack's famous peaches. Unbeknownst to anyone else, Charlie isn't the least bit afraid of sneaking onto Jack's property, since he's now friends with Jack. Instead, the scariest part of Charlie's mission to steal the peaches is picking up the peaches themselves, which are surrounded by bees--Charlie is frightened of bugs and insects, and dislikes having to touch them.

The passage shows that although Charlie is no longer afraid of Mad Jack, he continues to feel some irrational fears, which he then proceeds to overcome. Charlie has learned that Jack shouldn't be feared, but much more importantly, he's learned that fear itself can be dealt with. Like Batman, Charlie doesn't deny his fears; he accepts them and moves past them, reaching into the bees that he finds so disgusting.

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Peaches Symbol Timeline in Jasper Jones

The timeline below shows where the symbol Peaches appears in Jasper Jones. The colored dots and icons indicate which themes are associated with that appearance.
Chapter 1
Fear Theme Icon
...a young woman years ago, and the children like to prove their daring by stealing peaches from the tree that stands on his property. (full context)
Fear Theme Icon
Understanding, Innocence, and Sympathy Theme Icon
Charlie wonders if Jasper has brought him to Mad Jack’s house to steal a peach, and hopes that this isn’t the case. Charlie wants to become more popular, and stealing... (full context)
Racism and Scapegoating Theme Icon
Escape, Guilt, and Writing Theme Icon
...Vietnamese. Still, he’s always optimistic, and in many ways braver than the children who steal peaches from Mad Jack. Besides Jeffrey, Charlie’s only competitor for being the cleverest student in school... (full context)
Chapter 2
Fear Theme Icon
Racism and Scapegoating Theme Icon
Understanding, Innocence, and Sympathy Theme Icon
Escape, Guilt, and Writing Theme Icon
...bullying boy who’s in Charlie’s grade because he’s been held back twice. He’s stolen more peaches from Mad Jack’s trees than anyone else, and he claims that he’s had sex. Whenever... (full context)
Chapter 7
Fear Theme Icon
Racism and Scapegoating Theme Icon
...a simple, lonely man, never interacting with the townspeople, apart from the children who stole peaches from his property. He would always call to Jasper when Jasper walked by, and assumed... (full context)
Chapter 9
Fear Theme Icon
Escape, Guilt, and Writing Theme Icon
...a bet with Warwick—if he can sneak onto Jack’s property and steal more than four peaches, he’ll be granted “immunity” from Warwick’s bullying and beatings for an entire year. If he... (full context)
Fear Theme Icon
Escape, Guilt, and Writing Theme Icon
...offers to accompany Charlie, but Charlie insists that this isn’t necessary. He promises Jeffrey the peach pits he’s going to collect. (full context)
Fear Theme Icon
At Mad Jack’s house, Warwick orders Charlie to claim his peaches. Charlie climbs over Mad Jack’s fence easily, and walks forward, knowing that Warwick never expected... (full context)
Fear Theme Icon
...Jack greets Charlie warmly, and Charlie returns the greeting. Charlie asks if Jack has any peaches, and Jack replies that all his peaches have been stolen or pecked apart by birds.... (full context)
Fear Theme Icon
Understanding, Innocence, and Sympathy Theme Icon
A moment later, the schoolboys see Charlie emerge from behind Mad Jack’s house, holding five peaches. Charlie notes with amusement that it still took courage for him to grab the peaches,... (full context)
Fear Theme Icon
Understanding, Innocence, and Sympathy Theme Icon
...Warwick Trent is hanging back—clearly, Charlie has beaten him. Charlie plans to give Jeffrey three peach pits, Eliza one, and then keep one for himself. As the students slap Charlie on... (full context)