Jasper Jones

“Sorry” Symbol Analysis

“Sorry” Symbol Icon
Jasper discovers the word “sorry” written in two different places: on the tree where Laura died, and on the side of a car on Mad Jack Lionel’s property. Jasper believes that this proves that Jack is responsible for Laura’s death, but in the end, he realizes that the repetition of the words is only a coincidence. Jack wrote “sorry” on the car because he blames himself for killing Rosie Jones, Jasper’s own mother. Eliza, not Jack, wrote “sorry” on the tree, because she blames herself for Laura’s death. Charlie often wonders what “sorry” accomplishes. On one hand, verbal apologies communicate sympathy and regret from the guilty party to the offended party. Yet there is something shallow and unsatisfying about apologies of this kind, he acknowledges. “Sorry” can never entirely repair the damage caused by a crime. Ultimately, the word “sorry” symbolizes the inadequacy of remorse and redemption in the novel. Characters try to forget and atone for their crimes, but their efforts are never entirely successful. What’s done is done, and no amount of apologies or tears can change this.
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“Sorry” Symbol Timeline in Jasper Jones

The timeline below shows where the symbol “Sorry” appears in Jasper Jones. The colored dots and icons indicate which themes are associated with that appearance.
Chapter 4
Fear Theme Icon
Racism and Scapegoating Theme Icon
Understanding, Innocence, and Sympathy Theme Icon
Escape, Guilt, and Writing Theme Icon
...right. Jeffrey says that while he didn’t know his aunt and uncle personally, he feels sorry for his mother, who can’t stop weeping. He adds that his parents are trying to... (full context)
Fear Theme Icon
Racism and Scapegoating Theme Icon
Appearances and Secrets Theme Icon
Charlie tells Jeffrey that he’s sorry for his family’s loss. Jeffrey mentions that his mother has begun saying “fuck,” which causes... (full context)
Chapter 5
Fear Theme Icon
Racism and Scapegoating Theme Icon
Understanding, Innocence, and Sympathy Theme Icon
Escape, Guilt, and Writing Theme Icon
...is indeed a carving. He calls Jasper over, and they look at the word together: “Sorry.” Charlie can see from Jasper’s face that he didn’t carve the word. (full context)
Appearances and Secrets Theme Icon
...back to Corrigan, thinking about the carved tree. Charlie doesn’t know how to interpret the “Sorry”—it is an apology for Laura, for Laura’s family, or for Jasper? Charlie realizes that whoever... (full context)
Chapter 6
Fear Theme Icon
Understanding, Innocence, and Sympathy Theme Icon
Appearances and Secrets Theme Icon
...Near the garden, Jasper found an old, rusty car—inside the car, he saw the word “Sorry” etched deep into the rust. (full context)
Fear Theme Icon
Appearances and Secrets Theme Icon
...Jasper, he writes. Tonight, he is writing in his notebooks. Almost without thinking, he writes, “sorry,” on the paper, and then begins to write a story to accompany the word. As... (full context)
Fear Theme Icon
Racism and Scapegoating Theme Icon
After the men drive away, Wesley tells An Lu, “I’m sorry.” Harry greets Jeffrey and compliments him on his cricket match the previous day. Jeffrey nods... (full context)
Fear Theme Icon
Racism and Scapegoating Theme Icon
Wesley and Ruth walk Charlie back to their house, and Wesley says he’s sorry Charlie had to see An being attacked. He pulls out a pack of cards and... (full context)
Chapter 7
Fear Theme Icon
Appearances and Secrets Theme Icon
Escape, Guilt, and Writing Theme Icon
...to confront Mad Jack—sneak onto his property and tell him that they know he wrote “Sorry.” Charlie says that confrontations like this only work in movies, and there’s no way Mad... (full context)
Fear Theme Icon
Understanding, Innocence, and Sympathy Theme Icon
Appearances and Secrets Theme Icon
As Eliza and Charlie walk away from the river, Eliza tells Charlie that she’s sorry, and these simple words soothe Charlie. They walk past Jack’s house, and Charlie feels another... (full context)
Fear Theme Icon
Understanding, Innocence, and Sympathy Theme Icon
Appearances and Secrets Theme Icon
Escape, Guilt, and Writing Theme Icon
...then reveals the final piece of the mystery to Charlie: it was she who carved “Sorry” on the tree in the glade. Then she asks Charlie to tell her what he... (full context)
Fear Theme Icon
Understanding, Innocence, and Sympathy Theme Icon
Appearances and Secrets Theme Icon
Escape, Guilt, and Writing Theme Icon
...herself. Charlie insists that this isn’t the truth—it is her father who is responsible. He apologizes to Eliza for moving Laura’s body. Eliza says that she forgives Charlie, though she wishes... (full context)
Understanding, Innocence, and Sympathy Theme Icon
Appearances and Secrets Theme Icon
...hand on Charlie’s shoulder and thanks him, and then turns to Eliza and mutters an apology to her. Although his voice is quiet, Charlie can tell that the apology means a... (full context)