A girl from the island of Bougainville and the narrator of Mister Pip. For the majority of the novel Matilda is in her early teenage years, turning fourteen shortly after Papua New Guinea’s “redskin”… read analysis of Matilda Laimo
Tom Watts (Pop Eye)
The last white person in Matilda’s village, whom everybody refers to as Pop Eye. The community doesn’t know what to make of Mr. Watts, who is married to a native woman named Grace… read analysis of Tom Watts (Pop Eye)
Matilda’s mother. Dolores is a strict and pious woman who fiercely loves her daughter. It is of the utmost importance to her that she teach Matilda about the origins of their family and about… read analysis of Dolores Laimo
The main character of Charles Dickens’s novel Great Expectations. After listening to Mr. Watts read the book aloud, Matilda feels connected to Pip, who is an orphan in early nineteenth-century England. Part of… read analysis of Pip
The “Redskin” Officer
An unnamed officer who leads a group of “redskins,” or soldiers of the Papua New Guinea Defense Force who occupy the island and fight the Bougainville Revolutionary Army and other native rebel forces resisting Papua… read analysis of The “Redskin” Officer
Dolores’s husband, unnamed throughout the novel, who leaves Bougainville on a mining plane bound for Australia. Matilda is eleven when he departs, and the intention is that she and her mother will join him… read analysis of Matilda’s Father
One of Matilda’s classmates. Matilda describes Daniel as “slow,” and though he may not always pick up on social cues or nuances, his ignorance sometimes enables him to make astute observations. For example, when… read analysis of Daniel
The Queen of Sheba
A black Biblical character whose name Grace Watts borrows. In the Bible, Sheba visits King Solomon because she has heard that he possesses incredible wisdom regarding the Lord. An impressive ambassador herself, she arrives… read analysis of The Queen of Sheba
The daughter of Mr. Watts and Grace Watts, who dies at a very young age of meningitis. Mr. Watts says that when he looked at Sarah’s face he saw his “dead parents emerge,” though… read analysis of Sarah Watts
A character in Great Expectations who has been raised to deny the advances and attention of her male suitors. Estella’s high standards encourage Pip—who is smitten by her—to work hard in his attempt to… read analysis of Estella Havisham
A character in Great Expectations who handles Pip’s finances and oversees the young man’s training to become a gentleman. It is Mr. Jaggers who first informs Pip that he is the beneficiary of a… read analysis of Mr. Jaggers
A character in Great Expectations. At the beginning of Dickens’s novel, Magwitch—an escaped convict—ambushes Pip in a graveyard and forces him to steal food and a file (to cut the shackles) from the… read analysis of Magwitch
Gilbert’s father. With the help of Mr. Watts, he arranges an escape from the island using his hidden fishing boat. Although Mr. Watts is killed before this can take place, Mr. Masoi and his fellow passengers rescue Matilda from tempestuous waters and successfully escape.
Wilson Masoi and Mrs. Masoi’s son, and one of Matilda’s classmates. Matilda describes him as having large shoulders and a “big woolly head.” She also explains that he only comes to school when his father doesn’t need his help fishing.
Gilbert’s mother and Wilson Masoi’s wife. When she visits Mr. Watts’s class to share her wisdom, she gives the students cooking tips, teaching them how to kill an octopus or a pig.
Mr. Watts’s former wife, who remains unmentioned until the end of the novel, when Matilda looks her up in a New Zealand phonebook and subsequently pays her a visit in the very house Mr. Watts used to live in, where he first fell in love with Grace.
The Drunken Rambo
A rowdy rebel soldier and Bougainville native who threatens to sodomize Mr. Watts. When he is later captured by the “redskin” forces, he fatally identifies Mr. Watts as Pip, who the “redskin” officer thinks is a fugitive rebel. The “redskins” then kill the soldier.
The British author who wrote Great Expectations. Mr. Watts considers Dickens the “greatest English author of the nineteenth century.” When she reaches adulthood, Matilda visits England to conduct research on Dickens for a thesis about his work.
A woman from the Philippines who cleans Matilda’s father’s house in Townsville, Australia, eventually becoming involved in a romantic relationship with him. Matilda says that Maria “tried too hard” to get her to like her, always wanting to talk about Dolores. Still, Matilda is grateful for Maria.
The leader of the Bougainville Revolutionary Army, which carried out the first attacks on Bougainville’s copper mine. These attacks prompted the Papua New Guinea government to enforce a blockade barring inhabitants from leaving Bougainville—the same blockade that prevents Matilda and Dolores from joining Matilda’s father in Australia.
A Biblical character who is said to possess a large amount of divine knowledge. When the Queen of Sheba visits Solomon to ask him questions and test his knowledge, he engages in a conversation and gives her anything she desires.