Mr. Pip

by

Lloyd Jones

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Dolores Laimo Character Analysis

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 her religious beliefs, a mixture of Christian theology and island knowledge that seemingly leaves no room to accommodate the secular teachings that Mr. Watts and Great Expectations espouse in tandem. Loyalty means a great deal to Dolores, who asks Matilda if she would, like Pip, steal from her if threatened by somebody dangerous. This loyalty also manifests itself in Dolores’s insistence that Matilda respect their family heritage, illustrating her devotion to her ancestors and the traditional way of life on the island of Bougainville. In fact, Dolores opposes the foreign secular world Mr. Watts represents with such conviction that she steals his copy of Great Expectations, refusing to reveal it even when “redskin” soldiers threaten to destroy the town if somebody does not prove that Pip is a fictional character and not a fugitive rebel. Despite this stubborn decision, though, Dolores later reveals her appreciation of Mr. Watts by standing as “God’s witness” after the “redskin” soldiers kill him. “He was a good man,” she says. “I am here as God’s witness.” Once more, her loyalty is evident. Unfortunately, this display of righteousness provokes the “redskin” soldiers, who respond to her by raping her. When they threaten to also rape Matilda, she pleads with them to kill her instead, thereby saving her daughter and losing her own life.

Dolores Laimo Quotes in Mr. Pip

The Mr. Pip quotes below are all either spoken by Dolores Laimo or refer to Dolores Laimo. 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 numbers and citation info for the quotes below refer to the Dial Press edition of Mr. Pip published in 2008.
Chapter 2 Quotes

What I am about to tell results, I think, from our ignorance of the outside world. My mum knew only what the last minister had told her in sermons and conversations. She knew her times tables and the names of some distant capitals. She had heard that man had been to the moon but was inclined not to believe such stories. She did not like boastfulness. She liked even less the thought that she might have been caught out, or made a fool of. She had never left Bougainville.

Related Characters: Matilda Laimo (speaker), Dolores Laimo
Page Number: 5
Explanation and Analysis:
Chapter 4 Quotes

This was the first time I had been in a position to tell her anything about the world. But this was a place she did not know about and hadn’t heard of. She couldn’t even pretend to know, so it was up to me to color in that world for her. I couldn’t remember the exact words Mr. Watts had read to us, and I didn’t think I would be able to make it possible for my mum to slip into that world that us kids had or into Pip’s life or some other’s, that of the convict, say. So I told her in my own words about Pip having no mum or dad or brothers, and my mum cried out, “He is lost.”

Related Characters: Matilda Laimo (speaker), Dolores Laimo (speaker), Tom Watts (Pop Eye), Pip
Related Symbols: Great Expectations
Page Number: 26
Explanation and Analysis:
Chapter 5 Quotes

He smiled. “Matilda is a nice name, too. Where did you get such a pretty one?” he asked.

“My father.”

“And he…?”

I anticipated his question. My dad had worked with Australians up at the mine. They had given him the name Matilda. He had given it to my mum. And she had given it to me. I explained all this.

“A sort of hand-me-down.” Mr. Watts glanced away with the thought. Suddenly he looked gloomy. I don’t know why.

Related Characters: Matilda Laimo (speaker), Tom Watts (Pop Eye) (speaker), Dolores Laimo, Matilda’s Father
Page Number: 33
Explanation and Analysis:
Chapter 6 Quotes

Now listen. Faith is like oxygen. It keeps you afloat at all times. Sometimes you need it. Sometimes you don’t. But when you do need it you better be practiced at having faith, otherwise it won’t work. That’s why the missionaries built all the churches. Before we got those churches we weren’t practicing enough. That’s what prayers are for—practice, children. Practice.

Related Characters: Dolores Laimo (speaker)
Related Symbols: The Bible
Page Number: 44
Explanation and Analysis:

The trouble with Great Expectations is that it’s a one-way conversation. There’s no talking back. Otherwise I would have told Pip about my mum coming to speak to the class, and how, seeing her at a distance—even though only two desks back from the end of the room—she had appeared different to me. More hostile. […]

Whatever I might say about my mum to Pip I knew he wouldn’t hear me. I could only follow him through some strange country that contained marshes and pork pies and people who spoke in long and confusing sentences.

Related Characters: Matilda Laimo (speaker), Dolores Laimo, Pip
Related Symbols: Great Expectations
Page Number: 45
Explanation and Analysis:
Chapter 7 Quotes

In our village there were those who supported the rebels—my mum included. Though I suspect her support was nourished by the thought of my father in Townsville living what she called a “fat life.” Everyone else just wished the fighting would go away, and for the white man to come back and reopen the mine. These people missed buying things. They missed having money to buy those things. Biscuits, rice, tinned fish, tinned beef, sugar. We were back to eating what our grandparents had—sweet potatoes, fish, chicken, mango, guava, cassava, nuts, and mud crab.

Related Characters: Matilda Laimo (speaker), Dolores Laimo, Matilda’s Father
Page Number: 50
Explanation and Analysis:
Chapter 12 Quotes

I know […] you have been hearing some story from Mr. Watts, and a story in particular, but I want to tell you this. Stories have a job to do. They can’t just lie around like lazybone dogs. They have to teach you something. For example, if you know the words you can sing a song to make a fish swim onto your hook. There are even songs to get rid of skin rash and bad dreams.

Related Characters: Dolores Laimo (speaker), Matilda Laimo, Tom Watts (Pop Eye)
Related Symbols: Great Expectations
Page Number: 86
Explanation and Analysis:
Chapter 25 Quotes

My mum said she had no problem with stating the obvious. The problem was that silly blimmin’ word insensibly. What was the point of that word? It just confused. If it hadn’t been for that silly bloody insensibly, she’d have gotten it the first time. Instead, insensibly had led her to suspect it wasn’t so straightforward after all.

Related Symbols: Great Expectations
Page Number: 227
Explanation and Analysis:
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Dolores Laimo Character Timeline in Mr. Pip

The timeline below shows where the character Dolores Laimo appears in Mr. Pip. The colored dots and icons indicate which themes are associated with that appearance.
Chapter 2
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...her story results “from [the villagers’] ignorance of the outside world.” She explains that her mother Dolores’s knowledge was limited to what the island’s last minister had told her. She says... (full context)
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Just when Dolores determined to move with Matilda to Australia, Francis Ona (the leader of the Bougainville Revolutionary... (full context)
Chapter 3
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...Watts was the only white man in the village. Later that night, Matilda told her mother she was going to meet this Mr. Dickens the following day, and Dolores insisted that... (full context)
Chapter 4
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...that his father was a “square, stout, dark man with curly black hair,” Matilda asked Dolores if her own father was stout, surprising her mother with her strange new vocabulary; “Stout!”... (full context)
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...anything about the world,” Matilda notes in regards to her narration of Great Expectations to Dolores. When her mother learned that Pip is an orphan, she lamented, “He is lost.” Sensing... (full context)
Chapter 5
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The first mother to visit Matilda’s class told the students about a plant called the “heart seed,” informing... (full context)
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That night, Dolores was skeptical when Matilda told her of Pip’s decision to steal his sister’s pork pie... (full context)
Chapter 6
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...sister or brother or mum or dad in that same state.” In addition, Matilda and Dolores discovered that their only goat had been taken from them. Matilda imagined the soldiers airlifting... (full context)
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In school later that day, Dolores arrives to lecture about faith. She began by telling the students that they had to... (full context)
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At this moment, Dolores transitioned to speaking about religion, emphasizing the importance of prayer and praising the work of... (full context)
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...between Pip’s difficult sister and his kindhearted uncle—there was a gulf between Mr. Watts and Dolores, and she began to intuit that she would have to choose between the two sides. (full context)
Chapter 7
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...people secretly stored food and supplies in the jungle—preparing to hide, should it become necessary—her mother decided to throw herself into the task of teaching Matilda about their family history, which... (full context)
Chapter 9
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...about the color blue. Another spoke of the prophetic powers of weaving. A woman from Dolores’s prayer group emphasized the importance of innocence. Matilda’s mother picked up on this idea when... (full context)
Chapter 11
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As tensions rose between Bougainvilleans and the “redskins” in neighboring villages, Dolores doubled down on her mission to teach Matilda their ancestry, forcing her daughter to write... (full context)
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...the Bible in class and that he didn’t believe in the devil. Not long afterward, Dolores burst through the schoolhouse doors and addressed the class, telling them to “pack the teachings... (full context)
Chapter 12
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Mr. Watts’s readings of Great Expectations continued. Once again, Dolores returned to the classroom, this time telling the students that the “job” of a story... (full context)
Chapter 14
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When the “redskin” soldiers left, Matilda returned home before her mother and found that the only item left in their house was an old sleeping mat... (full context)
Chapter 15
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...have the patience he had exhibited last time. Once again, he asked for Pip, and Dolores made no move to retrieve Great Expectations. When it became evident to the officer that... (full context)
Chapter 16
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During this period, Dolores’s criticisms of Mr. Watts intensified. Although Matilda would normally have avoided hearing such malicious things... (full context)
Chapter 17
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Before Matilda was about to fall asleep one night, her mother told her that Grace Watts died. At the funeral not long afterward, the villagers convened... (full context)
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At home that night, Dolores told Matilda that Grace was the smartest child in school. The village, she explained, had... (full context)
Chapter 18
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...by Australian bosses to live in the Bougainvillean town of Arawa, away from Matilda and Dolores’s village. When Dolores visited him, she saw that he was slowly modeling himself after the... (full context)
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...fortune) in Great Expectations. Like Mr. Jaggers, this man represented an opportunity for upward mobility. Dolores and Matilda, though, had no such representative; “My mum now hoped to join my dad,... (full context)
Chapter 19
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...while they lounged near the jungle, drinking in excess and hooting. On their first night, Dolores worried they would come to retrieve Matilda, afraid that what they wanted were girls with... (full context)
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Dolores pulled Matilda away from the rebel soldiers and ran to the beach, wanting to get... (full context)
Chapter 21
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...an escape from the island for the night after the next full moon. He, Matilda, Dolores, and the Masoi family would board Mr. Masoi’s fishing boat and meet another, bigger boat,... (full context)
Chapter 23
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...of Sheba, Matilda followed him into the woods and asked if he had told her mother about his plan to escape the island. When he told her he hadn’t yet done... (full context)
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...with the answer.” Two soldiers took him into the jungle. When it was silent again, Dolores stepped forward. “Sir. I saw your men chop up the white man. He was a... (full context)
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When the “redskin” officer discovered that Matilda was Dolores’s daughter, he had her taken to the huts, where a group of soldiers were raping... (full context)
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In retrospect, Matilda wonders how things could have gone differently. If her mother hadn’t spoken out, perhaps they both could have survived. But she also remembers what Mr.... (full context)
Chapter 25
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...omitting wordy sentences and even entire characters. She relates an argument Mr. Watts had with Dolores one day when Dolores listened to him read Dickens’s sentence, “As I had grown accustomed... (full context)
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...was kind and eager to establish a relationship with her new stepdaughter, often asking about Dolores and confessing to Matilda that her father never spoke about his ex-wife—a fact that pleased... (full context)