Mr. Pip

by

Lloyd Jones

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Matilda’s Father Character Analysis

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 once he ensures the country can provide economic stability to the family. Before they can do so, though, Papua New Guinea institutes a blockade barring the people of Bougainville from leaving the island. Matilda spends the next several years of her life reconstructing and imagining her father, aided by several postcards he sent that are eventually burned by the “redskin” forces. When Matilda finally escapes the island after her mother’s death, she reconnects with her father in Townsville, Australia. She lives with him there while going to high school. Later, while she attends the University of Queensland, he begins a romantic relationship with Maria, the woman who cleans his house.

Matilda’s Father Quotes in Mr. Pip

The Mr. Pip quotes below are all either spoken by Matilda’s Father or refer to Matilda’s Father. 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:
Storytelling Theme Icon
). Note: all page numbers and citation info for the quotes below refer to the Dial Press edition of Mr. Pip published in 2008.
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 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:
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Matilda’s Father Character Timeline in Mr. Pip

The timeline below shows where the character Matilda’s Father appears in Mr. Pip. The colored dots and icons indicate which themes are associated with that appearance.
Chapter 2
Storytelling Theme Icon
The Other Theme Icon
The Community Theme Icon
Hybridity Theme Icon
...mother as a stubborn, strong-willed woman who never left Bougainville. She also explains that her father left when she was eleven, flying off the island in a mining plane bound for... (full context)
Chapter 18
The Other Theme Icon
Hybridity Theme Icon
...memories of Great Expectations. At this point, Matilda recounts the circumstances that led to her father’s departure from Bougainville. As an employee of the island’s large copper mine, he was called... (full context)
Hybridity Theme Icon
Matilda likens her father’s Australian sponsor to Mr. Jaggers, the lawyer who serves as a middleman between Pip and... (full context)
Chapter 25
The Other Theme Icon
Hybridity Theme Icon
Matilda traveled from the Solomon Islands to Townsville, Australia, where she reunited with her father. She notes that his “transformation into a white man was near complete.” She sensed that... (full context)
Storytelling Theme Icon
Hybridity Theme Icon
...from the University of Queensland in Brisbane, Australia. During her time at the university, her father would sometimes visit, and one time he arrived with Maria, his housecleaner, with whom he’d... (full context)