Mr. Pip


Lloyd Jones

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The Bible Symbol Icon

The Bible appears in Mister Pip as a counterpoint to Great Expectations and its secular framing of what it means to be a moral person. Suspicious of ideas that threaten the stability of her traditional beliefs, Dolores invests herself in the Bible (which she calls the “Good Book”), calling upon it to support her ideas about right and wrong. For her, morality is inherently rooted in religion, and a strong familiarity with the Bible ensures a person’s goodness. Interestingly enough, though, her commitment to scripture also symbolizes the notion of hybridity, since her foundational beliefs are a mixture of old Bougainvillean island lore and the Biblical teachings of Christian missionaries who visited the village before she was born. As a result, she is just as likely to refer to “the wisdom of crabs” as she is to quote the opening lines of Genesis. For her, these two traditions are one and the same. For example, to explain why women in her community have always braided their hair, Dolores upholds that “when you bring two strands of hair together and tease them into rope you begin to understand the idea of partnership…and you understand how God and the devil know each other.” This assertion combines the customs of Bougainvillean women with the concept of right and wrong—a concept that draws upon the Bible’s depiction of God and the devil. As a result, Dolores uses the Bible to resist the outside influence of Great Expectations even as the Bible itself represents the cultural hybridity at play in her own personality and culture.

The Bible Quotes in Mr. Pip

The Mr. Pip quotes below all refer to the symbol of The Bible. 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 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:
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The Bible Symbol Timeline in Mr. Pip

The timeline below shows where the symbol The Bible appears in Mr. Pip. The colored dots and icons indicate which themes are associated with that appearance.
Chapter 11
The Other Theme Icon
The Community Theme Icon
Hybridity Theme Icon
The village parents became aware of the fact that Mr. Watts was not teaching the Bible in class and that he didn’t believe in the devil. Not long afterward, Dolores burst... (full context)
Chapter 17
Storytelling Theme Icon
The Community Theme Icon
Hybridity Theme Icon pay their respects. To break the silence, Dolores said a prayer by memory—since her Bible burned up along with everything else—but she stumbled partway through. Eventually she reached the end,... (full context)
Chapter 18
The Other Theme Icon
Hybridity Theme Icon the novel all the way through if he would do the same with the Bible, a deal he was unwilling to make. (full context)
Chapter 22
Storytelling Theme Icon
The Other Theme Icon
The Community Theme Icon
Hybridity Theme Icon
...knew about the Queen of Sheba. Dolores asserted that she is a character in the Bible, saying, “The Queen of Sheba was a very wise black woman who sought out Solomon... (full context)