Mr. Pip


Lloyd Jones

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Themes and Colors
Storytelling Theme Icon
The Other Theme Icon
The Community Theme Icon
Hybridity Theme Icon
LitCharts assigns a color and icon to each theme in Mr. Pip, which you can use to track the themes throughout the work.


Mister Pip takes place on the island of Bougainville (one of many islands off the coast of Papua New Guinea), a place whose inhabitants have been exposed over many years to a series of different stories about other traditions and ways of life. In addition to their own traditional narratives that are unique to their indigenous culture, the inhabitants of the island have most notably experienced the arrival of white Christian missionaries who brought with…

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The Other

Mister Pip is a novel that contains distinct groups of people who ostracize one another, frequently by pointing to racial divides. Mr. Watts, who is the only white person living in a black village, has difficulty interacting with the townspeople, who are suspicious of his foreign ways. Furthermore, the villagers themselves are torn between two opposing military factions, the Bougainville Revolutionary Army and the Papua New Guinea Defense Force (whom they call “redskins,” a…

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The Community

Because Mister Pip takes place during the Bougainville Civil War, its characters are constantly threatened by a loss of community. To make matters worse, the war is characterized by a number of rival sub-factions: different guerilla militias that seem to forget their original intention to protect the people of Bougainville, instead warring between themselves and threatening the villages they visit. In this confusingly divided climate, Jones emphasizes the importance of banding together with one’s community…

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A book about blending cultures and stories, Mister Pip frames hybridity (that is, the mixing of various elements or sources to create something new) as fundamental to human life. In order to lead enriching and successful lives, Matilda and her fellow characters all must borrow and accept other ideas, practices, and cultures. Her village itself is a mixture of native island life, the influence of Christian missionaries, and the looming presence of Papua New Guinean…

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