The Effects of Conflict on Matilda in Mister Pip

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Conflict is caused by opposing ideas, opinions and actions of different entities. Each individual posses her own opinion, thus making disagreement an inevitable part of life. Characters in literature are often placed in conflicts from which they learn important lessons. In the novel Mister Pip, by Lloyd Jones, a young girl named Matilda faces great challenges of war on the island of Bougainville. With the guidance of her religious and courageous mother Dolores, and the guidance of her teacher Mr. Watts, she learns many lessons and matures greatly, ultimately becoming a strong woman. Mr. Watts reads a novel by Charles Dickens called Great Expectations to Matilda’s class, which impacts her isolated childhood life on the island. Lloyd Jones explores opposing forces, such as family and literature, parent and teacher and white and black to emphasize the strong conflict between characters, ultimately affecting Matilda’s experiences. Matilda matures immensely due to opposing ideologies and learns many valuable lessons. The conflict between family and literature is due to disagreements about beliefs in fictional characters, religion, and the importance of family, thus making the two ideologies clash unavoidably. Matilda’s mother has a passionate Christian belief that continuously comes in disagreement with the novel Great Expectations. Matilda does not believe in the devil; she says to her mother that she can hear Pip’s voice but “cannot hear the devil’s voice” (89). Dolores “worri[es] she [is losing] her Matilda to Victorian England” (35), which makes her feel that her daughter is forgetting the importance of the Good Book and her family’s culture. The strong effect the literate piece has on Matilda causes family and literature to frequently clash. Furthermore, Dolores sees that Matilda wrote the name Pip in the sand and directs her to “write the names of the family tree”

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