Ecosublimity in Lloyd Jones’s Mister Pip
AbstractLiterature is the ideal medium for understanding the creative flow of energy that occurs through reading and the way in which it may provide interpretations of culture, language and the creative imagination. This paper analyses Lloyd Jones’s novel, Mister Pip (2006), from an ecosublime perspective of the crucial link between place, literature, and the creative
imagination in mediating transformations of culture and identity. In Mister Pip, Lloyd Jones explores subtle ways in which literature mediates personal and cultural transformations through the unspoken and invisible and through voices of places and habitus. The setting is Bougainville in 1990 at the height of Papua New Guinea’s blockade of the beautiful, but copper -mine dependant, island. The physical setting of the novel plays a major role in the plot, with the jungle environment and military metaphors of conquest used to narrate the chaos and terror following the blockade. The awe and terror of the physical destruction of the environment is offset by the power of the creative imagination to provide an escape from the nightmare world of the physical and psychological destruction wrought by the blockade. Told through the eyes of a young native girl, Matilda, Mister Pip is a stunning portrayal of an island at the mercy of outside forces. With all western contact withdrawn, the one remaining white man, Mr Watts, re-opens the school to restore hope to the villagers. Unqualified and
armed with only a copy of Charles Dickens’s Great Expectations, he begins to narrate the story of Pip to the children, and through this narration Matilda finds a friend in Pip. This paper will discuss how Lloyd Jones uses the creative space of literature to explore the personal and cultural transformations of a society besieged by a repressive political regime.
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