Question: Analyse how a character develops from the beginning through to the end of a text.
Changes that a character can go through over the course of a novel, often helps us the reader to understand what the character themselves are going through. The novel, Jasper Jones by Craig Silvey helps to analyse a character who changes by experiencing a loss of innocence as he begins his pathway to maturity. from the beginning to the end of the novel. This character is Charlie, a young boy, from Western Australia in the 1960s. He goes through a lot of change over the course of the novel, and techniques which show us that he has changed in the novel are first person narration, relationships with other characters, and dialogue Charlie uses. The changes he goes through over the novel lead him to becoming maturer, and learning how society and the world truly is.
In the beginning of the novel, Charlie is naive on how the world truly works, and how people truly are. Silvey utilises the first person narration technique throughout the whole novel, so us the readers can understand what he is going through. When we are able to see that he is naive about the world, like any child because of how he looks up to adults at the beginning of the novel compared to the end. When Jasper was released from jail, he came to Charlie and told him how the police and Laura’s dad had beat him up. Charlie does not voice his thoughts directly to Jasper about this, but his inner monologue of thoughts inside his head are different: “I can’t believe what I’m hearing. It seems so far-fetched. My head is spinning, and I’m not sure if it is the Black Bush.” (141). This specific quote from Charlie’s inner monologue shows us that he is struggling to grasp the reality of how adults can actually be, and they do not also protect people who are innocent. Even though in his mind, adults should protect everyone. In the town of Corrigan this doesn’t happen, they abuse people who are different from them. This leads Charlie to have doubts about the adults around him.
Charlie has multiple relationships, with many different characters and groups in the novel. All the people he has relationships with view the world differently. Charlie’s relationship with the people of Corrigan is a strained one. Mainly, because he acts differently to most people in Corrigan. He is an academic, and cares about how he does in school. This makes him an outsider in his own way, because in Corrigan “sports are social currency.” He does not conform to Corrigan standards. The relationship he has with the townspeople is reflective of the relationship between the outsider and society in real life. The outsider relationship allows Charlie to see the town and townspeople for who they really are, and what society can be like to “outsiders.” An example from the text, is when a woman pours boiling hot water on Mrs Lu, and the townspeople do nothing. They just gawk at what happened, and do nothing to help Mrs Lu. The townspeople just excuse her behaviour because “her husband died in the vietnam war.” This example in the text changes Charlie, as he sees how racist and horrible the people of Corrigan can be to people who are different.
In the last part of the book, Charlie has changed quite dramatically from the beginning. He used to be a naive little boy, who trusted everyone and saw the world differently. Now he is more sceptical of people in Corrigan, and society. He has changed to be more sceptical, because he has realised that not everyone has pure motives. An example of this from the text is “a few folks from town delivered cuttings and grafts and flowers from their own gardens for An Lu……it seems like their way of saying sorry for what happened. But I wonder if they would have brought anything for his garden if it hadn’t been razed.” This example of Charlie’s dialogue from the text, shows us that he doesn’t believe in the townspeople’s motives, and for why they are actually being nice to An Lu. They did nothing when Mrs Lu had boiling water poured on her. They didn’t give her anything to say sorry for what happened to her. An Lu’s garden also was one of the prettiest things in town, which is most likely why they donated flowers, and cuttings so that it could be beautiful again. Even because of this, Charlie still realises that Corrigan is horrible and treats people who are “different” badly.
In conclusion, Charlie goes over a lot of changes to how sees Corrigan, which is also reflective of how he sees society at the time. Silvey uses the changes Charlie goes through to teach us about how society can be, from when the novel is set, to even now in the 21st Century.