Charlie is the protagonist of the novel. He is a thirteen-year-old living in the rural, Western Australian town of Corrigan who dreams of escaping to New York City. He is intelligent, a budding writer who loves to read American literature. However, he is naive and innocent about the realities of the world, blinded by his own strong moral compass. He is overly, irrationally fearful, and he doesn't understand how wrongdoings and injustices can occur. By the novel's end, he learns that his fear will never disappear; instead, he must control his anxieties and develop a greater understanding of human morality and the complexities of others and the world.
Jasper is a half-white, half-Indigenous fourteen-year-old boy who asks for Charlie's help in hiding Laura Wishart's dead body and in finding her killer. Due to his race, he is often the target of racism and scapegoating from the Corrigan townspeople and is immediately blamed for any trouble. Jasper's father is negligent and abusive, and leaves him to fend for himself. Charlie admires Jasper's courage and maturity but he discovers that Jasper is just like him: a scared kid who was forced to grow up quickly, but is also full of love and loyalty. Like Charlie, Jasper also dreams of escaping Corrigan and does so by end of the novel.
Eliza is a girl in Charlie's grade, and his love interest. She is the sister of Laura Wishart and daughter of the shire president, Pete Wishart. She shares Charlie's love of American literature and is calm, witty and intelligent. It seems that she is hiding a secret about her sister's disappearance, turning her into somewhat of an engima for Charlie. Despite her poised exterior, Charlie discovers at the end that she is capable of destruction and rage, yet his changed perception of fairness allows him to see the justice in her actions.
Laura Wishart is Eliza's older sister and Jasper's girlfriend, who is found dead by Jasper and Charlie at the beginning of the novel. Jasper and Laura planned on leaving Corrigan together. Like her sister, Laura is described as calm, peaceful and intelligent. It is later revealed that Laura committed suicide and that she was pregnant with the child of her father, who had sexually and physically abused her.
Jeffrey is Charlie's best friend and is in the same grade as him and Eliza. He is Vietnamese, and thus is dealing with racism, discrimination and rejection from the Corrigan townspeople. He is a prodigious, astonishing cricket player and eventually wins the grudging respect of the town due to his skills. He is an endlessly determined, optimistic person with an absurd, witty sense of humor.
'Mad' Jack Lionel
Jack Lionel is a Corrigan resident who supposedly killed a woman years ago, and remains a recluse who is feared by the town's children. Stealing peaches from his tree is a common dare and sign of bravery. Jasper and Charlie initially suspect him of murdering Laura, but when they confront him, they discover that he is really Jasper's grandfather. Jack was initially furious when his son (Jasper's father) David married Rosie, an Aboriginal woman, but came to love her like a daughter. When Jasper was still a newborn, Jack drove Rosie to a hospital but was involved in a car crash that killed her. As a result, David never told Jasper about Jack. They realize that he is just a lonely man, but by the end of the novel, it is suggested that Jasper and Jack are rehabilitating their relationship.
Ruth Bucktin, Charlie's mother, is secretly extremely dissatisfied with Corrigan and her husband, Wesley Bucktin. She comes from an affluent heritage in the big city and was expected to marry into a wealthier family. Instead, the 'honeymoon' phase has long passed and she now finds herself stuck in a small rural town with a poor writer for a husband. Without a clear way out, Ruth resigns herself to playing the role of a good mother and puts in enormous effort into fitting in as just another local. However, her excessive resentment for her life in Corrigan bleeds through the mask and shows in her interactions with her family. Once a bubbly and vivacious woman, she is now 'curt and impatient' with Charlie and Wes and grasps at every opportunity to unfairly criticize her husband for no apparent reason. Therefore, when Charlie exposes her as being an unfaithful wife, she is quick to completely withdraw herself from Corrigan and rejoins her family in the city.
Wesley Bucktin, Charlie's father, is a quiet and reserved man. He knows about his wife's indiscretions and yet chooses not to address them with her. When she yells at him, he usually stares at her without defending himself or yelling back. He consults his son on acting more fairly with his mother. He is also an avid reader who instilled a love of learning into his son. He is a good father and cares deeply about his son's opinion of him. Although he lies to Charlie about writing a novel, he eventually finishes the book and shares a manuscript with his son.
One of Charlie's nemeses, Warwick Trent is the captain of the cricket team and one of the biggest bullies in their grade. He often picks on Charlie for his cerebral nature and large vocabulary. Bigger and broader than anyone else his age, before the end of the novel he held the record for the most peaches stolen from Mad Jack Lionel.
An Lu is Jeffery's father. He is an engineer at the mines and an avid and talented gardener. He is an intelligent and thoughtful man, and Charlie wonders what An might think of him.
Laura and Eliza's father, Pete Wishart is a violent drunk who sexually and physically abused Laura for years. He is also the shire president and so holds a considerable amount of power in Corrigan. He participated when the police detained Jasper and beat him up for a confession.
Laura and Eliza's mom, Mrs. Wishart, is an emotional and nervous wreck. In Laura's absence, she leans on Eliza for support. When Laura approached her with the truth of what her father had been doing to her in the nighttime, she called Laura a liar and denied the allegations. Eliza gives her the opportunity to tell everyone the truth of what happened to Laura in exchange for learning where her body lies, but Mrs. Wishart doesn't take the deal.
Rosie Jones is Jasper's mother. She was killed by Mad Jack Lionel in a car accident when Jasper was two years old.
Jasper Jones Questions and Answers
The Question and Answer section for Jasper Jones is a great
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