Jasper Jones

Jasper Jones Essay Questions

  1. 1

    How does Charlie's relationships with each of his parents differ? Do his relationships with either of them change over the course of the novel?

    As Charlie grows up and becomes increasingly disillusioned with his town, his disillusionment extends to his feelings about his parents. He comes to see his mom as overbearing and unhappy with her life, and his dad as overly passive.

  2. 2

    Discuss what Charlie learns about courage throughout Jasper Jones. What does he think courage is at first? How does this differ from the views of other people in his life?

    Charlie's relationship with Jasper teaches him at first what courage looks like and eventually what courage is. He learns that bravery is a choice, and that courageous behavior primarily entails a strong poker face; you can never banish your fear, only decide to proceed in the face of it. He adopts this knowledge into his life in satisfying ways.

  3. 3

    Compare and contrast Charlie's character with that of Holden Caufield in The Catcher in the Rye.

    Both Charlie and Holden are disillusioned with their communities and have complicated home lives. Holden has access to a different kind of life, however, and uses his wealth to go on an adventure, while adventure comes to Charlie, whether he wants it or not. Holden is primarily concerned with helping himself, while Charlie is caught up in helping another person.

  4. 4

    Many of the characters in Jasper Jones are harboring secrets. How do these secrets advance the plot? Which ones come to light and which ones don't, and what does this say about the meaning of Jasper Jones?

    Charlie, Eliza, Jasper, and Charlie's parents all harbor their own secrets. While Eliza and Jasper confide in Charlie, their secrets never leave that small circle of people. Charlie's father confides in him about his manuscript, and Charlie's mother is caught cheating on his father. The public never learns the truth about what happens to Laura, partly because Charlie, Eliza, and Jasper decide that it is best not to reveal the secret. Overall, this suggests that, while secrets can tear apart families, communities, and individual lives, the solution is not always as simple as just revealing them.

  5. 5

    Compare and contrast Jeffery and Jasper's characters.

    Charlie regards both Jeffery and Jasper as being particularly brave. Jeffery and Jasper face similar prejudices in Corrigan because of their races, but they react to this prejudice in different ways. This is due, in part, to their different home lives. While Jasper does what he wants with what he was given, Jeffery attempts to gain acceptance in town by operating within its existing structures.