In Jasper Jones, descriptions of the outside world, especially the scenery when Charlie is out of his house at night when he shouldn't be, often mimic Charlie's mental state. When he knows he shouldn't be out of his house, he projects his feelings of sneaking around and feels that everything is eerie and still. When he is in the meadow with Jasper and Eliza, he feels safer because he knows nobody can hurt them there. At Jack Lionel's house, Charlie is hot and feels as though he is covered in bugs.
The narrator describes Jasper and Charlie and puts them side by side, comparing them. The way Jasper is described is completely different from the way Charlie is described. While Charlie remains a child, Jasper is described as a man, tall, with impressive stature and imposing personality. This perception of Jasper is due in part to how Charlie feels in relation to the older boy, who, while a social outcast, holds more social capital among his peers than Charlie does. When Jasper allows Charlie to see that he is scared, Charlie realizes that he is as much a kid as Charlie himself is.
The most important image in the novel is that of the dead girl, hanging from the tree. When Charlie sees her for the first time, he is unable to look anywhere else and is amazed to see how the wind seems to sway the body from one side to another. The girl is dressed in white and the image of purity transmitted by her clothes contrasts sharply with the fact that she is hanging from a tree and her face shows signs of having been beaten.
Many small metaphorical fires lead the book to its conclusion, where Eliza lights her house on fire. Fire is a symbol of destruction and Hell, but in the novel, it is as much, if not more, a symbol of redemption, as it is through this fire that Eliza is able to punish her father for what he has done. Fire is a source of heat and therefore distress for Charlie, but at the end of the novel, both Charlie and Eliza are able to face the fire calmly, reassured by each other's presence in their lives.
Jasper Jones Questions and Answers
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