Jasper Jones

Jasper Jones Literary Elements



Setting and Context

The action takes place over summer in the fictitious town of Corrigan, Australia in 1965.

Narrator and Point of View

The action is related through a first-person limited point of view.

Tone and Mood

Tragic, depressing, and mysterious

Protagonist and Antagonist

Protagonists include: Charlie, Jeffery, Jasper and Eliza; Antagonists include: Laura and Eliza's father, Charlie's mother, and more broadly, racism and abuse/neglect

Major Conflict

Major conflicts include: the protagonists against Corrigan, the protagonists against Laura's killer, Charlie against his mother, and Charlie against himself.


The story reaches its climax when it is revealed that Laura was not killed but that rather she killed herself after suffering abuse from her father.


When Charlie learns from his research about what happened to Sylvia Likens, he is disturbed that a community would allow that to happen to a little girl without intervening on her behalf. This foreshadows Charlie's eventual realization that a similar thing was happening in the Wishart home, where Laura was being abused by her father. Although many people knew about the abuse, or suspected it, nothing was done to help the Wishart girls until it was too late and Laura killed herself.


When Jasper says that he can hold his liquor this turns out to be an understatement, because he routinely overdrinks and is therefore able to drink copious amounts of alcohol without getting sick.


When Charlie considers why Jasper has chosen him to ask for help over all other people, he thinks of himself as some wiser and more tolerant being, like the Atticus Finch or Solomon of his community. This allusion highlights both his love of literature, and the flights of his self-esteem.


An important image in the novel is that of Jasper, bent over and seemingly crying after throwing Laura’s body in the river. The image invoked here is not that of a powerful man, but rather of a child in grief. Still, he attempts to hide the evidence of his emotional turmoil from Charlie.



Throughout the novel, parallels are built between Jasper Jones and Jeffery Lu, who are both targeted due to their race. Both Jasper and Jeffery are perceived as being particularly brave by Charlie, who admires their perseverance in the face of adversity.

Metonymy and Synecdoche


The town of Corrigan is personified often in the novel. This literary device works to describe Corrigan's residents, and the town is characterized as being racist, close-minded and gossipy. The small town is held complicit in most of the crimes committed in the novel.