Charlie describes his world arfter learning about Laura's death as "like a snow-dome paperweight that's been shaken" (23). He compares his life in Corrigan to living in a bubble, where everything was "steady and sure and sturdy," but has now been "shaken out of place" (23). Charlie's turmoil about Laura's death is clear, and although he does not yet comprehend how much the summer will change him, he knows that a great change is coming, because there is no going back to the way things were before: "Everything has been rocked with such rigor and tumult. Everything has been uprooted and broken" (23).
Thoughts as Insects (simile)
When Charlie is overwhelmed, he imagines the thoughts in his head as "like insidious insects," "Haunting and noisy and nonsensical" (71). Considering how afraid Charlie is of insects, this simile highlights his very fragile mental state. At this moment in the novel, Charlie is attempting to cope with all that he knows and doesn't know about Jasper, Laura, Eliza, and Jeffery. He feels out of control of his situation and afraid of his own thoughts as he tries desperately to find a solution to all the hurt that he has been privy to.
Corrigan as Barnacles (metaphor)
Charlie calls Corrigan to a "town of barnacles," describing the town as "a cluster of hard shells that suck themselves stuck and clench themselves shut and choose not to know about dying" (126). This metaphor is used when Charlie is considering why he didn't hear about the bombing in Vietnam on the news that night. He is learning why people disassociate from violence, and why adults become desensitized to it. This is an important discovery for Charlie, who is about to learn a lot about his community when the truth about Laura emerges.
The Dam (metaphor)
The dam where Charlie and Jasper throw Laura’s dead body becomes a metaphor for the divide between the world of the living and the world of the dead. Still bodies of water like lakes and ponds are often seen as places of transition between the world of the living and the world of the dead. Thus, the water evokes Laura's death and disappearance from this world metaphorically. When Jasper jumps into the dam in an effort to retrieve Laura's body, Eliza tells him that Laura will stay at the bottom forever, suggesting that the three have finally accepted the finality of Laura's death and disappearance.
Aspersions like Dandelion Spores (simile)
Charlie finally feels vindicated by the rumor mill in Corrigan, even though he has hated it for so long for its ability to hide the ugly truth and victimize those who are different, like Jasper and the Lu family. When Charlie sneaks out of the house for the second time, he has irrevocably altered the community's perception of his family: "Aspersions were being cast like dandelion spores on hot, gossipy winds" (205). By being caught by the police for sneaking out, Charlie has harmed his family's reputation and embarrassed his mother. It's a note about what the town values, as well as what his mother cares about, since she is more embarrassed than concerned for her son. His pleasure at her downfall in the eyes of the community is indicative of the resentful nature of their relationship.
Jasper Jones Questions and Answers
The Question and Answer section for Jasper Jones is a great
resource to ask questions, find answers, and discuss the novel.