Last night I read this 250 page book (do I really need to go into the whole procrastination queen thing again?) in order to write a paper on it this morning for my women’s lit class. Even though I am very much burned out by the whole affair, HERE I AM, endorsing it to you, my very intelligent readers. I hashed out some very disconnected thoughts in my paper, and my skull is still full of fragments that I can’t seem to shake (I guess that school-thing is really working).
MISTER PIP is a coming of age story of a young girl, living on an island, experiencing first hand the traditional effects of a war-torn postcolonial struggle for power. The focus of the book is really discussing the difficulty that still exists between very different cultures, and the underlying principle of humanity that SHOULD pull both cultures together.
In the first week that I lived in Ghana, a large black man grabbed hold of my arm and pulled me close to him. He pressed his own arm against mine and pointed, “White skin, black skin. But if I cut you, you bleed red, and me also. We are the same.” I thought that he was wrong: we were not the same. We had different perceptions of the world, different cultural backgrounds and education. But I was moved by his desire to reconcile our complete disparity. I read his proclamation on every page of Mister Pip, in which Lloyd Jones- a white adult male of one culture, writes from the perspective of a brown, Polynesian girl from another culture. As he “slips inside the skin of another,” his attempt at personally reconciling two contrary cultures in such a consuming way moves me. He informs his readers with acute detail about a significantly foreign people.
So anyway- go out and buy it, write in it, ask it questions, tell your friends about it, and come away knowing that the things that happened in that book still happen today, no matter how hard we try to ignore it.