Jasper Jones Character’s Identity Challenges

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Jasper Jones character’s identity challenges that result in anger. What is identity? Why do we get so angry at not knowing who we are? Why do people around us not accept us? First, let me tell you a few things about Jasper Jones. It all starts in the darkness of the night of an isolated town, where Charlie is startled by the outcast Jasper Jones peeking through his window where he leads Charlie into the woods that is about to change everyone’s life around.

Jasper Jones directed by Rachel Perkins in 2017, is about the life of Charlie Bucktin which is set in the late 60’s in a small, isolated town called Corrigan that is surrounded by bush. Charlie the 14-year-old boy sets out in the town with Jasper Jones to find out the murderer of a young girl named Laura Wishart. In the movie, Jasper Jones represents identity as unstable and often challenged, which has resulted in anger since the people of Corrigan’s identity challenges create self-doubt. People’s identity is constructed by experiences and skills they have achieved throughout their life. Many of the characteristics of their identity can be misread, making it hard to determine an interpretation of their identity which can lead to anger towards themselves for them not knowing who they are. The targeted audience is mainly the viewers of electric literature that include young adults that have experienced identity challenges and people that enjoy reading other people’s opinions about a certain film and topic. The audience will be positioned in feeling empathy towards characters such as Eliza, Jasper, Jeffery and Charlie. Rachel Perkins has shown the character’s change in their look when they are not happy with themselves, lashing out and blaming people to release their anger and most characters represent their anger by taking matters in their own hands.

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This image shows the difference in the colouring of Clothing, the three characters look more grown up and wear more earthy colours that suit more of the bush. Eliza wears a more innocent colour but still has a touch of dark blue.Many people change their looks, feelings and the way they act, just to be someone they’re not for society to accept them. Eliza Wishart’s character in the film, clearly demonstrates her identity being challenged by the death of Laura and not being able to trust anyone around her except for Charlie which results in a change of her overall appearance, the colour palette she wears and how she acts. Eliza’s identity is like a seashell that isn’t stable, which changes when waves crushing it onto the sand forming it into something new. Eliza’s outfit starts to change in colour and style, this is shown by the colour palette she is wearing at the cricket game with Charlie. Eliza’s colouring of her outfits changes from being bright colours such as pink, light blue to darker colours like dark blue and a darker shade of orange but the colour doesn’t just represent her feelings. She also becomes more distant from the town by dressing in different colours from the town. Her style of clothing becomes more grown up by the way she does her hair, wearing big sunglasses makes her more adult looking. By Eliza dressing more like an adult, it gives her confidence to act like one, by hiding her feelings more and taking matters in her own hands. However, emotionally she is still a teenager. Eliza reacts very strongly to her mother destroying the evidence of why Laura committed suicide, this is shown at the end of the film when she burns down her house to get revenge on her father and mother for destroying evidence of her father being the main cause of her sister’s death. Overall, when Eliza’s identity was challenged by characters and events, it was changed by the way she acted and presented herself which resulted in anger and resentment so taking revenge. This has made the audience feel sympathetic towards Eliza as she is going through difficult feelings to overcome and understand.

The town of Corrigan has a major impact on characters as they are challenged by the Vietnam war and the death of Laura. Rachel Perkins has shown that the town influences the characters. An example of this is when Jasper Jones gets blamed by the whole town for the death of Laura. A quote from Charlie shows this “People in town say he is dangerous, but I’ve always wondered what he’s really like”. Racism is portrayed throughout the film which has positioned Jasper to feel like an outcast of the town as he is indigenous and doesn’t have any family. However, the main character Charlie sees past Jasper’s cultural background and reputation to find out what Jasper is really like. Jasper appears to be different from the town by the way he dresses, wearing dark earthy colours such as orange, “In order to further strengthen their sense of identity, members of a group may develop hostile feelings towards other groups” - Psychology Today black and brown signifying his cultural difference. Whereas, the town of Corrigan appears as bright neutral colours like light blue, light green, pink and white. Racism does not just affect Jasper but also the Lu family. When Jeffery Lu plays at a cricket game, his teammates call him names and only lets him sit out during the game. Another example is when Jeffery’s Mother gets attacked by a woman for being Vietnamese. Before the death of Laura and the Vietnam war, the town was considered as a safe place but one of the families lost the son in the war and when Laura died, this made the town feel anxious and furious. The Lu family gets all the anger from the town, due to the town making assumptions that the Lu family are associated with the Vietnam War. Some of the people of the town to accept the Lu family for being Vietnamese and this is shown when the Lu family’s garden gets destroyed and Charlie’s dad comes over to defend them and the next day it shows a woman giving the Lu family flowers to help decorate the garden. The town of Corrigan shows a number of acts of racism towards Jasper and the Lu family which has resulted in them feeling like an outcast.

Charlie was influenced by being challenged to change his perspective on things which resulted in him in becoming anger due to his perspective on himself. Charlie finds out his mother cheated on his dad with another man and his mother decides to leave him behind while she goes out into the world which makes Charlie unsure about himself because he doesn’t understand why his mum would leave him for something better. This makes Charlie feel that everything around him is not what it seems, and this makes him aware of all the flaws and faults of the adults around him. The change that Charlie experiences are expressed the way he dresses. His clothing becomes more neutral and different than the colours of Corrigan which makes me look more grown up in his appearance. Charlie dresses this way as it gives him confidence in acting more like an adult by taking things into his own hands, not experiencing what a normal 14-year-old would experience but gets frustrated and blames himself for some of the events like his mother leaving. Overall, Charlie experiences challenges and changes in his identity which influences his feelings by taking out his anger towards himself.

So, the question is, what is identity and why do we act angry when we don’t know who we are anymore? Our identity is always being changed and challenged, whether it’s by events or people influencing this change, people will always challenge themselves and people around them which can have an outcome of anger towards themselves due to self-doubt. Eliza was challenged with the death of her sister and not trusting her parents which influenced her to change her style of clothing, get revenge on her dad and her mum. Even the town of Corrigan was an influence on characters’ changes and challenges by blaming and lashing out, mainly to Jasper and the Lu family for being an outsider of the town and country. Charlie was challenged when he noticed adult’s flaws and faults which resulted in him taking out his anger on himself for thinking it’s all his fault on some events that happened. Even though your identity always changes and has some challenges along the way it is never a good idea to be angry at yourself or others around you especially when the causes are out of your control. How would you react if your identity was challenged?

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Jasper Jones Character’s Identity Challenges. (2020, November 26). WritingBros. Retrieved July 14, 2024, from https://writingbros.com/essay-examples/jasper-jones-characters-identity-challenges/
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Jasper Jones Character’s Identity Challenges. [online]. Available at: <https://writingbros.com/essay-examples/jasper-jones-characters-identity-challenges/> [Accessed 14 Jul. 2024].
Jasper Jones Character’s Identity Challenges [Internet]. WritingBros. 2020 Nov 26 [cited 2024 Jul 14]. Available from: https://writingbros.com/essay-examples/jasper-jones-characters-identity-challenges/
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