Parent/Child relationships are widely portrayed in the two novels, Mister Pip by Lloyd Jones and Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night Time by Mark Haddon. The authors both explore and portray the relationships between the main characters and a parental role differently in relation to the other despite them both being from opposite sides of the world, as well as the story being set in different time periods. In Mister Pip, its Matilda a young black girl from the island of Papua New Guinea with her mother Dolores and in The Curious Incident.. ts Christopher, a young boy with Aspergers Syndrome from Swindon along with father Ed Boone.
The children on the island in Mister Pip are made to look inferior to the adults earlier on in the novel. Despite being a norm or value, the children in Mister Pip are made to abide all the rules that are set by the adults which often makes them feel less important than the adults. This is established early in the first few pages of the novel “We weren’t worthy of that. It was as if we didn’t exist” (page 3).
Although its the norm in most cultures and societies that the children are raised to respect the elder peers, follow the rules set by them and inherit their general knowlegde, its seems that both the children and their parents are intellectually equal despite the difference in age and observation. “When our ancestors saw the first whit guy they thought they were looking at ghosts.. ” (Page 5) This shows the intellectual relationship between the children and their parents who mainly base their knowledge of what they’ve observed forcing the children to believe it word for word.
However, Christopher in the Curious Incident of The Dog in the Night Time, does not consider the adults superior in the novel when he is being shouted at by Mrs Shears for being on her lawn and holding the corpse of the dog Wellington he just ignored her. “The policeman took hold of my arm and lifted me onto my feet. I didn’t like him touching me like this. And this is where I hit him. ” (Page 9).
Christopher lashes out in the way he believed to be right rather than the way he was aised to deal with these types of situations which suggests that besides his syndrome, there have been a lack of trust between Christopher and his dad during his upbringing that Christopher felt he didn’t have to stick by the rules enforced: in this case, “you know its wrong to hit a policeman” (Page 22). In Mister Pip, the relationship between Matilda and her mother Dolores is very complicated, they come into conflict over the book “Great Expectations” when Matilda tries to tell her mum Dolores about how much she enjoyed the book.
Lloyd Jones portrays Dolores as a strict Christian who is a very proud woman however is embarrassed to tell Matilda her daughter, of her age. So when Matilda tries to tell her mum about the book Dolores goes against the story by saying its immoral causing the two characters to drift further apart. “She must have anticipated this because she used her softer voice, the one she used the night before Great Expectations came between us” (Page 36) Matilda quotes as she realises anything regarding Great Expectations angers her mother.
This then leads to conflict with Mr Watts, the teacher which Dolores shows a lack of respect by calling him Pop-Eye (the nickname the children had developed for Mr. Watts). The contention then begins to grow between Dolores and Mr. Watts when Dolores visits the school to preach about religious faith. As the conflict grows, it seems that Matilda is being forced into thinking two different ways of life. “The same space had come to exist between Mr.
Watts and my mum. And I knew I would have to choose between the two” (Page 40) shows Lloyd Jones uses the intellectual conflict between the adults to highlight how this happens regular between parents which often impacts on the child and what they will be like growing up. On the other hand, in The Curious Incident… Christopher’s relationship with his father is jeopardised after he finds out that his father lied to him about his mothers death. Father said that he didn’t know what kind of heart attack she had and now wasn’t the moment to be asking questions like that” (Page 36) This particular event in the story changes the dynamics of the novel, tension and the relationship with his father as he wanted to know what had happened to his mother. The problem resulted to Christopher taking independence within his own life on his journey to London to find his mother, then becoming very close again in the latter part of the novel; While he realises the reality of life that his parents never allowed him to understand.
Mark Haddon uses the syndrome of Christopher to emphasise how eager he is to be self reliant, this separates the characters because that’s what Christopher tries to achieve although he is not in a self reliant position due to his condition and age. The Bond between Matilda and her real father can be described as non-existent throughout majority of the novel up until towards the end when he returns from the mines. Matilda considers Mr Watts as her main male figure for majority of the novel and even when her father does come back she continues to accept that Mr Watts (Pop-eye) is the “father” in her life.
This was considered another reason why Mr watts and Dolores have a lot of conflict when it comes to Matilda. In Curious Incident, at first the bond between Christopher and his father is very strong. It is so strong you they had more than a family bond, they also had a good reliant friendship. In both the curious incident and mister pip the adults/ parental figures are secretive when it comes to telling the children in the two novels the truth about certain incidents.
The children in Mister Pip are not told about what is going on in the war and are kept from finding out the truth, which gives the indication that just like in today’s society the children are being protected from the truth about current affairs in the world because of their age and innocence. Christopher in The Curious incident is kept from finding out the truth of his parents split up, even though he is not a child and is in his teens the parents feel that he would not fully understand the reasons for them splitting up which would give us the impression that there is trust issues between Christopher and his parents.
The authors used different techniques to explore the child and adult relationships, despite of the circumstances each main character was facing and/or due to the lack of a biological parent. In regards to the question, the authors explore the relationships well as both Mark Haddon and Lloyd Jones use their novels to define trends in relationships throughout different places and era and how that can affect them in the long-term. Despite also defining that both parents and children within the novels are equally reliant on one an other.