The Character of Mr.Watts

3316 Words Mar 17th, 2012 14 Pages
Character of Mr. Watts

Tom Christian Watts, known locally as Pop Eye, is an elderly white man living in the village with his black wife, Grace. Grace is from the village and now suffers from an undisclosed mental illness. He and his wife are local eccentrics, providing the children with entertainment on occasions when Pop Eye, wearing a clown’s red nose, pulls his wife along the village in a trolley. In turn, she stands regally looking at no-one. Matilda is keen to understand what this behaviour means, ‘sensing a bigger story’, but the adults ‘looked away’ as if embarrassed by the sight. Only at the end of the novel is the ‘bigger story’ made clear.

At the start of the story Matilda only knows what she sees of Mr. Watts: he wore ‘the
…show more content…
But she changed it. Her name is Sheba.’
The reader now thinks of Pop Eye with his clown’s nose pulling along his queenly wife on the trolley.
Why did Grace feel the need to change? What had she moved from and to?

Later on Mr. Watts comes into open conflict with Dolores over her disapproval of Mr. Watts’ teaching of a work of irrelevant fiction, as Dolores sees ‘Great Expectations’, instead of God’s word and His influence on Matilda’s thinking. Dolores challenges Mr. Watts to deny the Devil’s existence in a story of her own. His response is:
‘Pip is an orphan -----emigrant’s experience. Each leaves behind the place they grew up in . Each strikes out on his own. Each is free to create himself anew. Each is also free to make mistakes---‘
While we recognise the similarity of explanation given to Matilda earlier in the story we begin to understand that he is talking to Dolores about Grace and that some of Dolores’s hostility towards Mr. Watts has to do with his wife, a childhood friend of Dolores. By the end of the novel the reader understands he may be referring to himself.

When the redskins finally arrive at the village looking for rebel soldiers there is confusion caused by seeing Pip’s name in the sand. Daniel tries to be helpful by explaining ‘Pip belongs to Mr. Dickens, sir’, pointing to the school and the officer misinterprets this to be Mr. Dickens instead of Tom Watts. Mr. Watts causes further confusion by owning up to being Mr.

More about The Character of Mr.Watts

Open Document