Dolores Laimo

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Dolores Laimo
(Matilda’s Mother)
• Dolores is a central character of the novel in as
much as she typifies the high moral ground of
the fundamentalist Christians of the village.
She is feisty and will not give way in an
argument even if she may be losing it. She has
a frightening authority when she visits the
classroom.
First Impressions of the Character
• She is a bitter and hostile woman who is ‘angry all the
time,’ possibly because her husband is safely tucked away
in Townsville, protected from her lonely and uncertain life.
• Harsh and protective of her daughter Matilda “Stout!
Where’d you get that word from girl?” page 22
• Dolores can also be childish and stubborn at times too.”
what would you do, girl? If a man was hiding in the jungle
and he asked you to steal me. Would you do that?” page 23
• She strictly believes the content of “Good Book”, and goes
to church.
• Doesn’t take others opinions into account. She is very self
opinionated. “
Relationships with Others
• Dolores is friends with the ladies at the
church, she is capable of having very normal
‘friendly’ relationships.
Relationships with Others
However, the relationship between Mr Watts and herself have a
somewhat strange friendship. She does
not seem to particularly like him very much,
due to the book he is reading to his
daughter. Also, it is the fact that he does
not believe in the devil. Her other issue
with Mr Watts was that he was a white
man and white men had stolen her
husband.
Relationships with Others
• Dolores and her daughter, Matilda, have a very
strong bond. They both love each other very much,
however, like most typical mother and daughter
relationship they do have their ups and downs. Her
relationship with Matilda is so strong that she would
sacrifice her life for the rape of her only daughter, as
she says to the redskins;
• “Please. Have mercy. See. She is just a girl. She is my
only girl. Please. I beg you. Not my darling
Matilda.”(P.177).
Relationships with Others
• It just goes to show how the relationship
between a mother and a daughter can have
such a strong bond anywhere in the world.
• Dolores is most certainly capable of having
normal relationships with any other person on
the island, it is just due to her stubbornness
that she doesn’t have as many friends as you
would think.
Status/Job
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Dolores has a few different roles on the island:
She is a mother to Matilda
Wife
Member of the church
Teaches the class room about her beliefs.
Village member
Beliefs
• Dolores faith was an intensity of belief and her beliefs could not be
shaken.
• It is slightly confusing that she is more concerned with believing in the
devil than anything else. This may be because she as seen the devil with
her own eyes.
• When she came to speak at the school her subjects were faith and prayer
so when Mr Watts confessed to not believing in the devil she stormed to
the classroom, believing she could bully him into accepting what she
believes.
• This is also when she speaks of this devil women which she has seen.
• “Well, the first devil I met was back then. I’ll tell you kids this just in
case I am intersected by a redskin bullet because you need to know
what to look out for, and maybe in this specialist area Mr Watts is
no blimmin’ good. This women\, she live by herself, and one day
she saw us kids hanging about she came over and started shouting
‘’Hey! If you fellas pinched the church money I will pluck your
eyelashes out. People will see a plucked chicken and you know
what you did, that you shitty kids stole the church’s money. ” She
was scary. We heard she knew magic. She once turned a white man
into marmalade and spread him on her toast. So when she asked us
kids if we stole the church money we said, “No”, but that was the
wrong answer. We could tell that because she looked grumpy. She
was thinking what she would say next or maybe she was bored-we
couldn’t tell, and ”(P.75)
Strengths and Flaws
• She has love for her daughter, Matilda, but tries to
restrict her from the white world. “
• She will not admit she is wrong, she will argue for
arguments sake.
• Dolores can be too strong with her beliefs.
• She pushes her daughter away by being grumpy and
embarrassing at school.
• She realises her mistakes and speaks up for Mr Watts’
death ;
“Sir. I saw your men chop up the white man. He was a
good man. I’m here as as Gods witness”.
Whether your Impressions of the
Character Changes as the Novel
Progresses
• As the novel progresses, my opinion of
Dolores changes.
• Although she is religious she does sin by lying
and stealing Great Expectations. This act lead
not only to her fellow villagers houses to be
burnt down, but ultimately her death.
• Warm to her when she sacrifices her life for
Matilda, proving that she does love Matilda
and is a responsible mother. Matilda
recognises her mums act. “‘My brave Mum
had known this when she stepped forward to
proclaim herself God’s witness to the coldblooded butchery of her old enemy, Mr
Watts.’ (p181)
• She is more humble with her religion at the
beginning of the book. When she came to
speak at the school her subjects were faith
and prayer so when Mr Watts confessed to
not believing in the devil she stormed to the
classroom, believing she could bully him into
accepting what she believes. “ “
Discuss the relationship between Matilda and
her Mother. It is considered one of the most
important in the novel. Do you agree?
• The relationship between herself and her mother is a
very important relationship. Although the mother
and daughter have fall outs and have hidden secrets,
they share an unbreakable bond. A beautiful
example of this is when Dolores sacrifices her life for
Matilda’s rape “Please. Have mercy. See. She is just a
girl. She is my only girl. Please. I beg you. Not my
darling Matilda.”(P.177). Jones’ use of short
sentences makes each word of Dolores’ have
meaning and emotion.

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