The Mystery of Edwin Drood

by Charles Dickens

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How does Jasper treat those beneath him in The Mystery of Edwin Drood?

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In The Mystery of Edwin Drood, John Jasper treats the people beneath him, or those who are his social inferiors and those over whom he has authority, courteously and kindly. However, he has a grave manner and creates a somewhat sinister impression, particularly on Rosa.

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Jasper is generally decent and courteous in his conduct to those who are his social inferiors and is protective towards those over whom he has any authority. Dickens describes his manner as "sombre," and he is certainly capable of creating a sinister effect, as he does on Rosa Bud, who is terrified of him and shakes with fear at the very mention of his name. There are various indications, both literary and biographical, that Dickens intended to make Jasper the murderer, and his manner is consistent with this. Nonetheless, he attempts to make himself pleasant to subordinates and is not overbearing or patronizing in his manner.

One of the best examples of Jasper's conduct towards someone who is beneath him is his treatment of the stonemason, Stony Durdles. He shows an interest in Durdles's life and work and is shown to understand him, when the pompous Sapsea does not. In chapter 5, a boy is throwing stones at Durdles, and Mr. Jasper not only stops him from doing so and protects Durdles, but even offers to escort Durdles home and carry his bundle for him. This may not be entirely disinterested, but is perfectly consistent with his treatment of the Topes, Edwin, and the other characters in the book. Rosa's aversion to Jasper seems to be something visceral rather than occasioned by mistreatment.

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