Jacob Chamberlain: Jasper, the Unholy Ghost of Cloisterham

Datchery, better known as Edwin Drood was now certain his guardian and uncle, Jasper, has killed Neville Landless in response to his disappearance. Edwin feels guilty for the fact that his uncle went to such lengths to avenge him. Edwin believes he must reveal himself to his uncle, that he is in fact not dead. He vanished and reappeared as Datchery in order to attempt to convince Helena to elope with him. That night Edwin ventures to Jasper’s home in order to fill him in on the entirety of the situation that he and Edwin are now in.

Upon revealing this to Jasper, the reaction Edwin expected was far different than he got. Jasper was a bit off, most likely due to his excessive opiate abuse. He seemed distraught and on edge. He must have increased his use to console himself with his perceived loss of Edwin and the murder of Neville. The paranoia put Jasper in quite an eccentric state. Jasper could not believe Edwin was alive and in his home. In a moment of panic, he grasped Edwin by the throat and began to squeeze the life from him. All the emotions of losing Edwin and killing Neville were rushing through him, Edwin had betrayed his trust. He was going to pay. This moment Jasper had dreamed of many times in the opium den. He was unsure of whether this was reality or not, but it felt so righteous he could not resist finishing the job. He choked the life from Edwin Drood his nephew.

Momentary euphoria overtook him, this moment always brought some perverse joy to him. Eliminating his nephew who foolishly rejected the marriage to his love, Rosa, was so pleasant. When he did not wake from a dream Jasper went from happiness to madness. He knew this murder would be incredibly difficult to cover up. Who could know? Helena, Jasper fixated his frenzy onto Helena Landless. She must know Edwin was still alive, he had to have had contact with her since his disappearance. Helena must go if Jasper is to remain safe. The people will assume she has left to join her brother and escape persecution for killing Edwin.

In his attempt to find Helena Jasper runs into Rosa and cannot keep it together. She can tell something is wrong and has Jasper arrested. She is rather fearful for her life and says she overheard Jasper muttering Edwin’s name. With the disappearance of Edwin Drood there is a great interest in why Jasper was out and about. The police take Jasper in and send men to go search his home. They find the body of Edwin Drood and convict Jasper of the murder of Edwin Drood, overcome with self-loathing, Jasper also admits to the murder of Neville Landless.

Rosa and Helena sit together in the cathedral grieving the loss of Rosa’s considered brother, Edwin, and Helena’s blood brother, Neville. They cannot believe the turn of events they have just witnessed. They consider themselves lucky they escaped with their lives. Jasper was a madman rampaging through the city and anyone who could accuse him was being eliminated. Cloisterham went from a peaceful town, to the home of a deranged killer.


Explanation

Dicken’s desired family conflict ending in murder. That want is fulfilled through Jasper’s killing of Edwin Drood. On top of that he kills Neville Landless and maintains the theme of the killing of the foreign character’s like Christian George King in “Perils of Certain English Prisoners”. Dicken’s son died on foreign ground so it is logical for him to hold a prejudice against any outsiders. He has a thematic distrust for non-Englishmen.

Jasper had fantasized about killing Edwin Drood many a time, he admits this to Princess Puffer in the opium den.

…She nods her head. “Over and over again.”
“Just like me! I did it over and over again. I have done it hundreds of thousands of time in this room.”
“It’s to be hoped it was a pleasure to do, deary.”
“It was pleasant to do!”
He says with a savage air, and a spring or start at her.

Jasper appears to have had many dreams about killing Edwin and has thoroughly enjoyed them. After all he does love Rose and Edwin has been in his way for all these years. Earlier on in the book we even get Edwin warning Rosa of Jack Jasper’s presence and his displeasure of them being together.

“Don’t look round Rosa.” He cautioned her, as he drew her arm threw his, and led her away. “Didn’t you see Jack?”
“No! Where?”
“Under the trees. He saw us, as we took leave of each other. Poor fellow! He little thinks we have parted. This will be a blow to him, I am much afraid!”

Jasper has been a suspicious character throughout this mystery. Even his own nephew is unnerved by him. The man is constantly high on opium and can hardly tell the difference between reality and his dreams. He is not entirely in control of himself and could easily have committed these murders. He seems to have done similar things many a time in his drug induced comas.

The class of these characters does not matter. They all have an up and down existence. Which is quite Dickensian, the world is not a friendly place. Nobody escapes unscathed. It is a very realist approach to fiction. It is also fitting that the story starts and ends with a cathedral. It brings about the timelessness of the droids and the old school approach they have on the English social condition.