Jasper Jones

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Ruth Bucktin Character Analysis

Charlie’s mother and Wesley’s wife. Ruth is an angry, cold woman who hates her life in Corrigan, and often wishes she were living with her wealthy family, far from Charlie and Wesley. Ruth is more concerned with the appearance of normality than with either Wesley or Charlie as people, and she puts enormous effort into seeming as decent and well-to-do as possible to the other townspeople. Charlie resents Ruth for her strict behavior, though Wesley teaches him to act diplomatically around her. By the end of the novel, Charlie has learned that Ruth is unfaithful to Wesley—and when he learns this, he tells her that he’ll never listen to her again.

Ruth Bucktin Quotes in Jasper Jones

The Jasper Jones quotes below are all either spoken by Ruth Bucktin or refer to Ruth Bucktin. For each quote, you can also see the other characters and themes related to it (each theme is indicated by its own dot and icon, like this one:
Fear Theme Icon
). Note: all page and citation info for the quotes below refers to the Ember edition of Jasper Jones published in 2012.
Chapter 3 Quotes

It’s occurred to me that one day she might not come back at all. She might simply refuse. I know her family pressure her. I know they coddle her with self-serving concern, that they constantly remind her of the things she’s missing, the things they feel she deserves. And I don’t really blame her for being seduced by it. It’s what she grew up with, I guess.

Related Characters: Charlie Bucktin (speaker), Ruth Bucktin
Page Number: 101
Explanation and Analysis:

Charlie doesn’t get along well with his mother, Ruth. Ruth is strict, spoiled, and not particularly loving. In this scene, Ruth punishes Charlie by making him dig a hole in the hot sun. As Charlie digs, he thinks about his mother, remembering that she comes from a wealthy, powerful family that never approved of her marriage to Charlie’s father. Several times a year, Ruth leaves Charlie to stay with her family, far away. Charlie resents his mother for leaving him so often, but he’s also sympathetic to her desire for luxury and solitude. By striving to understand Ruth—a woman he seems not to like very much, even though she’s his mother—Charlie is training himself to understand far stranger, less forgivable people.

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Chapter 6 Quotes

Mostly, I spent the time writing. Almost obsessively. Every day and every night. It’s the thing that gave me company. Along with reading, it’s what got me out of the house without them being able to stop me at the door.

Related Characters: Charlie Bucktin (speaker), Wesley Bucktin, Ruth Bucktin
Page Number: 169
Explanation and Analysis:

After being caught sneaking away from the house, Charlie is forbidden from leaving the house at all. Because he has no alternative, Charlie spends his time in his room, reading books and writing. Charlie's love for books allows him to escape from the smallness and dullness of life in his town--he can imagine going elsewhere even when he's imprisoned in his bedroom. In a similar way, Charlie's writing abilities continue to keep him sane. He hasn't forgotten the gruesome spectacle of Laura Wishart's corpse. It's only by writing about his experiences that Charlie avoids becoming wracked with guilt; by putting ink to paper, he establishes a safe distance between himself and his own trauma.

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Ruth Bucktin Character Timeline in Jasper Jones

The timeline below shows where the character Ruth Bucktin appears in Jasper Jones. The colored dots and icons indicate which themes are associated with that appearance.
Chapter 2
Fear Theme Icon
Appearances and Secrets Theme Icon
...was the night before—but instead they laugh and tease him for sleeping too late. His mother sarcastically asks him if he’s enjoyed his stay in the “hotel.” Charlie thinks that his... (full context)
Fear Theme Icon
Understanding, Innocence, and Sympathy Theme Icon
Escape, Guilt, and Writing Theme Icon
...gets up to leave the house and find Jeffrey, quickly drinking all the coffee his mother gave him. (full context)
Fear Theme Icon
Racism and Scapegoating Theme Icon
Understanding, Innocence, and Sympathy Theme Icon
Escape, Guilt, and Writing Theme Icon
...the hot sun, Charlie walks to Jeffrey Lu’s house, which is near his own. Jeffrey’s mother greets Charlie warmly and tells him that the cricket match has been rained out. Charlie... (full context)
Escape, Guilt, and Writing Theme Icon
...a bedroom for Charlie’s younger sister, who died before she was born, nearly killing Charlie’s mother and preventing her from ever having children again. Charlie wonders if his father would tell... (full context)
Chapter 3
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Understanding, Innocence, and Sympathy Theme Icon
Charlie enters the kitchen, where his parents are sitting. His mother tells him to stay in sight of the house if he spends time with Jeffrey.... (full context)
Racism and Scapegoating Theme Icon
Escape, Guilt, and Writing Theme Icon
...there to help the Americans. Charlie’s father has wanted to protest the war, but Charlie’s mother always tells him that it’s a waste of time. Charlie wants his father to stand... (full context)
Fear Theme Icon
Understanding, Innocence, and Sympathy Theme Icon
Escape, Guilt, and Writing Theme Icon
As they walk, Eliza tells Charlie that her sister is missing. She adds that her mother can’t stop crying, and that her father is drinking and yelling. Charlie notes that Eliza... (full context)
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Understanding, Innocence, and Sympathy Theme Icon
Escape, Guilt, and Writing Theme Icon
Charlie and Eliza reach Eliza’s house, where Eliza’s mother, who is waiting outside, immediately yells at her for leaving the house without permission. Eliza... (full context)
Fear Theme Icon
When Charlie returns to his house, his mother slaps him and calls to Charlie’s father, whom she addresses as “Wesley,” telling him that... (full context)
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...him—he’d probably call Charlie a “pussy,” Charlie thinks. Before Charlie can do anything more, his mother walks in without knocking and orders him to come outside with her. Outside, she gives... (full context)
Fear Theme Icon
Charlie angrily digs, silently cursing his mother and imagining throwing her into the hole he’s digging. As he digs, he wonders what... (full context)
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Understanding, Innocence, and Sympathy Theme Icon
Charlie continues digging and thinks about his mother. She has always hated Corrigan, he knows, but lately it seems as if her sarcasm... (full context)
Fear Theme Icon
Understanding, Innocence, and Sympathy Theme Icon
Escape, Guilt, and Writing Theme Icon
Charlie keeps thinking about his family. His mother comes from “old money,” while his father’s family lacks any money at all. His father... (full context)
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Understanding, Innocence, and Sympathy Theme Icon
Escape, Guilt, and Writing Theme Icon
By the late evening, Charlie has dug a hole as deep as his ribs. Charlie’s mother comes out of the house and surveys his work—Charlie thinks that she’s secretly impressed with... (full context)
Fear Theme Icon
Understanding, Innocence, and Sympathy Theme Icon
Escape, Guilt, and Writing Theme Icon
...that he should have told them he was leaving the house, and adds that Charlie’s mother was right to be worried. Charlie likes that his father talks to him like an... (full context)
Fear Theme Icon
Understanding, Innocence, and Sympathy Theme Icon
Escape, Guilt, and Writing Theme Icon
...the world is changing, and Laura’s disappearance proves as much. He tells Charlie that his mother will tell Charlie that he’s to go without dinner, but he advises Charlie to accept... (full context)
Fear Theme Icon
Understanding, Innocence, and Sympathy Theme Icon
Appearances and Secrets Theme Icon
Escape, Guilt, and Writing Theme Icon
...possible. He claps Charlie on the back and reminds him to accept the punishment his mother is about to give him. (full context)
Fear Theme Icon
Understanding, Innocence, and Sympathy Theme Icon
Appearances and Secrets Theme Icon
A few hours later, Charlie’s mother has left for bridge, and Charlie and his father are carefully cutting food so that... (full context)
Understanding, Innocence, and Sympathy Theme Icon
Appearances and Secrets Theme Icon
...that they’ve come to arrest him. But then the door opens, and he sees his mother walking out, laughing. He wonders if she might be drunk. As she walks to the... (full context)
Chapter 4
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...Oz, but he neglects to mention that he was dressed as Dorothy, or that his mother was the Wicked Witch, cackling at him. Jeffrey mentions that Laura is missing, and jokes... (full context)
Understanding, Innocence, and Sympathy Theme Icon
...where he notices that his father is out helping with the search for Laura. Charlie’s mother asks if he wants lunch, and he politely says no. (full context)
Racism and Scapegoating Theme Icon
Escape, Guilt, and Writing Theme Icon
Later in the evening, Charlie sits and watches television with his father and mother. There is a news story about Laura’s disappearance. Wesley expresses his surprise that Laura hasn’t... (full context)
Chapter 5
Fear Theme Icon
Racism and Scapegoating Theme Icon
...little happens. Jeffrey doesn’t make the Country Week cricket team, which surprises no one, Charlie’s mother is irritable, his father is calm, and Charlie himself finishes Pudd’nhead Wilson and moves on... (full context)
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...and Jasper see that there is a search party on his lawn, and both his mother and father are there. Jasper whispers to Charlie to make something up, and not to... (full context)
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...toward his house, slowly, knowing that he’s a “dead man walking.” As he approaches, his mother runs toward him, weeping, and embraces him. As his mother hugs him, Charlie realizes for... (full context)
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As he hugs his mother, Charlie looks around and sees that Wesley and a large crowd have gathered. Keith Tostling,... (full context)
Fear Theme Icon
Escape, Guilt, and Writing Theme Icon
...Wesley that he’d like to speak with Charlie, and Wesley nods. Charlie, Wesley, and Charlie’s mother walk to their home, followed by the Sarge. Charlie notices that An Lu is returning... (full context)
Chapter 6
Fear Theme Icon
Understanding, Innocence, and Sympathy Theme Icon
Escape, Guilt, and Writing Theme Icon
...parents told him that he’d be grounded until the end of the year. Afterwards, Charlie’s mother yelled at Wesley, accusing him of being a neglectful father who didn’t pay attention to... (full context)
Understanding, Innocence, and Sympathy Theme Icon
As Charlie’s mother yelled at Wesley, Wesley remained calm and quiet. Charlie’s mother said that Corrigan was destroying... (full context)
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Understanding, Innocence, and Sympathy Theme Icon
...Charlie, and Charlie’s parents eat dinner together. Jeffrey recounts his hits, but neither Charlie nor Ruth pays much attention. Charlie can’t help thinking about Eliza, and Charlie’s mother seems lost in... (full context)
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Understanding, Innocence, and Sympathy Theme Icon
Appearances and Secrets Theme Icon
Before Charlie can question Jasper further, he hears three knocks at his door—it’s his mother. Jasper quickly runs away, and Charlie closes his window and unlocks his door. Ruth walks... (full context)
Fear Theme Icon
Racism and Scapegoating Theme Icon
...this point, Charlie yells for his dad. Wesley comes out of his room, followed by Ruth, and, when he sees what’s going on, he runs outside to protect An. (full context)
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Racism and Scapegoating Theme Icon
Wesley and Ruth walk Charlie back to their house, and Wesley says he’s sorry Charlie had to see... (full context)
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After playing cards for an hour, Wesley, Charlie, and Ruth get up to go to bed. Wesley asks Charlie if he’s all right—Charlie says that... (full context)
Chapter 7
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Appearances and Secrets Theme Icon
...feeling that he already knows what’s inside. He peers inside the car, and sees his mother “grappling and gripping” a man he doesn’t know, with her dress half off. When Ruth... (full context)
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Understanding, Innocence, and Sympathy Theme Icon
As Ruth yells at Charlie, he senses that he doesn’t have to listen to her anymore. Ruth... (full context)
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Escape, Guilt, and Writing Theme Icon
...had been an argument in Eliza’s house. Eliza’s father was drunkenly yelling at Laura. Eliza’s mother was calm and oblivious, as usual, and Eliza was sitting in her room, reading and... (full context)
Fear Theme Icon
Understanding, Innocence, and Sympathy Theme Icon
Escape, Guilt, and Writing Theme Icon
...wrote that she was “full of milky poison.” At dinner, in the presence of her mother and father, she had accused her father of raping her and impregnating her. Amazingly, Laura’s... (full context)
Chapter 8
Fear Theme Icon
Escape, Guilt, and Writing Theme Icon
In the end, Charlie explains, he doesn’t leave Corrigan. However, his mother leaves the night after Charlie discovered her infidelity. Ruth yells at Wesley, rips his manuscript... (full context)
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Understanding, Innocence, and Sympathy Theme Icon
Escape, Guilt, and Writing Theme Icon
It has been two weeks since Ruth left, Charlie reports. She has gone to live with her family, who provide her with... (full context)
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Escape, Guilt, and Writing Theme Icon
Wesley takes care of Charlie without Ruth’s help. In Ruth’s absence, he’s grown out his beard, and Charlie notes that he looks... (full context)
Fear Theme Icon
Escape, Guilt, and Writing Theme Icon
...weeks later, when her father is out of the house for work, she gives her mother Laura’s letter and tells her that Laura’s “trouble” was real. Instead of telling her mother... (full context)