The Wanderer

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Brian Character Analysis

Brian, cousin to Sophie and Cody and son of Stew, is in many ways the polar opposite of Cody’s personality. Whereas Cody is laid-back and not very serious most of the time, Brian is always meticulously organized, obsessed with order, and almost grimly serious. Brian constantly checks his watch, makes lists of the crewmembers’ duties, and barks orders at Sophie and Cody. It’s very apparent that Brian is highly intelligent, but he lacks interpersonal skills and is very guarded about displaying his feelings. After the crewmembers aboard The Wanderer encounter the nearly fatal wave at sea, however, Brian begins to lighten up. He even surprises Cody by making a joke out of the wave. While Brian is a relatively static character compared to Sophie and Cody—who go through more substantial changes—Brian lets go of some of his seriousness, and begins to relate to Sophie and Cody more by the end of the book.

Brian Quotes in The Wanderer

The The Wanderer quotes below are all either spoken by Brian or refer to Brian. 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:
The Passage of Time  Theme Icon
). Note: all page and citation info for the quotes below refers to the HarperCollins edition of The Wanderer published in 2011.
II. Shakedown Quotes

Sophie talks about my aunt and uncle as if they are her real parents, even though they are only her adopted parents and she’s only been with them three years. Brian says Sophie lives in a dream world, but I think it’s kind of neat that she does that. At least she isn’t sitting around moping about being an orphan.

Related Characters: Cody (speaker), Sophie, Brian
Page Number: 23-24
Explanation and Analysis:

Written in his first journal entry, Cody here tells us something important that Sophie has left out of her journal entries so far—the parents she’s been telling us about are actually her adoptive parents. As we find out later in the book, Sophie has largely blocked out all of her memories of her biological parents from her conscious mind, as if something deep inside of her psyche wants to erase her past and start life over from scratch. While Brian thinks that the world Sophie has invented for herself is too dreamlike and irrational, Cody seems to be constantly fascinated by it.

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Brian Character Timeline in The Wanderer

The timeline below shows where the character Brian appears in The Wanderer. The colored dots and icons indicate which themes are associated with that appearance.
I. Preparations
Men and Women Theme Icon
...Sophie’s desire to join them, arguing that she knows more about boats than her two cousins—Brian and Cody—combined. (full context)
Men and Women Theme Icon
Family and Personal Identity Theme Icon
...their boat, “The Wanderer.” She describes her Uncle Stew as a worrywart, and his son Brian as a “photocopy” of him, the two both placing a lot of value in being... (full context)
II. Shakedown
Dreaming vs. The Real World Theme Icon
Family and Personal Identity Theme Icon
...but Sophie talks about them as if they were her real parents. He adds that Brian thinks Sophie lives in a dream world. (full context)
The Passage of Time  Theme Icon
Dreaming vs. The Real World Theme Icon
...Wildlife. Another journal entry from Sophie comes next, and she says that she, Cody, and Brian took the dinghy to land after anchoring The Wandererin the harbor at Block Island. She... (full context)
Dreaming vs. The Real World Theme Icon
Family and Personal Identity Theme Icon
8. The Dolt and the Orphan. Cody then writes about how he, Brian, and Sophie were walking along the island they visited with the dinghy, and how Brian... (full context)
Men and Women Theme Icon
...up high in the bosun’s chair (a sling which lifts up to the mast) after Brian refused, as he got nausea just from the sight of the tall spire of the... (full context)
Family and Personal Identity Theme Icon
The Mysteries of Life and Death Theme Icon
...Block Island and is headed for Martha’s Vineyard. Cody, she adds, annoys his father (Mo), Brian, and Uncle Stew by never saying any of the sailing terminology correctly. She says that... (full context)
The Passage of Time  Theme Icon
Dreaming vs. The Real World Theme Icon
Family and Personal Identity Theme Icon
11. Juggling. Sophie writes another entry, and says that Cody is still getting on Mo, Brian, and Stew’s nerves by refusing to use the proper sailing terminology. Brian tries to teach... (full context)
Family and Personal Identity Theme Icon
12. Blah-blah-blah.Cody says that it’s been a stupid day. Brian was “blah-blah-blahing about points of sail”like a know-it-all. Further, Brian asked Cody if he liked... (full context)
Dreaming vs. The Real World Theme Icon
Family and Personal Identity Theme Icon
...his mother gave him an apple pie because she was happy that he was alive. Brian doubts that Sophie is telling the truth, because he thinks there’s no way she’s ever... (full context)
III. The Island
21. The Baptism. In Sophie’s next journal entry, she describes how she, Cody, and Brian all went to a boat-building shop owned by a man who specializes in using fiberglass.... (full context)
IV. Under Way
Family and Personal Identity Theme Icon
...and that Mo was actually enthusiastic about teaching. He also says that it’s nice that Brian and Stew, the two know-it-alls, don’t know the radio code, so it’s something everyone’s learning... (full context)
The Passage of Time  Theme Icon
Dreaming vs. The Real World Theme Icon
.... . makes everything look like a horror movie.” He then translates his,Mo’s, Sophie’s, and Brian’s names into radio code. (full context)
Family and Personal Identity Theme Icon
...goes through) on one side of a sail had all popped, and Uncle Stew and Brian were looking for someone to blame. Naturally, they both pointed their fingers at Cody. When... (full context)
Men and Women Theme Icon
...she was helping to repair the sail by sewing the ripped grommet holes back together, Brian tauntingly proclaimed: “It’s a good thing we have a girl aboard so she can sew... (full context)
Dreaming vs. The Real World Theme Icon
The Mysteries of Life and Death Theme Icon
After Sophie finishes her story, Brian asks why Bompie, in story after story, keeps going in the water if he always... (full context)
Dreaming vs. The Real World Theme Icon
...father’s been bickering at him, and because of other chaos aboard the ship—Uncle Stew and Brian arguing, things crashing on his head, etc. Cody says that, whenever he does finally get... (full context)
V. Wind and Waves
Men and Women Theme Icon
...to help fix one of the sails instead of her, she “threw a little fit.” Brian called her selfish, which angered Sophie, and so she pushed Brian, nearly knocking him overboard,... (full context)
Family and Personal Identity Theme Icon
The Mysteries of Life and Death Theme Icon
...she was at the helm, she turned and saw Uncle Stew with his arm around Brian, and Uncle Mo with his arm around Cody, and then Uncle Dock holding the rail,... (full context)
The Passage of Time  Theme Icon
Dreaming vs. The Real World Theme Icon
The Mysteries of Life and Death Theme Icon
...and she thought for a second that they might be broken. She sees that Mo, Brian, and Stew are also below deck; Brian lets her know that he’s seen Cody and... (full context)
The Passage of Time  Theme Icon
Dreaming vs. The Real World Theme Icon
Family and Personal Identity Theme Icon
...writes that The Wanderer has sails again (in Wet), Sophie writes an entry saying that Brian and Uncle Stew have been using the sextant for navigation, since the GPS is broken.... (full context)
VI. Land
Dreaming vs. The Real World Theme Icon
Family and Personal Identity Theme Icon
...saying that everyone is on a ferry crossing the Irish Sea towards Wales. He says Brian asked Sophie if she thought that Bompie would recognize everyone or not—she says “Of course,”... (full context)
Dreaming vs. The Real World Theme Icon
Family and Personal Identity Theme Icon
...stopped at an Inn in Wales. While everyone was waiting for Sophie downstairs before dinner, Brian demanded that Dock tell everyone what happened to Sophie’s parents. Uncle Stew wants to know,... (full context)
The Passage of Time  Theme Icon
Dreaming vs. The Real World Theme Icon
Family and Personal Identity Theme Icon
The Mysteries of Life and Death Theme Icon
...says, and they explain that they feel sentimental about being where their father was born. Brian whispers to Cody, saying that he still wonders how Sophie knows Bompie’sstories—did she make them... (full context)
The Passage of Time  Theme Icon
Dreaming vs. The Real World Theme Icon
Family and Personal Identity Theme Icon
...away at camp. He says the same thing to Mo and Stew. When Cody and Brian step forward, Bompie identifies them as Mo and Stew; when Sophie steps forward, Bompie thinks... (full context)
Family and Personal Identity Theme Icon
...him sitting in bed, eating pie; one for Stew of him using a sextant with Brian; one for Brian of him taking up a list; a watercolor for Uncle Dock of... (full context)
Family and Personal Identity Theme Icon
...in art classes at night. He concludes by saying that next week he, Sophie, and Brian are going to get together at Sophie’s place in Kentucky and explore the Ohio river.... (full context)
The Passage of Time  Theme Icon
Dreaming vs. The Real World Theme Icon
Family and Personal Identity Theme Icon
The Mysteries of Life and Death Theme Icon
...last journal entry, Sophie says that she’s happy to be home, and that Cody and Brian are staying with her for a couple of weeks. She says that her “now-parents” are... (full context)