A Walk in the Woods

by

Bill Bryson

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Mary Ellen Character Analysis

Mary Ellen is an annoying hiker from Florida who tags along with Bryson and Katz for a few days in the first week of their hike. She exaggerates her hiking skills, talks constantly about useless topics, blows her nose incessantly, and irritates Katz immensely. Bryson wryly notes that despite the romantic promise of solitude in the woods, it’s still possible to get stuck in the company of utterly stupid and banal people.

Mary Ellen Quotes in A Walk in the Woods

The A Walk in the Woods quotes below are all either spoken by Mary Ellen or refer to Mary Ellen . 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:
Isolation, Companionship, and Kindness Theme Icon
). Note: all page numbers and citation info for the quotes below refer to the Anchor edition of A Walk in the Woods published in 2006.
Chapter 4 Quotes

“You're too fat. You should have lost weight before you came out here. Shoulda done some training, ‘cause you could have like a serious, you know, heart thing out here.”

Related Characters: Mary Ellen (speaker), Bill Bryson, Stephen Katz
Page Number: 75
Explanation and Analysis:
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Mary Ellen Character Timeline in A Walk in the Woods

The timeline below shows where the character Mary Ellen appears in A Walk in the Woods. The colored dots and icons indicate which themes are associated with that appearance.
Chapter 4
Isolation, Companionship, and Kindness Theme Icon
On their fourth night, Bryson and Katz befriend a woman named Mary Ellen from Florida who talks incessantly. She monologues about how they overpaid for their gear and... (full context)
Deprivation, Comfort, and Gratitude Theme Icon
Bryson, Katz, and Mary Ellen hike laboriously over Blood Mountain (which is 4,461 feet high) and head toward Neels Gap,... (full context)
Isolation, Companionship, and Kindness Theme Icon
...keep going. He’s also starting to feel fitter. Even Katz looks happy. They learn than Mary Ellen already left them behind, and they feel like the day is just getting better and... (full context)
Chapter 5
Isolation, Companionship, and Kindness Theme Icon
Deprivation, Comfort, and Gratitude Theme Icon
Two days later, Mary Ellen is still tagging along with Bryson and Katz, asking annoying, irrelevant questions about their star... (full context)
Isolation, Companionship, and Kindness Theme Icon
Unexpectedly, Katz feels bad for ditching Mary Ellen . Bryson doesn’t, reasoning that Mary Ellen went into the woods of her own accord... (full context)
Isolation, Companionship, and Kindness Theme Icon
Deprivation, Comfort, and Gratitude Theme Icon
...it’s always tough going. They bump into a fit-looking, middle-aged man and immediately ask about Mary Ellen . It turns out that she camped with the man last night and spent most... (full context)
Isolation, Companionship, and Kindness Theme Icon
Deprivation, Comfort, and Gratitude Theme Icon
...pie for him ever again, and Katz sheepishly nods. Two days later, they learn that Mary Ellen dropped out and left the Trail after overzealously trying to hike 35 miles in two... (full context)