At Hiruharama

by

Penelope Fitzgerald

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Brinkman Character Analysis

Brinkman is the Tanners’ nearest neighbor, who lives about 10 miles from them. He eats dinner with the Tanners every six months or so; otherwise, they rarely see him. Tanner says that Brinkman often complains about being lonely and not having a wife, which inspires the doctor to call him “a crank.” Tanner, showing his generosity, says he considers Brinkman more of a dreamer. In the story, Brinkman serves mostly as comic relief. He shows up for the biyearly dinner tradition while Kitty is in labor (it’s never fully made clear whether or not Tanner and Kitty care about this dinner tradition themselves). Instead of asking how he can help, or leaving to come back another day, as one might expect him to do, Brinkman instead sits down, begins to smoke, and waits for dinner to be served. Instead of getting annoyed or asking him to leave, as might seem reasonable in the situation, the Tanners instead treat Brinkman as a kind of odd member of the family, content to let him sit on the porch while a grand drama in their lives plays out.

Brinkman Quotes in At Hiruharama

The At Hiruharama quotes below are all either spoken by Brinkman or refer to Brinkman. 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:
Value and Perception Theme Icon
).
At Hiruharama Quotes

“He’s a crank, I dare say.”

“He’s a dreamer,” Tanner replied. “I should term Brinkman a dreamer.”

Related Characters: The Doctor (speaker), Tanner (speaker), Brinkman
Page Number: 410
Explanation and Analysis:

“I think of myself as one of the perpetually welcome.”

Related Characters: Brinkman (speaker), Tanner, Kitty
Page Number: 412
Explanation and Analysis:
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At Hiruharama PDF

Brinkman Character Timeline in At Hiruharama

The timeline below shows where the character Brinkman appears in At Hiruharama. The colored dots and icons indicate which themes are associated with that appearance.
At Hiruharama
Value and Perception Theme Icon
Community Theme Icon
...his wife is “laid up,” and Tanner says their nearest neighbor is a man named Brinkman. Brinkman, Tanner says, often complains about the loneliness of his life. The doctor says that... (full context)
Value and Perception Theme Icon
Community Theme Icon
...someone coming down the road from the opposite direction of Awanui. When their closest neighbor, Brinkman, comes into their house, he continues “with the course of his thoughts, which were more... (full context)
Value and Perception Theme Icon
Community Theme Icon
Brinkman continues to sit at the table and smoke his pipe, thinking about the possibility that... (full context)