I’ll Give You the Sun

by

Jandy Nelson

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Grandma Sweetwine, Benjamin’s eccentric mother, is already dead at the start of the novel, but when Dianna purports to be able to communicate with the woman’s ghost, Jude and Noah’s beliefs in the afterlife and the supernatural are heightened. After Dianna’s death, Jude turns to Grandma Sweetwine’s bible of aphorisms, lore, and superstition to navigate the world—and begins talking herself with the ghost of her grandmother, who follows her around throughout her days and acts as a kind of conscience. Brash, unconventional, and somewhat needy, Grandma Sweetwine is always there to whisper in Jude’s ear the advice she needs to hear.

Grandma Sweetwine Quotes in I’ll Give You the Sun

The I’ll Give You the Sun quotes below are all either spoken by Grandma Sweetwine or refer to Grandma Sweetwine. 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:
Identity and Codependency  Theme Icon
). Note: all page numbers and citation info for the quotes below refer to the Dial Books edition of I’ll Give You the Sun published in 2014.
Chapter 8 Quotes

Our connection is still so natural, though now, for me, it’s tinged with guilt because of Dad. I turn back to my clay model, start caressing my mother’s shoulder into shape, her upper arm. “It’s like some part of me knew,” I tell him, working the bend of her elbow. “I don’t know what I knew, but I knew I was supposed to be here. You made me feel better too. So much better. I was so locked in.”

“This is what I think,” he says. “I think maybe Dianna, she break your bowls, so you come find a stone carver.”

I look at him. “Yeah,” I say, the back of my neck tingling. “Me too.”

Because who knows? Who knows anything? Who knows who’s pulling the strings? Or what is? Or how? Who knows if destiny is just how you tell yourself the story of your life? Another son might not have heard his mother’s last words as a prophecy but as drug-induced gibberish, forgotten soon after. Another girl might not have told herself a love story about a drawing her brother made. Who knows if Grandma really thought the first daffodils of spring were lucky or if she just wanted to go on walks with me through the woods? Who knows if she even believed in her bible at all or if she just preferred a world where hope and creativity and faith trump reason? Who knows if there are ghosts (sorry, Grandma) or just the living, breathing memories of your loved ones inside you, speaking to you, trying to get your attention by any means necessary? Who knows where the hell Ralph is? (Sorry, Oscar.) No one knows.

So we grapple with the mysteries, each in our own way.

Page Number: 369
Explanation and Analysis:
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I’ll Give You the Sun PDF

Grandma Sweetwine Character Timeline in I’ll Give You the Sun

The timeline below shows where the character Grandma Sweetwine appears in I’ll Give You the Sun. The colored dots and icons indicate which themes are associated with that appearance.
Chapter 1
Identity and Codependency  Theme Icon
Magic and the Supernatural  Theme Icon
...Sweetwine, are gathered around the table. Mom announces that earlier that day, Benjamin’s deceased mother, Grandma Sweetwine, “joined her for a ride in the car” and delivered a message. Noah and... (full context)
Grief and Guilt Theme Icon
Magic and the Supernatural  Theme Icon
...mother’s story “metaphorically,” but Mom ignores him and launches into a detailed, ethereal tale of Grandma Sweetwine’s visitation. Noah himself wonders if Mom is just making the story up to make... (full context)
Art, Self-Expression, and Communication Theme Icon
Magic and the Supernatural  Theme Icon
...parents is turning the air around them all black. Jude speaks up and asks what Grandma Sweetwine’s message was after all. Mom animatedly reveals that as she was driving past CSA,... (full context)
Identity and Codependency  Theme Icon
Art, Self-Expression, and Communication Theme Icon
Magic and the Supernatural  Theme Icon
...women”—sand sculptures she’s been making down on the beach for some time—and suggests that maybe Grandma Sweetwine saw Jude’s “art” and recognized her talent. (full context)
Identity and Codependency  Theme Icon
Art, Self-Expression, and Communication Theme Icon
Magic and the Supernatural  Theme Icon
...hers. As Noah sketches a group of nearby boys, he overhears Mom telling Jude that Grandma Sweetwine willed her “bible”—an encyclopedia of odd beliefs—to Jude. Jude is elated. (full context)
Identity and Codependency  Theme Icon
Grief and Guilt Theme Icon
Magic and the Supernatural  Theme Icon
As Mom and Jude continue discussing Grandma Sweetwine and ghosts, Mom wonders aloud about what kind of ghost she would be. She... (full context)
Identity and Codependency  Theme Icon
Art, Self-Expression, and Communication Theme Icon
...that she is jealous of the attention he’s getting from Mom, and recalls that when Grandma Sweetwine was still alive, she warned them that there was enough jealousy between them to... (full context)
Chapter 2
Art, Self-Expression, and Communication Theme Icon
Magic and the Supernatural  Theme Icon
...all morning crawling around in a clover patch looking for a four-leaf clover—she read in Grandma Sweetwine’s “bible” that “a person in possession of a four-leaf clover is able to thwart... (full context)
Art, Self-Expression, and Communication Theme Icon
Grief and Guilt Theme Icon
Magic and the Supernatural  Theme Icon
...the class into a discussion about the role of intentionality in art, as Jude hears Grandma Sweetwine’s voice whispering to her. Mom breaks Jude’s art, but Grandma Sweetwine is the “good... (full context)
Art, Self-Expression, and Communication Theme Icon
Grief and Guilt Theme Icon
Magic and the Supernatural  Theme Icon
Love, Sex, and Fear Theme Icon
...described as “The Rock Star of the Sculpture World.” As she walks, Jude can hear Grandma Sweetwine chastising her for her appearance—Jude wears hoodies and baggy pants as part of her... (full context)
Magic and the Supernatural  Theme Icon
Love, Sex, and Fear Theme Icon
...two scars on his face, and is “wild-looking” and “hot.” Jude recalls a line from Grandma Sweetwine’s bible, which states that “Any marked peculiarity in the face indicates a similar peculiarity... (full context)
Art, Self-Expression, and Communication Theme Icon
Magic and the Supernatural  Theme Icon
Love, Sex, and Fear Theme Icon
...As he points his camera at Jude, she screams out a “No”—she believes, because of Grandma’s bible, that “every picture taken of you reduces your spirit and shortens your life.” Even... (full context)
Art, Self-Expression, and Communication Theme Icon
Soon, Jude is standing in front of the address where Guillermo Garcia’s studio is located. Grandma Sweetwine has disappeared, and Jude is alone. She knocks at the door several times before... (full context)
Identity and Codependency  Theme Icon
Art, Self-Expression, and Communication Theme Icon
Grief and Guilt Theme Icon
Magic and the Supernatural  Theme Icon
...as he seems to hover just above the water’s surface before breaking it. Jude and Grandma Sweetwine agree that Noah, in that moment, looks like one of his own drawings. In... (full context)
Chapter 3
Art, Self-Expression, and Communication Theme Icon
Magic and the Supernatural  Theme Icon
Love, Sex, and Fear Theme Icon
...and Jude asks Noah if he wants to play Ouija board—she has found one in Grandma’s old room. Noah agrees, and Jude leads him to their grandmother’s old room where she... (full context)
Magic and the Supernatural  Theme Icon
Love, Sex, and Fear Theme Icon
Noah smells jasmine on the air, and remembers one of Grandma Sweetwine’s superstitions: that the smell of jasmine makes people tell their secrets. He relays this... (full context)
Chapter 4
Magic and the Supernatural  Theme Icon
Love, Sex, and Fear Theme Icon
...sucks on a lemon, hoping to nip her crush on the English guy in the bud—Grandma’s bible dictates that “nothing curdles love in the heart like lemon on the tongue.” The... (full context)
Identity and Codependency  Theme Icon
Grief and Guilt Theme Icon
...by his. Before leaving her room, Noah urges her to give “that totally lame book”—meaning Grandma’s bible—a rest. Jude wonders if her and Noah’s personalities have “swapped bodies.” (full context)
Art, Self-Expression, and Communication Theme Icon
Grief and Guilt Theme Icon
Magic and the Supernatural  Theme Icon
...runs through the room and into Guillermo’s arms. Black cats are terrible luck according to Grandma Sweetwine’s bible, and Guillermo jokingly tells Jude that she is “totally loca.” (full context)
Grief and Guilt Theme Icon
Magic and the Supernatural  Theme Icon
Love, Sex, and Fear Theme Icon
...her he has a spare orange, and tosses it to her. Jude is baffled—according to Grandma Sweetwine’s bible, “If a boy gives a girl an orange, her love for him will... (full context)
Magic and the Supernatural  Theme Icon
Love, Sex, and Fear Theme Icon
...but Jude rebuffs him again. At the same time, though, she hears the ghost of Grandma Sweetwine urging her to get a piece of her hair into Oscar’s pocket—Jude remembers her... (full context)
Art, Self-Expression, and Communication Theme Icon
Grief and Guilt Theme Icon
Magic and the Supernatural  Theme Icon
Love, Sex, and Fear Theme Icon
...to someone called “Dearest.” The letter is unfinished, and Jude thinks of a piece of Grandma Sweetwine’s wisdom from the bible: “If a man doesn’t give his beloved the letter he... (full context)
Grief and Guilt Theme Icon
Magic and the Supernatural  Theme Icon
Love, Sex, and Fear Theme Icon
...note taped to the door—Be back soon, it says. Jude heads down the hallway, where Grandma Sweetwine’s ghost is waiting for her in the large “mailroom” space. Grandma’s ghost encourages her... (full context)
Art, Self-Expression, and Communication Theme Icon
Magic and the Supernatural  Theme Icon
Love, Sex, and Fear Theme Icon
Grandma and Jude stare together at Guillermo’s wall mural of the entwined lovers, and Jude wonders... (full context)
Magic and the Supernatural  Theme Icon
Love, Sex, and Fear Theme Icon
...sincere, Oscar tells Jude that he’s sorry for her losses—of both her mother and her grandmother. He then reassures Jude that he didn’t hear very much of what she was saying—he... (full context)
Magic and the Supernatural  Theme Icon
Love, Sex, and Fear Theme Icon
...and continue their conversation. As they exchange banter and laughter, Jude thinks of one of Grandma’s aphorisms from the bible: “Meeting your soul mate is like walking into a house you’ve... (full context)
Chapter 6
Grief and Guilt Theme Icon
...but she cannot sleep: she keeps thinking of Oscar kissing Brooke, of her mother’s and grandmother’s ghosts, and of Noah. After they ran into one another, Noah haltingly told Jude he’d... (full context)
Chapter 8
Identity and Codependency  Theme Icon
Grief and Guilt Theme Icon
Love, Sex, and Fear Theme Icon
As Jude and Noah make their way home through the woods, Jude realizes that Grandma’s last aphorism from the bible—“A broken heart is an open heart”—was right after all. Noah... (full context)
Art, Self-Expression, and Communication Theme Icon
Magic and the Supernatural  Theme Icon
...Noah and Jude have made an agreement—she is going to stop relying so much on Grandma’s bible, and he is going to stop cliff-diving. Jude plans on making paper flying women... (full context)
Grief and Guilt Theme Icon
Love, Sex, and Fear Theme Icon
...to bring [them] together.” As Jude says these words, she feels both her mother and grandmother’s spirits inside of her. Oscar surrenders and kisses Jude, admitting that he’s crazy about her... (full context)