I’ll Give You the Sun

by

Jandy Nelson

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A high school boy who often bullies Noah despite his friendship with—and attraction to—Noah’s twin sister, Jude. Zephyr eventually takes Jude’s virginity when she is only fourteen, leading to years of stony silence between the two of them. However, Zephyr proves instrumental in helping Jude to rescue Noah at a crucial moment two years later, when Noah is about to drunkenly jump from the steepest cliff in their town, possibly to his death.

Zephyr Quotes in I’ll Give You the Sun

The I’ll Give You the Sun quotes below are all either spoken by Zephyr or refer to Zephyr. 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 2 Quotes

That’s when he started telling me I could say no and that’s when I didn’t. Then his whole body was pressing me into the hot sand, burying me in it. I kept thinking, it’s okay, I can handle this. I can. It’s okay, okay, okay. But it wasn’t and I couldn’t.

I didn’t know you could get buried in your own silence. And then it was over. And then everything was.

There’s more, but I’m not going to get into it now. Just know: I cut off three feet of blond hair and swore away boys forever be cause after this happened with Zephyr, my mother died. Right after. It was me. I brought the bad luck to us.

This boycott isn’t whimsy. To me, boys don’t smell like soap or shampoo or cut grass or sweat from soccer practice or suntan lotion or the ocean from hours spent in the green curl of a wave anymore, they smell like death.

Related Characters: Jude Sweetwine (speaker), Dianna Sweetwine / Mom, Zephyr
Page Number: 47-48
Explanation and Analysis:
Get the entire I’ll Give You the Sun LitChart as a printable PDF.
I’ll Give You the Sun PDF

Zephyr Character Timeline in I’ll Give You the Sun

The timeline below shows where the character Zephyr appears in I’ll Give You the Sun. The colored dots and icons indicate which themes are associated with that appearance.
Chapter 1
Art, Self-Expression, and Communication Theme Icon
Love, Sex, and Fear Theme Icon
One day after school, 13-year-old Noah is being tormented by Zephyr and Fry, two neighborhood high-school bullies. The sophomores chase Noah into the woods, place him... (full context)
Identity and Codependency  Theme Icon
Art, Self-Expression, and Communication Theme Icon
Fry begins ripping up some of Noah’s drawings, but Zephyr tells him to stop. Noah knows that Zephyr is showing him mercy because Zephyr has... (full context)
Art, Self-Expression, and Communication Theme Icon
Love, Sex, and Fear Theme Icon
Fry drops Noah’s sketchpad, but Zephyr then orders Fry to pick up Noah’s legs—Noah knows they are going to throw him... (full context)
Art, Self-Expression, and Communication Theme Icon
Zephyr orders Fry to leave Noah, and the two of them grab their surfboards and head... (full context)
Chapter 2
Grief and Guilt Theme Icon
Love, Sex, and Fear Theme Icon
...happened the last time she did—years ago, she lost her virginity on the beach to Zephyr, a guy four years older than her. Jude was ambivalent about consenting to the act,... (full context)
Chapter 3
Identity and Codependency  Theme Icon
Art, Self-Expression, and Communication Theme Icon
Love, Sex, and Fear Theme Icon
...up on the roof, uses Dad’s binoculars to scan the neighborhood and make sure that Zephyr and Fry aren’t waiting nearby to torment him as soon as he leaves the house.... (full context)
Love, Sex, and Fear Theme Icon
At that moment, Zephyr and Fry wander through the woods, and begin teasing Brian and Noah for acting “romantic”... (full context)
Chapter 5
Identity and Codependency  Theme Icon
Grief and Guilt Theme Icon
Love, Sex, and Fear Theme Icon
...Brian after all. Confused, he asks her who Spaceboy is, and she confesses that it’s Zephyr she’s been chatting with. (full context)
Chapter 6
Identity and Codependency  Theme Icon
Grief and Guilt Theme Icon
Love, Sex, and Fear Theme Icon
...mother died. She wasn’t home when the news came—she was off at the beach with Zephyr. When she did get home at last and Benjamin told her the news, her first... (full context)
Identity and Codependency  Theme Icon
Grief and Guilt Theme Icon
...picnics. She looks around for someone she knows—the only people she spots are members of Zephyr’s crew, and though she’s nervous to approach them without the armor of her hoodie and... (full context)
Grief and Guilt Theme Icon
Love, Sex, and Fear Theme Icon
As Jude turns around and faces Zephyr for the first time in years, she is reminded of the afternoon of Dianna’s death—the... (full context)
Identity and Codependency  Theme Icon
Grief and Guilt Theme Icon
Jude asks if Noah went home, but Zephyr points up to a bluff that is at least twice the height even of Dead... (full context)
Grief and Guilt Theme Icon
Love, Sex, and Fear Theme Icon
As they climb the bluff, Zephyr reminds Jude of a favor she asked him long ago—to look out for Noah. Jude... (full context)
Identity and Codependency  Theme Icon
Grief and Guilt Theme Icon
...odd chanting: a group of kids are saying Sweetwine over and over again. Jude and Zephyr push through the crowd and see Noah standing ten feet from the cliff’s edge, an... (full context)
Art, Self-Expression, and Communication Theme Icon
Magic and the Supernatural  Theme Icon
Love, Sex, and Fear Theme Icon
...worried that a sexual experience with Oscar will remind her of her terrible one with Zephyr—but when she opens her eyes and looks into his face, she feels only love and... (full context)