Life After Life

Life After Life

by

Kate Atkinson

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Bridget Character Analysis

The maid of the Todd household. Bridget largely takes care of the household chores, and when Mrs. Glover leaves, also cooks for the family. In one set of chapters, Bridget goes to London to celebrate the armistice following World War II, and she and her fiancé, Clarence, contract the flu. Bridget then gives eight-year-old Ursula the flu, causing her death. In subsequent lives, Ursula attempts to prevent Bridget from returning to the house, and when that fails, from going to the celebrations at all—even resorting to pushing her down the stairs.

Bridget Quotes in Life After Life

The Life After Life quotes below are all either spoken by Bridget or refer to Bridget. 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:
Life, Reincarnation, and Alternate Possibilities Theme Icon
). Note: all page numbers and citation info for the quotes below refer to the Hachette edition of Life After Life published in 2013.
Four Seasons... , 11 Feb 1910 Quotes

“God surely wanted this baby back,” Bridget said when she came in later that morning with a cup of steaming beef tea.

“We have been tested,” Sylvie said, “and found not wanting.”

“This time,” Bridget said.

Related Characters: Sylvie Todd (speaker), Bridget (speaker), Ursula Todd, Dr. Fellowes
Page Number: 22
Explanation and Analysis:
Armistice (V), 11 Nov 1918 Quotes

Bridget went flying, toppling down the stairs in a great flurry of arms and legs. Ursula only just managed to stop herself from following in her wake.

Practice makes perfect.

Related Characters: Ursula Todd, Sylvie Todd, Bridget
Page Number: 124
Explanation and Analysis:
Like a Fox in a Hole, Sep 1923 Quotes

“There are some Buddhist philosophers (a branch referred to as Zen) who say that sometimes a bad thing happens to prevent a worse thing happening,” Dr. Kellet said. “But, of course, there are some situations where it’s impossible to imagine anything worse.”

Related Characters: Dr. Kellet (speaker), Ursula Todd, Sylvie Todd, Bridget, Adolf Hitler
Page Number: 160
Explanation and Analysis:
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Bridget Character Timeline in Life After Life

The timeline below shows where the character Bridget appears in Life After Life. The colored dots and icons indicate which themes are associated with that appearance.
Snow (I), 11 February 1910
Life, Reincarnation, and Alternate Possibilities Theme Icon
Sylvie, Ursula’s mother, moans that Dr. Fellowes should have been with her for the birth. Bridget, Sylvie’s maid, tells her that Dr. Fellowes is likely stuck in the snow; Sylvie and... (full context)
Life, Reincarnation, and Alternate Possibilities Theme Icon
Bridget informs Sylvie that the baby is blue, strangled by her own umbilical cord. Sylvie asks... (full context)
Snow (II), 11 February 1910
Life, Reincarnation, and Alternate Possibilities Theme Icon
Dr. Fellowes orders Bridget to fetch hot water and towels before handing Ursula over to Sylvie. He tells Sylvie... (full context)
Gender Roles and Expectations Theme Icon
Bridget, only fourteen, swaddles Ursula. Sylvie thinks about her own life at fourteen, ten years prior.... (full context)
Four Seasons Fill the Measure of the Year, 11 February 1910
Life, Reincarnation, and Alternate Possibilities Theme Icon
Fate vs. Choice Theme Icon
Later, Bridget brings in a cup of tea and says that God wanted Ursula back. Sylvie comments... (full context)
Four Seasons Fill the Measure of the Year, June 1914
Gender Roles and Expectations Theme Icon
...the month to vacation by the beach. Hugh stays with them for the first week; Bridget remains with them for the remaining three. (full context)
Gender Roles and Expectations Theme Icon
One day at the beach, the children return from fishing while Sylvie and Bridget lay on the beach, reading. Maurice comes sprinting back and throws himself down into the... (full context)
Snow (III), 11 February 1910
Life, Reincarnation, and Alternate Possibilities Theme Icon
Fate vs. Choice Theme Icon
Bridget takes away Sylvie’s breakfast tray, but Sylvie asks her to leave the snowdrop. Sylvie cradles... (full context)
War (I), July 1914
Gender Roles and Expectations Theme Icon
A few days later, Sylvie, Bridget, and the children go to watch the harvest being brought in, though Maurice had disappeared... (full context)
Gender Roles and Expectations Theme Icon
As Sylvie and Bridget walk, they see a field of horses belonging to George Glover—Mrs. Glover’s son. Sylvie feeds... (full context)
War (I), January 1915
War and Death Theme Icon
Gender Roles and Expectations Theme Icon
...the women, as if they had already won a great victory. Sylvie, Mrs. Glover, and Bridget spend a good deal of their time knitting for their men—Sylvie for Hugh, Mrs. Glover... (full context)
War and Death Theme Icon
Gender Roles and Expectations Theme Icon
Bridget interrupts Sylvie’s knitting to announce that bombs have been dropped on Norfolk, before shouting to... (full context)
Family and Love Theme Icon
Ursula hears Bridget’s call to tea but ignores her, since she is in the middle of knitting with... (full context)
Life, Reincarnation, and Alternate Possibilities Theme Icon
Fate vs. Choice Theme Icon
...window and sees Queen Solange stuck between two of the attic roofs. Continuing to ignore Bridget’s calls, she climbs out onto the roof and immediately slips on the ice covering the... (full context)
Snow (IV), 11 February 1910
Life, Reincarnation, and Alternate Possibilities Theme Icon
Fate vs. Choice Theme Icon
...Fox Corner, and wonders why they would name the house after such a “wily beast.” Bridget leads him upstairs to a guest room and says goodnight. He wishes he were at... (full context)
War (II), 20 January 1915
Life, Reincarnation, and Alternate Possibilities Theme Icon
Fate vs. Choice Theme Icon
Bridget comes into the nursery with Teddy, telling Ursula to get down from the window. Ursula... (full context)
War and Death Theme Icon
...back door. Sylvie hopes it isn’t bad news, but it is: Sam Wellington is dead. Bridget screams in horror from the kitchen. That night, Ursula and Pamela place Queen Solange and... (full context)
Armistice (I), June 1918
War and Death Theme Icon
Gender Roles and Expectations Theme Icon
Three years later, it is Teddy’s fourth birthday, and Sylvie has prepared a surprise party. Bridget, Pamela, Ursula, and Teddy go to deliver jam to Mrs. Dodds while Sylvie gets the... (full context)
Armistice (I), 11 November 1918
Family and Love Theme Icon
War and Death Theme Icon
The kids return that day as Mrs. Glover, Bridget, and Sylvie are toasting the peace—though none of them are in a particularly jubilant mood.... (full context)
Life, Reincarnation, and Alternate Possibilities Theme Icon
Bridget and Clarence leave to go to London to take part in the victory celebrations. They... (full context)
Fate vs. Choice Theme Icon
The next morning, Ursula is burning hot and aching all over; Bridget is also sick. Ursula’s breathing is harsh and raspy, and she spits out the beef... (full context)
Armistice (II), 12 November 1918
Life, Reincarnation, and Alternate Possibilities Theme Icon
Ursula is woken by Bridget and Clarence’s noisy return from London. Ursula’s first instinct is to wake Pamela and to... (full context)
Gender Roles and Expectations Theme Icon
In the morning, Bridget is very sick. Sylvie goes to call Dr. Fellowes and tells Mrs. Glover to watch... (full context)
Family and Love Theme Icon
...the promise of cake. Ursula grows more and more panicked searching for him, until only Bridget’s room is unexplored. (full context)
Family and Love Theme Icon
Ursula, despite all instinct, enters Bridget’s room and finds Teddy on Bridget’s bed. He says that he thought his airplane might... (full context)
Life, Reincarnation, and Alternate Possibilities Theme Icon
Fate vs. Choice Theme Icon
At that moment, Sylvie and Dr. Fellowes come into Bridget’s room and pull the children into the hall. She frantically tells them to go to... (full context)
Armistice (III), 11 November 1918
Life, Reincarnation, and Alternate Possibilities Theme Icon
Fate vs. Choice Theme Icon
Ursula (pretending to be Sylvie) writes a note to Bridget telling her that a gang of robbers is in the village, and that she has... (full context)
Fate vs. Choice Theme Icon
...but Ursula denies having written it. Sylvie tells her that Pamela has gone to fetch Bridget back from Mrs. Dodds’s house. Ursula runs out in a panic until she comes along... (full context)
Snow (VII), 11 February 1910
Fate vs. Choice Theme Icon
Bridget and Mrs. Glover discuss Ursula’s birth and wonder whether Sylvie will stop at three children.... (full context)
Armistice (IV), 11 November 1918
Gender Roles and Expectations Theme Icon
Sylvie greets Clarence at the back door and tells him that Bridget has had a bit of an accident. Bridget says that she felt “little hands” shoving... (full context)
Snow (VIII), 11 February 1910
Life, Reincarnation, and Alternate Possibilities Theme Icon
Fate vs. Choice Theme Icon
...Maurice and Pamela that their younger sister’s name is “Ursula” as she gives them breakfast. Bridget asks if Sylvie liked the snowdrop flower. (full context)
Armistice (V), 11 November 1918
Life, Reincarnation, and Alternate Possibilities Theme Icon
Fate vs. Choice Theme Icon
...before they say it or that a mundane incident will occur just before it happens. Bridget tells her that she has “the sixth sense.” (full context)
Life, Reincarnation, and Alternate Possibilities Theme Icon
Bridget puts on her hat for the victory celebrations and stands at the top of the... (full context)
Life, Reincarnation, and Alternate Possibilities Theme Icon
Fate vs. Choice Theme Icon
Dr. Fellowes declares Bridget’s arm broken. Bridget says that someone pushed her, and Sylvie interrogates the children. Ursula says... (full context)
Snow (IX), 11 February 1910
Life, Reincarnation, and Alternate Possibilities Theme Icon
Fate vs. Choice Theme Icon
Sylvie urgently knocks on Bridget’s door, announcing that the baby is coming early. Bridget scrambles to help as Sylvie says... (full context)
Like a Fox in a Hole, September 1923
Life, Reincarnation, and Alternate Possibilities Theme Icon
...flashes backward three years. Ten-year-old Ursula had been introduced to Dr. Kellet after she pushed Bridget down the stairs. At their first meeting, Dr. Kellet asks Ursula if she’s heard about... (full context)
Fate vs. Choice Theme Icon
...this problem to result in her killing servants, however. Ursula tells him she was saving Bridget—or at least sacrificing her. Dr. Kellet responds that fate isn’t in her hands; that that... (full context)
A Lovely Day Tomorrow (II), April 1940
Gender Roles and Expectations Theme Icon
...without it, as the daughter of a late bankrupt artist. The tension is broken with Bridget bringing in a roast duck for dinner. (full context)
A Long Hard War, October 1940 (II)
Family and Love Theme Icon
...and Izzie have little conversation with Sylvie, who can’t seem to sit down. Ursula and Bridget clear out Hugh’s closet, and Ursula hugs one of his suits close to her, trying... (full context)
The End of the Beginning
Family and Love Theme Icon
Gender Roles and Expectations Theme Icon
...him over and leaves Fox Corner. No one questions the sudden appearance of this child; Bridget and Mrs. Glover are sworn to secrecy. Sylvie and Hugh name him Roland. (full context)
Fate vs. Choice Theme Icon
...the beach. Roland is sent to scour the beach for decorative pebbles, and Sylvie and Bridget are further along the beach. As Ursula builds the castles, she feels a slight fear,... (full context)
Life, Reincarnation, and Alternate Possibilities Theme Icon
Time jumps forward again. Ursula addresses Bridget, chopping onions in the kitchen. She tells her that she was just in the sweet... (full context)