Little Fires Everywhere

by

Celeste Ng

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Mr. Richardson / Bill Character Analysis

Mrs. Richardson’s husband and the Richardson children’s father. He and his wife met in college, and, though he was not from Ohio, he was easily convinced to move to his wife’s hometown, Shaker Heights. He is often on the fringes of his family’s day-to-day life, though he has a tender relationship with Izzy; he is a defense attorney who works in the city. He agrees to assist the McCulloughs in their legal case against Bebe Chow, but eventually becomes skeptical of their claim to May Ling and hyperaware of the blurred lines between right and wrong when it comes to the case and to parenting in general.

Mr. Richardson / Bill Quotes in Little Fires Everywhere

The Little Fires Everywhere quotes below are all either spoken by Mr. Richardson / Bill or refer to Mr. Richardson / Bill. 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:
Order vs. Disruption Theme Icon
). Note: all page numbers and citation info for the quotes below refer to the Penguin Books edition of Little Fires Everywhere published in 2017.
Chapter 16 Quotes

It came, over and over, down to this: What made someone a mother? Was it biology alone, or was it love?

Page Number: 258
Explanation and Analysis:

For [Mrs. Richardson] it was simple: Bebe Chow had been a poor mother; Linda McCullough had been a good one. One had followed the rules, and one had not. But the problem with rules, [Mr. Richardson] reflected, was that they implied a right way and a wrong way to do things. When, in fact, most of the time there were simply ways, none of them quite wrong or quite right, and nothing to tell you for sure which side of the line you stood on.

Page Number: 269
Explanation and Analysis:
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Mr. Richardson / Bill Character Timeline in Little Fires Everywhere

The timeline below shows where the character Mr. Richardson / Bill appears in Little Fires Everywhere. The colored dots and icons indicate which themes are associated with that appearance.
Chapter 1
Order vs. Disruption Theme Icon
Mothers and Daughters Theme Icon
...Meanwhile everyone has seemingly forgotten about the sudden departure of Mia and Pearl Warren. As Mr. Richardson approaches in his BMW, Trip predicts that their parents will institutionalize Izzy when they find... (full context)
Chapter 2
Order vs. Disruption Theme Icon
Mothers and Daughters Theme Icon
Identity: Heritage, Assimilation, and Transience Theme Icon
...have just moved into the Richardsons’ “little” rental property on Winslow Road. Mrs. Richardson and Mr. Richardson were aware when the two of them moved in that Mia was an unmarried single... (full context)
Order vs. Disruption Theme Icon
Altruism and Manipulation Theme Icon
Mothers and Daughters Theme Icon
Identity: Heritage, Assimilation, and Transience Theme Icon
...her get on her feet as a young professional, and finally to help her and Mr. Richardson to put a down payment on their own home. (full context)
Chapter 3
Order vs. Disruption Theme Icon
Altruism and Manipulation Theme Icon
Identity: Heritage, Assimilation, and Transience Theme Icon
...to be “arranged in a tableau for her enjoyment.” Mrs. Richardson bakes in the kitchen, Mr. Richardson is outside grilling, and the children are lounging on the giant sectional in the living... (full context)
Chapter 7
Order vs. Disruption Theme Icon
Altruism and Manipulation Theme Icon
Mothers and Daughters Theme Icon
...Pearl is particularly upset to have her mother hovering over her burgeoning flirtation with Trip. Mr. Richardson finds the arrangement “awkward” as well, though he talks to Mia about how he got... (full context)
Chapter 9
Order vs. Disruption Theme Icon
Altruism and Manipulation Theme Icon
Mothers and Daughters Theme Icon
...reflects on the reasons for her difficult relationship with her youngest daughter. Mrs. Richardson told Mr. Richardson when they married that she wanted to have a large family, and he agreed. After... (full context)
Chapter 10
Order vs. Disruption Theme Icon
Mothers and Daughters Theme Icon
Identity: Heritage, Assimilation, and Transience Theme Icon
The Richardsons, gathered together for dinner, discuss the case. Mr. Richardson has agreed to work as the McCulloughs’ representation, telling his family that “they just want... (full context)
Chapter 11
Order vs. Disruption Theme Icon
Mothers and Daughters Theme Icon
Identity: Heritage, Assimilation, and Transience Theme Icon
...and forth about the case. Mrs. Richardson and Lexie side with the McCulloughs, as does Mr. Richardson , while Moody and Izzy, inspired by Pearl and Mia, take Bebe’s side. Lexie and... (full context)
Chapter 16
Order vs. Disruption Theme Icon
Altruism and Manipulation Theme Icon
Mothers and Daughters Theme Icon
Identity: Heritage, Assimilation, and Transience Theme Icon
The hearing begins, and Mr. Richardson and Ed Lim, in telling the “slow, painfully intimate story” of Bebe’s abandonment of May... (full context)
Order vs. Disruption Theme Icon
Altruism and Manipulation Theme Icon
Mothers and Daughters Theme Icon
Identity: Heritage, Assimilation, and Transience Theme Icon
...leaving May Ling as “tucking her daughter onto a safe ledge while she herself plummeted.” Mr. Richardson suggests May Ling would really be better off in the care of the McCulloughs, who... (full context)
Order vs. Disruption Theme Icon
Altruism and Manipulation Theme Icon
Mothers and Daughters Theme Icon
Identity: Heritage, Assimilation, and Transience Theme Icon
...only requirement is that we love Mirabelle.” In the wake of this line of questioning Mr. Richardson , for the first time, feels doubt about the morality of the case, and whether... (full context)
Order vs. Disruption Theme Icon
Altruism and Manipulation Theme Icon
Mothers and Daughters Theme Icon
Identity: Heritage, Assimilation, and Transience Theme Icon
After dinner, Mr. Richardson continues to question the morality of the case out loud to his wife. Mrs. Richardson... (full context)
Chapter 17
Order vs. Disruption Theme Icon
Two weeks after the hearing, “it [is] clear that Mr. Richardson [is] not the only conflicted party.” The judge has still not made a decision in... (full context)
Chapter 18
Order vs. Disruption Theme Icon
Altruism and Manipulation Theme Icon
Mothers and Daughters Theme Icon
Identity: Heritage, Assimilation, and Transience Theme Icon
...back in her office after her lunch with Elizabeth, Mrs. Richardson receives a call from Mr. Richardson . He informs her that the judge has made a decision, and the McCulloughs have... (full context)
Chapter 19
Order vs. Disruption Theme Icon
Altruism and Manipulation Theme Icon
Mothers and Daughters Theme Icon
Identity: Heritage, Assimilation, and Transience Theme Icon
By nine the next morning, the Richardson house has nearly emptied out. Mr. Richardson has gone to the office, Lexie is at Serena’s, Trip has gone to play basketball,... (full context)
Chapter 20
Order vs. Disruption Theme Icon
Altruism and Manipulation Theme Icon
Mothers and Daughters Theme Icon
Identity: Heritage, Assimilation, and Transience Theme Icon
...the Richardson house [is] steaming gently.” Mrs. Richardson pulls her bathrobe tight and looks around. Mr. Richardson is in conversation with the chief of the fire department as well as two policemen,... (full context)
Order vs. Disruption Theme Icon
Altruism and Manipulation Theme Icon
Mothers and Daughters Theme Icon
Identity: Heritage, Assimilation, and Transience Theme Icon
...hard shell.” Moody’s photo features origami birds made from the torn pages of Pearl’s notebook. Mr. Richardson ’s features his metal collar stays, shirt accessories which define and support a dress shirt... (full context)
Order vs. Disruption Theme Icon
Altruism and Manipulation Theme Icon
Mothers and Daughters Theme Icon
Identity: Heritage, Assimilation, and Transience Theme Icon
Later that afternoon, Mr. Richardson checks his voicemail to find a message from the distraught McCulloughs, in which they tell... (full context)