My Family and Other Animals

by

Gerald Durrell

Teachers and parents! Struggling with distance learning? Our Teacher Edition on My Family and Other Animals can help.

Larry Durrell Character Analysis

Larry is Gerry's oldest brother; he's 23 at the start of the novel. He's a writer and brings so many books with him to Corfu that he has to engage local workmen to use a pulley system to get his trunks into his room through the window. Like Mother, Larry is obsessed with looking the part of well-to-do English people. This means that he's often exasperated with or disappointed by his family, as they often do things that, in Larry's mind, shatter this image. Larry has a very strong sense that his way of doing things is the only right way, though he also refuses to take responsibility when his suggestions go south. He often suggests things that Mother in particular finds absurd, such as moving to Corfu in the first place and then moving villas to accommodate friends he invited to visit over the summer. He believes that moving in both cases is an obvious solution to the family's problems and insists that Mother is the strange one for wanting to remain in one place. Larry also takes it upon himself to convince his family members to read "proper" literature, not the mystery novels that the rest of his family enjoys. Larry is one of the most vocal adversaries of Gerry's love of the natural world, mostly because he constantly discovers animals captured in matchboxes. After discovering a scorpion in one, he becomes especially wary of Gerry and of matchboxes and makes sure to wrap his hand in a handkerchief before opening them. He also takes major offense to Gerry's pet birds, especially the Magenpies, as they trash his room and destroy his beloved manuscript.

Larry Durrell Quotes in My Family and Other Animals

The My Family and Other Animals quotes below are all either spoken by Larry Durrell or refer to Larry Durrell. 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:
The Natural World Theme Icon
). Note: all page numbers and citation info for the quotes below refer to the Penguin edition of My Family and Other Animals published in 1956.
Part 1, Chapter 4 Quotes

"He appears to have only one interest," said Larry bitterly, "and that's this awful urge to fill things with animal life. I don't think he ought to be encouraged in that. Life is fraught with danger as it is. I went to light a cigarette only this morning and a damn great bumblebee flew out of the box."

Related Characters: Larry Durrell (speaker), Gerry Durrell, Mother, Leslie Durrell, Margo Durrell
Page Number: 41
Explanation and Analysis:
Quotes explanation long mobile
Part 1: Conversation Quotes

"Don't be ridiculous. Whoever heard of moving into a larger house because you've invited some friends to stay?"

"What's the matter with the idea? It seems a perfectly sensible solution to me; after all, if you say there's no room here, the obvious thing to do is to move."

Related Characters: Larry Durrell (speaker), Mother (speaker), Gerry Durrell, Leslie Durrell, Margo Durrell
Page Number: 77
Explanation and Analysis:
Quotes explanation short mobile
Part 2, Chapter 8 Quotes

"It sounds the most unlikely story."

"Here in Corfu," said Theodore, his eyes twinkling with pride, "anything can happen."

Related Characters: Dr. Theodore Stephanides (speaker), Larry Durrell (speaker)
Page Number: 109
Explanation and Analysis:
Quotes explanation short mobile
Part 2, Chapter 9 Quotes

Since no one had bothered to explain things to him, Roger was under the mistaken impression that the family were being attacked, and that it was his duty to defend them. As Lugaretzia was the only stranger in the room, he came to the logical conclusion that she must be the responsible party, so he bit her in the ankle.

Related Characters: Gerry Durrell (speaker), Larry Durrell, Roger, Lugaretzia
Page Number: 114
Explanation and Analysis:
Quotes explanation short mobile
Part 2, Chapter 11 Quotes

A pot of black paint was produced and laboriously, in rather trickly capitals, I traced her name along the side: THE BOOTLE-BUMTRINKET. There it was; not only an unusual name, but an aristocratically hyphenated one as well. In order to ease Mother's mind I had to promise that I would refer to the boat only as the Bootle in conversation with strangers.

Related Characters: Gerry Durrell (speaker), Larry Durrell, Mother, Leslie Durrell
Related Symbols: The Bootle-Bumtrinket
Page Number: 143
Explanation and Analysis:
Quotes explanation short mobile
Part 3, Chapter 15 Quotes

The Magenpies, obviously suspecting Larry of being a dope smuggler, had fought valiantly with the tin of bicarbonate of soda, and had scattered its contents along a line of books, so that they looked like a snow-covered mountain range.

Related Characters: Gerry Durrell (speaker), Larry Durrell, The Magenpies
Page Number: 211
Explanation and Analysis:
Quotes explanation short mobile
Part 3, Chapter 18 Quotes

"I assure you the house is a death-trap. Every conceivable nook and cranny is stuffed with malignant faunae waiting to pounce...A simple, innocuous action like lighting a cigarette is fraught with danger. Even the sanctity of my bedroom is not respected. First, I was attacked by a scorpion...Now we have snakes in the bath and huge flocks of albatrosses flapping around the house, making noises like defective plumbing."

Page Number: 260
Explanation and Analysis:
Quotes explanation short mobile
Get the entire My Family and Other Animals LitChart as a printable PDF.
My family and other animals.pdf.medium

Larry Durrell Character Timeline in My Family and Other Animals

The timeline below shows where the character Larry Durrell appears in My Family and Other Animals. The colored dots and icons indicate which themes are associated with that appearance.
Part 1: The Migration
The Natural World Theme Icon
...Margo's acne is worse than usual; Leslie is battling ear infections; Mother has a cold. Larry is the only one well, though he's irritated beyond belief. Gerry notes that Larry was... (full context)
Absurdity and Storytelling Theme Icon
Larry turns on Mother, asking why the family puts up with this horrible climate. He lists... (full context)
Childhood, Adulthood, and Education Theme Icon
...go ahead to set things up, and then the rest of the family will follow. Larry whines that when she suggested he do that in Seville, the family never actually followed.... (full context)
The Natural World Theme Icon
Absurdity and Storytelling Theme Icon
...brings only the bare necessities. Margo packs flowing garments and acne remedies; Leslie brings guns; Larry packs trunks of books; Mother brings cooking and gardening books; and Gerry brings books on... (full context)
Part 1, Chapter 1: The Unsuspected Isle
The Natural World Theme Icon
Friendship and the Care of Animals Theme Icon
After the family makes it through customs, they wind their way through the quay. Larry walks quickly and with a disdainful expression on his face, followed by Gerry, Leslie, Margo,... (full context)
The Natural World Theme Icon
Absurdity and Storytelling Theme Icon
Friendship and the Care of Animals Theme Icon
...struggles to keep Roger from leaping out. Soon, two-dozen dogs are chasing the cab, and Larry yells angrily that the family looks ridiculous. Leslie suggests that Larry help, so Larry grabs... (full context)
Absurdity and Storytelling Theme Icon
Finally, the cab reaches the hotel. Larry seems to enjoy himself as he waves the whip at the street dogs while Mother,... (full context)
Absurdity and Storytelling Theme Icon
The family all take naps and then congregate downstairs for dinner a while later. Larry is thrilled with Corfu thus far, but Mother tries to seem noncommittal. Leslie is annoyed,... (full context)
The Natural World Theme Icon
Absurdity and Storytelling Theme Icon
...decides to hire a car and hunt for a villa with a bathroom herself. Leslie, Larry, Margo, and Gerry are unconvinced they'll find such a thing. (full context)
Part 1, Chapter 2: The Strawberry-Pink Villa
Absurdity and Storytelling Theme Icon
Childhood, Adulthood, and Education Theme Icon
...he sees anything amiss with her children. Mother adores him, and Spiro adores her—Leslie and Larry often pester Spiro by jokingly insulting Mother's parenting abilities. Gerry refers to him as a... (full context)
The Natural World Theme Icon
Absurdity and Storytelling Theme Icon
Friendship and the Care of Animals Theme Icon
...brushes Mother off when Mother tries to point out that this might become a problem. Larry, meanwhile, installs himself in his room, surrounded by books, tapping away on his typewriter. One... (full context)
The Natural World Theme Icon
...spends his days practicing shooting his revolvers at tin cans from his bedroom window, though Larry and Mother eventually convince him to move this practice away from the house. Mother settles... (full context)
Part 1, Chapter 3: The Rose-Beetle Man
The Natural World Theme Icon
Friendship and the Care of Animals Theme Icon
...family eats breakfast outside under the tangerine trees. By the end of the meal Mother, Larry, Leslie, and Margo begin arguing about what each is going to do that day. Gerry... (full context)
Friendship and the Care of Animals Theme Icon
...at the bottom of an old, disused well. They bury him under a strawberry plant. Larry gives a funeral address, and Gerry is annoyed that Roger wags his tail throughout the... (full context)
Part 1, Chapter 4: A Bushel of Learning
Childhood, Adulthood, and Education Theme Icon
...teach Gerry to shoot and sail; Margo insists that Gerry must learn to dance; and Larry declares that Gerry must receive a good grounding in literature. Mother urges her children to... (full context)
The Natural World Theme Icon
Childhood, Adulthood, and Education Theme Icon
Larry suggests that one of his friends, George, should teach Gerry, and this idea delights Mother.... (full context)
Part 1, Chapter 6: The Sweet Spring
The Natural World Theme Icon
...sing in ditches and Gerry thinks that even the wine in the village seems redder. Larry buys himself a guitar and a barrel of wine, and spends his evenings singing love... (full context)
The Natural World Theme Icon
Mother spends most of her time cultivating vegetables and cooking delightful meals, and Larry develops indigestion. He refuses to do anything about it but take baking soda, even though... (full context)
The Natural World Theme Icon
Childhood, Adulthood, and Education Theme Icon
...difficult: the Turk turns out to be condescending and smug. Mother overdoes the charm while Larry and Leslie nastily engage the Turk in conversation. The Turk appears oblivious, and the next... (full context)
Absurdity and Storytelling Theme Icon
Leslie, Larry, and Gerry wait up for Margo and Mother's return long past when they expected them... (full context)
Part 1: Conversation
The Natural World Theme Icon
Absurdity and Storytelling Theme Icon
Childhood, Adulthood, and Education Theme Icon
Larry writes to all his friends inviting them to visit as soon as the family is... (full context)
Childhood, Adulthood, and Education Theme Icon
Larry and Mother continue their argument, which intensifies when Larry admits that they may end up... (full context)
Part 2, Chapter 7: The Daffodil-Yellow Villa
Childhood, Adulthood, and Education Theme Icon
Friendship and the Care of Animals Theme Icon
...criticism and an over-sharer about her many ailments—her descriptions of her indigestion become legendary, and Larry grouses about getting rid of her despite Mother's insistence that they need help. (full context)
The Natural World Theme Icon
Absurdity and Storytelling Theme Icon
...falling apart. Finally, Mother decides that they need to buy new furniture to prepare for Larry's guests. The next morning, Spiro drives Mother, Margo, and Gerry into town to buy furniture.... (full context)
Part 2, Chapter 8: The Tortoise Hills
Absurdity and Storytelling Theme Icon
Over the summer, a string of Larry's friends visit. One of the first is the Armenian poet Zatopec, who talks the entire... (full context)
The Natural World Theme Icon
...Mother tenderly covers Michael in the horse blanket. He gets worse as Mother, Margo, and Larry argue about what's wrong, and Michael chokes out that he's allergic to cats, lilacs, and... (full context)
Absurdity and Storytelling Theme Icon
Childhood, Adulthood, and Education Theme Icon
...mumbles through her explanation, leading Mother to believe she has a venereal disease. Mother corners Larry about this, insisting that Melanie must go. She finally agrees to have Theodore out to... (full context)
Absurdity and Storytelling Theme Icon
...affair. Gerry listens in on all the conversations about art, literature, and poetry. After dinner, Larry plays the guitar and sings, and Theodore tells another anecdote about Corfu. He explains that... (full context)
Part 2, Chapter 9: The World in a Wall
Childhood, Adulthood, and Education Theme Icon
Friendship and the Care of Animals Theme Icon
...the box on the mantel, and goes to lunch, his new catch entirely forgotten. When Larry is finished eating, he goes in search of cigarettes and matches and returns to the... (full context)
The Natural World Theme Icon
Friendship and the Care of Animals Theme Icon
...the babies. He reluctantly carries the mother back outside and releases her onto the wall. Larry is terrified of matchboxes after this, and Mother decides that it's time for Gerry to... (full context)
Childhood, Adulthood, and Education Theme Icon
...Mother's only word of French is "oui." The "conversations" are nerve-wracking for her, and Gerry, Larry, Leslie, and Margo sometimes whisper to her that the consul is coming just to watch... (full context)
Part 2, Chapter 10: The Pageant of Fireflies
The Natural World Theme Icon
Absurdity and Storytelling Theme Icon
Larry, Peter, Margo, Leslie, Gerry, and Roger begin taking the family boat, the Sea Cow, down... (full context)
Part 2, Chapter 11: The Enchanted Archipelago
Friendship and the Care of Animals Theme Icon
...member that caters to their interests—Margo's list consists of fabric and pins, while Gerry asks Larry for books. Gerry waits for the right moment to ask Leslie for a boat. After... (full context)
Childhood, Adulthood, and Education Theme Icon
...that the boat needs a name first. Gerry decides to call it Bootle just when Larry suggests Bumtrinket. Thus, much to Mother's dismay, the boat becomes the Bootle-Bumtrinket. (full context)
Childhood, Adulthood, and Education Theme Icon
Margo, Peter, Larry, and Leslie carry the Bootle-Bumtrinket to the jetty, where Gerry and Mother open a bottle... (full context)
Absurdity and Storytelling Theme Icon
...opens the doors to allow guests in, they discover the puppies made quite the mess. Larry suggests the puppies be named Widdle and Puke and though Mother protests, the names stick. (full context)
Part 2, Chapter 12: The Woodcock Winter
Absurdity and Storytelling Theme Icon
Childhood, Adulthood, and Education Theme Icon
...the note to Mother, and everyone doubles down on their efforts to keep Peter away. Larry at one point insults Margo, which leads Margo to lock herself in the attic. (full context)
Absurdity and Storytelling Theme Icon
Childhood, Adulthood, and Education Theme Icon
Friendship and the Care of Animals Theme Icon
...Leslie is murdering Peter. In the ensuing melee, Widdle and Puke tug on Mother's nightgown, Larry yells about being disturbed, while Margo tries to let herself out of the locked attic... (full context)
The Natural World Theme Icon
Childhood, Adulthood, and Education Theme Icon
...assures her there's little danger unless a boar bursts out of the underbrush right underfoot. Larry imperiously insists that that isn't dangerous, as a hunter could just leap over the boar.... (full context)
Absurdity and Storytelling Theme Icon
Childhood, Adulthood, and Education Theme Icon
...how he pulled off his first "left-and-right," which entails shooting two birds in quick succession. Larry doesn't understand why this is such an accomplishment. Annoyed, Leslie invites Larry to go hunting... (full context)
The Natural World Theme Icon
Childhood, Adulthood, and Education Theme Icon
Margo and Gerry follow Larry and Leslie down to the swampy valley where the birds congregate. Larry complains the whole... (full context)
Absurdity and Storytelling Theme Icon
Childhood, Adulthood, and Education Theme Icon
By the time Larry limps home, he's convinced the family plotted to embarrass or kill him. He snaps at... (full context)
The Natural World Theme Icon
Childhood, Adulthood, and Education Theme Icon
Gerry and Leslie race to Larry's room, which is full of smoke. Larry is fast asleep. Margo follows Leslie's instructions to... (full context)
Part 2: Conversation
Childhood, Adulthood, and Education Theme Icon
...reads a letter from Great-Aunt Hermione out loud. It tells of her medical woes and Larry laments that she's never going to die. The entire family is distraught when Mother reads... (full context)
Absurdity and Storytelling Theme Icon
Larry, Mother, Leslie, and Margo argue over what to do about Hermione's request. They suggest outlandish... (full context)
Part 3, Chapter 15: The Cyclamen Woods
The Natural World Theme Icon
Friendship and the Care of Animals Theme Icon
...mood to help him name the new additions. Margo and Mother are curious, while Leslie, Larry, and Spiro declare that the babies are disgusting. Leslie cautions Gerry to not allow the... (full context)
The Natural World Theme Icon
Friendship and the Care of Animals Theme Icon
Larry seems to forget about the Magenpies' criminal instincts as the birds grow. They have the... (full context)
The Natural World Theme Icon
One afternoon, when Larry unthinkingly leaves his window open and goes for a swim, the Magenpies silently raid his... (full context)
The Natural World Theme Icon
The rest of the family appears in the doorway to survey the damage. Larry angrily yells at all of them. He's especially incensed when Mother reminds him that the... (full context)
The Natural World Theme Icon
Absurdity and Storytelling Theme Icon
Childhood, Adulthood, and Education Theme Icon
Friendship and the Care of Animals Theme Icon
As Kralefsky's eyes widen, Larry regales the room with tales of various individuals who broke their backs, many of whom... (full context)
Part 3, Chapter 16: The Lake of Lilies
The Natural World Theme Icon
Friendship and the Care of Animals Theme Icon
...entire way home and when she arrives, everyone insults her strange appearance, name, and sex. Larry is especially vicious, but Mother decides to keep Dodo anyway. The family soon discovers that... (full context)
Absurdity and Storytelling Theme Icon
Friendship and the Care of Animals Theme Icon
...walk off with Roger, Widdle, and Puke ahead, followed by Dodo, Sophia, and the puppy. Larry teases Mother incessantly about looking like a circus. (full context)
The Natural World Theme Icon
Friendship and the Care of Animals Theme Icon
...in the boat, to which Mother explains that people who are carsick never get seasick. Larry consults Theodore on the matter, but all Theodore can say is that he's never carsick... (full context)
Part 3, Chapter 17: The Chessboard Fields
The Natural World Theme Icon
Childhood, Adulthood, and Education Theme Icon
...Alecko ferociously makes noise as Gerry tries to untie his beak, which brings Leslie and Larry downstairs. Leslie is intrigued, but Larry is terrified and believes Alecko is an unlucky albatross.... (full context)
The Natural World Theme Icon
Absurdity and Storytelling Theme Icon
At dinner that night, Larry again insists that Alecko is an albatross, is bad luck, and will bring the family... (full context)
Absurdity and Storytelling Theme Icon
...and when Kosti leaves, Mother remarks that he didn't seem at all like a murderer. Larry insists Kosti totally acts like a murderer, since he gave Gerry an albatross. (full context)
Part 3, Chapter 18: An Entertainment with Animals
The Natural World Theme Icon
Absurdity and Storytelling Theme Icon
...to throw a Christmas party. They invite everyone they know for lunch, tea, and dinner. Larry sleeps as everyone else prepares, and Gerry, Roger, Widdle, and Puke help where they can.... (full context)
The Natural World Theme Icon
Absurdity and Storytelling Theme Icon
...aren't sure what to do. Mother soothes Leslie and explains the snakes had sunstroke, and Larry makes sure to insert himself in the argument. Finally, Gerry borrows a saucepan and takes... (full context)
The Natural World Theme Icon
Friendship and the Care of Animals Theme Icon
...Theodore looks under the table and with interest, explains there's a big bird under there. Larry exclaims that it's an albatross, but Theodore says he thinks it's a gull. Larry tells... (full context)
Absurdity and Storytelling Theme Icon
...a friend who was attacked by a gull, and Theodore makes an absurd gull pun. Larry tells the guests about an incident involving an aunt who was a beekeeper, and Theodore... (full context)
Childhood, Adulthood, and Education Theme Icon
...the car horn. He trundles out of the car holding a huge and heavy package. Larry dramatically laments that his manuscript has been returned, but Spiro explains that the packages contain... (full context)