Playing Beatie Bow

by

Ruth Park

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Judah Bow Character Analysis

Son of Samuel and brother to Gibbie and Beatie, Judah is a sunny, strapping young man of eighteen who works as a seaman, and is frequently off on maritime voyages. When Judah is around, the Bow-Tallisker home is full of laugher and song—Judah is the peacemaker of the family, and, as Samuel is so often impaired, its guiding light. Abigail realizes that she has feelings for Judah, and though she tries to keep them to herself, Beatie eventually finds them out. Beatie angrily reveals to Abigail that Judah is betrothed to Dovey, as penance for having injured her and rendered her lame in a cart accident when they were young. Abigail hopes that Judah will choose her over Dovey, but even after the two share a kiss and Abigail confesses her feelings, it is clear that it is Dovey whom Judah truly loves. Abigail mourns Judah’s loss twice—once, when she realizes he does not love her, and another time, when, after her return to the present, she looks up the Bows in old newspapers and realizes that Judah perished at sea just months after Abigail left the Bows and returned to her own time.

Judah Bow Quotes in Playing Beatie Bow

The Playing Beatie Bow quotes below are all either spoken by Judah Bow or refer to Judah Bow. 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:
Family, Duty, and Connection Theme Icon
). Note: all page numbers and citation info for the quotes below refer to the Puffin Books edition of Playing Beatie Bow published in 1980.
Chapter 7 Quotes

In a way she felt as she had felt when her father went away and left her. Fright, anger and helplessness, the sense of being nobody who could make things happen. But then she had been only ten. Four years of schooling her face to be expressionless, her thoughts to be her private property, had not gone to waste.

After her first despair, she thought, “I won’t let them beat me. If that dress is hidden around the house I’lI find it. Or I'll bribe Beatie, or coax Judah, into telling me where it is.”

She had learnt a lot about herself in this new rough world. Her own thoughts and conclusions of just a month before filled her with embarrassed astonishment when she reviewed them.

“What a dummo I was! I knew as much about real life as poor little Natty.”

Page Number: 115
Explanation and Analysis:
Chapter 8 Quotes

“I just want to go home, you know,” whispered Abigail.

“You're as restless as a robin, child,” said Mrs Tallisker. 'But 'twill not be long now.”

There was a great difference in Mrs. Tallisker. She had, all at once, become older and smaller. Only a few weeks before she had towered, or so it seemed, over Abigail. Now Abigail was almost as tall. Her skin had crumpled more deeply, more extensively, like a slowly withering flower. She could not work as hard as before, but sat more often in the parlour with Gibbie, knitting thick grey socks for Judah.

“Aye,” she said with her sweet smile, as Abigail secretly stared at her, "tis a fearful effort to give out the Power when it has decided to leave. If I could do what I did for you, child, you can give me a little of your time, inna that fair enough?”

“Yes, of course,” said Abigail, but in her heart she was grudging.

Related Characters: Abigail Kirk (speaker), Granny Tallisker (speaker), Judah Bow, Gibbie Bow
Page Number: 119
Explanation and Analysis:

“’Tis here I live, do you see, in 1873, and my labour is here, and my own folk, and I'm thankful to God for both. So that's enough for me.”

“But men landing on the moon!” cried Abigail. “Don’t you think that's fantastic?”

“Damned foolishness, I call it,” [Judah] said, and flushed. “Your pardon, Abby, for a word Granny would thicken my ear for, but 'tis no more and no less. What good to man or beast is that bare lump of rock?”

“At least it makes the tides,” snapped Abigail, “and where would you be without them?”

He laughed. “True for you, but no man has to go there to press a lever or turn a wheel for that!”

Having failed to interest him in the future, she turned to the past, and asked him was he ever homesick for Orkney, as she knew Dovey was.

“Not I,” he said. “Why, 'tis the past, and dead and gone. I'm a New South Welshman now, and glad about it, aye, gey glad!” His eyes danced. “Ah, I'm glad to be alive, and at this minute, I tell ye!”

Related Characters: Abigail Kirk (speaker), Judah Bow (speaker), Granny Tallisker
Page Number: 121
Explanation and Analysis:

For an instant she remembered her mother's dark dewdrop eyes, as she said, “You don't know how powerful love can be,” and she thought how strange it was that love had made her both callous and tender. She did not care if this child died. Though she had never liked him, she had not wanted to deprive him of his life. But now, if his death meant that Judah lived, then she did not care a jot if he died. At the same time she did what would have made her skin creep a day or so before: she put her arms around his shivering, bony little body and held him comfortingly.

Page Number: 125
Explanation and Analysis:
Chapter 11 Quotes

Abigail saw ahead of her the lamp that lit the steep stairs to the alley which ran down to the playground. Beatie kicked angrily at the kerbstone. Her face was undecided, back to its crabbed urchin look.

“I know you hate me because I fell in love with your brother. Well, he doesn't love me, never did and never will. And I did save Dovey for him.”

“’Twas no more than what you were sent for,” said Beatie churlishly.

Abigail lost her temper. “Oh, you know everything, don't you? Let me tell you, you sulky little pig, you know nothing about love, that's one thing. You have to experience it to know how powerful it is.”

Here she stopped, dumbstruck, remembering who had said the same words to her.

Page Number: 163
Explanation and Analysis:

In a flash the study vanished and Abigail was on a ship. The waves ran along the side, leaping and hissing. They were as grey as marble. The ship rolled and creaked. There was a drumming from up in the air, where the wet sails flickered out showers of salty drops. But she felt no movement. Muffled in his pea-jacket, a woolen cap on his bright head, Judah sat on a roll of canvas, mending some ship's gear, or so she thought. He had not got older as Beatie had.

“Judah!” she cried joyfully, but he did not look up. The pulley and rope in his fingers changed to a knife and a little wooden figure he was whittling. Somehow she knew it was herself. With an exclamation she could not hear, he tossed it overboard, where it turned into Abby herself, clad in Dovey's blouse and serge skirt, rising stiffly up and down in the waves like a statue or a ship's figurehead.

“Oh, Judah,” sobbed Abigail, “how could you?”

Related Characters: Abigail Kirk (speaker), Judah Bow
Page Number: 170
Explanation and Analysis:
Get the entire Playing Beatie Bow LitChart as a printable PDF.
Playing Beatie Bow PDF

Judah Bow Character Timeline in Playing Beatie Bow

The timeline below shows where the character Judah Bow appears in Playing Beatie Bow. The colored dots and icons indicate which themes are associated with that appearance.
Chapter 3
Family, Duty, and Connection Theme Icon
Time and the Past Theme Icon
...emanating from her. Abigail relaxes into Granny’s embrace, and Granny tells Beatie to go fetch Judah. A few minutes later, a tall young man enters the room and reports that his... (full context)
Time and the Past Theme Icon
Judah offers Abigail a candy, and she sits up and accepts it. She looks around the... (full context)
Time and the Past Theme Icon
...to be helped over to the window, so that she can see where she is. Judah lifts her from her bed and brings her over to the shuttered window, and then... (full context)
Time and the Past Theme Icon
The Wisdom and Power of Children  Theme Icon
Judah and Granny go downstairs, and Dovey comes back over to Abigail to place a hand... (full context)
Chapter 4
Family, Duty, and Connection Theme Icon
Time and the Past Theme Icon
The Wisdom and Power of Children  Theme Icon
The two women converse in quiet tones—Dovey tells Granny that Judah, a seaman, left to join the crew of the next ship out, as the evening... (full context)
Time and the Past Theme Icon
...real name is Dorcas Tallisker, and she limps because when she was young, she and Judah got into a trundle-cart accident in which Dovey broke her thigh-bone. Dovey tells Abigail all... (full context)
Chapter 6
Time and the Past Theme Icon
...size, and she is wearing more comfortable shoes. Beatie goes off to school, excited that Judah’s ship is supposed to make port again tonight, and he will be home. Abigail helps... (full context)
Family, Duty, and Connection Theme Icon
Time and the Past Theme Icon
...did not call her from inside the school, but rather was heading her way with Judah, coming up from the wharf. As Beatie and Judah pursue her, Abigail continues running; she... (full context)
Family, Duty, and Connection Theme Icon
The Transformative Power of Love Theme Icon
...he dodges her blows, and bites her on the leg. Abigail screams out Beatie and Judah’s names, but then a horrible-smelling sack descends over her head and she cannot see anything... (full context)
Family, Duty, and Connection Theme Icon
...her mouth—Abigail says she will, but as soon as he removes it, she begins screaming Judah’s name. The man stuffs a dirty rag in Abigail’s mouth and pushes her to the... (full context)
Family, Duty, and Connection Theme Icon
Time and the Past Theme Icon
...frightened to devise a plan. She realizes that the only hope she has is that Judah and Beatie heard her cries for help back on the street. Abigail starts to try... (full context)
Chapter 7
Family, Duty, and Connection Theme Icon
...of the window and shut it when she hears a familiar voice call to her—it’s Judah. He tells her that he’s brought some of his shipmates with him, and that they’re... (full context)
Family, Duty, and Connection Theme Icon
The Wisdom and Power of Children  Theme Icon
Abigail, Judah, and his shipmates scurry across the roofs of nearby buildings, and the boys are impressed... (full context)
Family, Duty, and Connection Theme Icon
Judah takes Abigail upstairs and lays her down on her own bed. He asks Dovey how... (full context)
Family, Duty, and Connection Theme Icon
...is anything he wants to do to amuse himself. He reveals that sometimes Granny and Judah tell him stories, but just as his tone betrays his excitement, he catches himself and... (full context)
Family, Duty, and Connection Theme Icon
...him. As she begins, Abigail realizes that if Gibbie does not die, only Dovey and Judah are left to fulfill the second half of the prophecy, and momentarily pauses, letting the... (full context)
Chapter 8
Family, Duty, and Connection Theme Icon
Time and the Past Theme Icon
The Wisdom and Power of Children  Theme Icon
...to search high and low for her dress, or bribe or coax either Beatie or Judah into telling her where it is hidden. Though she is full of despair, Abigail considers... (full context)
Family, Duty, and Connection Theme Icon
Time and the Past Theme Icon
Abigail begins noticing how Judah, a seaman who is often away, blusters in and out of the house like the... (full context)
The Transformative Power of Love Theme Icon
Whenever Judah is home from his travels, the house is always noisy and lively. Judah dreams of... (full context)
The Transformative Power of Love Theme Icon
...thought, Abigail is relieved that it will be Gibbie who dies, thus saving Dovey and Judah. Abigail remembers her mother telling her how powerful love can be, and realizes that it... (full context)
The Transformative Power of Love Theme Icon
...storm recedes, and Abigail watches it calm down. She wonders if the rain will keep Judah from going back out to sea tomorrow, and wishes he could stay a whole week. (full context)
The Transformative Power of Love Theme Icon
Indeed, the heavy rain means that Judah is home more often. Though Dovey worries that a season of so much rain will... (full context)
Family, Duty, and Connection Theme Icon
The Transformative Power of Love Theme Icon
The Wisdom and Power of Children  Theme Icon
...experiencing more tantrums and sulking more often. Beatie now accuses Abigail of being “stuck” on Judah. Abigail feels a shock run through her, and knows that her private bliss has been... (full context)
Family, Duty, and Connection Theme Icon
The Transformative Power of Love Theme Icon
Abigail is shocked and hurt. Beatie goes on to explain that because it was Judah who caused the accident that crippled Dovey, he promised to marry her, as not every... (full context)
Chapter 9
Family, Duty, and Connection Theme Icon
The Transformative Power of Love Theme Icon
...whether Granny told her something else. Beatie reveals that Granny told her that by Sunday, Judah would decide whom he really loves—and Beatie is afraid that he will choose Abigail. Abigail... (full context)
The Transformative Power of Love Theme Icon
On Sunday, Dovey prepares a picnic basket for Judah, Beatie, and Abigail, but as they prepare for the outing, Abigail feels only anxiety. As... (full context)
The Transformative Power of Love Theme Icon
Time and the Past Theme Icon
Beatie runs ahead of Judah and Abigail through the empty streets down to the shore. Judah tells Beatie to slow... (full context)
Time and the Past Theme Icon
Abigail asks what the ships in the harbor transport, and as she and Judah find themselves in yet another discussion about the innovations of the future, Judah laments that... (full context)
The Transformative Power of Love Theme Icon
Time and the Past Theme Icon
Judah pulls the little boat into a craggy cove, and instructs Abigail in how to track... (full context)
Family, Duty, and Connection Theme Icon
The Transformative Power of Love Theme Icon
The Wisdom and Power of Children  Theme Icon
Judah suggests they all get back into the boat and go to another cove, but Beatie... (full context)
The Transformative Power of Love Theme Icon
Abigail and Judah shove off from the shore. Out on the water, Judah admires the land he knows... (full context)
Family, Duty, and Connection Theme Icon
The Transformative Power of Love Theme Icon
Abigail tells Judah that she loves him, but he does not answer her. Abigail quickly tells Judah that... (full context)
Family, Duty, and Connection Theme Icon
The Transformative Power of Love Theme Icon
Judah rows the boat back into shore, where Beatie meets them in a horrible rage. Judah... (full context)
Family, Duty, and Connection Theme Icon
The Transformative Power of Love Theme Icon
The Wisdom and Power of Children  Theme Icon
...and says that they should have left her in the whorehouse all those weeks ago. Judah leans forward and shakes Beatie, chastising her for speaking so cruelly. Beatie replies only that... (full context)
Chapter 10
Family, Duty, and Connection Theme Icon
The Transformative Power of Love Theme Icon
...boat ride home. Beatie sits with her hands over her ears the whole time, but Judah assures Abigail that Beatie has always been stubborn this way, and her fits have grown... (full context)
Family, Duty, and Connection Theme Icon
The Wisdom and Power of Children  Theme Icon
Abigail assures Judah that Beatie won’t say anything to Dovey, as Beatie does not want to hurt her... (full context)
Family, Duty, and Connection Theme Icon
The Transformative Power of Love Theme Icon
Time and the Past Theme Icon
...out safely. Dovey struggles, frightened and overwhelmed, but Abigail implores her to keep going, “for Judah’s sake.” Abigail shoves Dovey down the stairs, through the kitchen, and out into the yard.... (full context)
Family, Duty, and Connection Theme Icon
The Transformative Power of Love Theme Icon
...and Beatie across the street and urges Gibbie to run to them. Abigail then sees Judah running down the lane—he goes straight to Dovey and wraps her in his arms. Abigail... (full context)
Chapter 11
Family, Duty, and Connection Theme Icon
The Transformative Power of Love Theme Icon
Time and the Past Theme Icon
...that she has at last done what she was sent to do—she saved Dovey for Judah, and now the Gift has double the chance of survival. Dovey begs Abigail to stay... (full context)
Family, Duty, and Connection Theme Icon
The Transformative Power of Love Theme Icon
The Wisdom and Power of Children  Theme Icon
...was on the night she first came. Abigail says her painful goodbyes to Dovey and Judah—Gibbie is asleep and Mr. Bow is in a kind of trance. Last of all, Abigail... (full context)
Time and the Past Theme Icon
The Wisdom and Power of Children  Theme Icon
...to still be angry at her, but Beatie insists that Abigail should not have kissed Judah. Abigail vindictively tells Beatie that she is going to burn the green dress as soon... (full context)
Family, Duty, and Connection Theme Icon
The Transformative Power of Love Theme Icon
Time and the Past Theme Icon
The Wisdom and Power of Children  Theme Icon
Abigail asks Beatie to stop hating her—Judah doesn’t love her after all, and Abigail did end up saving Dovey for him. Beatie... (full context)
Family, Duty, and Connection Theme Icon
The Transformative Power of Love Theme Icon
Time and the Past Theme Icon
...longs to fall into the recliner and cry and rest for days—she will never see Judah again—but knows that she has little time before her mother will arrive home. Abigail runs... (full context)
Family, Duty, and Connection Theme Icon
The Transformative Power of Love Theme Icon
Time and the Past Theme Icon
...to say not another word about Weyland that night. Abigail tries not to think of Judah, but as the night goes on, she has a hard time keeping him—and her jealous... (full context)
Family, Duty, and Connection Theme Icon
The Transformative Power of Love Theme Icon
Time and the Past Theme Icon
The Wisdom and Power of Children  Theme Icon
...or Gibbie has died. The dream shifts again, and Abigail is on a ship—she sees Judah, the same age he was when she left 1873, whittling a small wooden figure of... (full context)
Chapter 12
Family, Duty, and Connection Theme Icon
The Transformative Power of Love Theme Icon
Time and the Past Theme Icon
...embraces her. Abigail embraces him right back, and as she does, remembers being wrapped in Judah’s arms. Abigail stops herself from crying, though, telling herself that she is about to embark... (full context)
Family, Duty, and Connection Theme Icon
The Transformative Power of Love Theme Icon
Time and the Past Theme Icon
The Wisdom and Power of Children  Theme Icon
...herself sad with thoughts of the Bows—she realizes that she is homesick not just for Judah, but for all of them. (full context)
The Transformative Power of Love Theme Icon
Time and the Past Theme Icon
The Wisdom and Power of Children  Theme Icon
...February, 1874. She realizes with a horrible feeling that The Brothers was the name of Judah’s ship. (full context)
Family, Duty, and Connection Theme Icon
The Transformative Power of Love Theme Icon
Time and the Past Theme Icon
The Wisdom and Power of Children  Theme Icon
...drawer and pulls out the crochet. She speaks aloud to Granny, begging her to warn Judah. The crochet is very damaged, though, and as she tries to call to Granny, she... (full context)
Family, Duty, and Connection Theme Icon
The Transformative Power of Love Theme Icon
Time and the Past Theme Icon
...is threads in her hands. Abigail attempts to comfort herself by telling herself that perhaps Judah did not ship out on The Brothers on its fateful, final voyage, but cannot convince... (full context)
Chapter 13
Family, Duty, and Connection Theme Icon
The Transformative Power of Love Theme Icon
Time and the Past Theme Icon
...Bow family were “bitterly real” and caused her grief and longing, especially when she considered Judah and his awful fate. Even if she could never share a life with him, she’d... (full context)
The Transformative Power of Love Theme Icon
Time and the Past Theme Icon
The Wisdom and Power of Children  Theme Icon
...in—upon seeing him, Abigail fears she might faint. He looks and sounds almost exactly like Judah, and for a moment, Abigail is afraid that everything is starting again—that she is returning... (full context)
The Transformative Power of Love Theme Icon
Time and the Past Theme Icon
...Abigail can hardly focus on Robert’s words, though—she is too overcome with relief, believing that Judah lived after all. She wishes she could reach out and stroke Robert’s cheek, but she... (full context)
Family, Duty, and Connection Theme Icon
The Transformative Power of Love Theme Icon
Time and the Past Theme Icon
...begin, Abigail notices the small ways in which he looks, after all, quite different from Judah. They open the Bible, and Robert tells Abigail that the book belonged to “some old... (full context)
Family, Duty, and Connection Theme Icon
The Transformative Power of Love Theme Icon
Time and the Past Theme Icon
The Wisdom and Power of Children  Theme Icon
...bearing the Bow family tree. Abigail, without looking at it, immediately asks where Robert’s great-grandfather, Judah is on it—Robert replies that Judah is only a family name, and his great-grandfather’s name... (full context)
Family, Duty, and Connection Theme Icon
The Transformative Power of Love Theme Icon
Time and the Past Theme Icon
The Wisdom and Power of Children  Theme Icon
...others—Granny assumed that Gibbie would die and Beatie would be barren, when really it was “Judah for death, and Dovey for barrenness.” (full context)