Playing Beatie Bow

by

Ruth Park

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Katherine “Kathy” Kirk Character Analysis

Abigail’s mother Kathy is a loving but flighty woman who owns a vintage shop called Magpies. After Abigail and her mother were abandoned by Abigail’s father, Weyland, the two formed a close friendship—a friendship that is threatened when Kathy reveals to Abigail that she has secretly been seeing Weyland again, and wants to accept his offer to move Abigail and Kathy to Norway to be with him and live as a family again. Kathy is distressed when Abigail reacts badly to the news and accuses her mother of being a pushover. She tries to explain to Abigail that love is a powerful force that cannot be understood unless experienced, but her sage advice falls on deaf ears—that is, until Abigail is transported to the past and finds herself swept up in an unlikely love of her own.

Katherine “Kathy” Kirk Quotes in Playing Beatie Bow

The Playing Beatie Bow quotes below are all either spoken by Katherine “Kathy” Kirk or refer to Katherine “Kathy” Kirk. 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 1  Quotes

[Abigail’s] chief concern was that no one, not even her mother, should know what she was like inside. Because maybe to adults the turmoil of uncertainties, extravagant glooms, and sudden blisses, might present some kind of pattern or map, so that they could say, ‘Ah, so that’s the real Abigail, is it?’ The thought of such trespass made her stomach turn over. So she cultivated an expressionless face, a long piercing glance under her eyelashes that Grandmother called slippery. She carefully laid false trails until she herself sometimes could not find the way into her secret heart. Yet the older she grew the more she longed for someone to laugh at the false trails with, to share the secrets. What secrets? She didn’t yet know what they were herself.

Page Number: 4-5
Explanation and Analysis:

The May holidays always made [Abigail] feel forlorn and restless. […] if her mother didn’t want her to help at the shop, she spent hours squashed into the corner of the brown armchair, which had once been a kindly bear and now was only a bear-shaped chair near a window which looked out on cranes and mast tops, on the deck of the Harbour Bridge and the pearly cusps of the Opera House rising through the gauzy murk like Aladdin’s palace. Mumping, her mother called it. But she was not doing that, or even thinking. Mostly she was just aware of something missing. When she was young she thought it was her father, for she had missed him miserably as well as hating him. […] But now she wasn’t a kid she knew that it wasn’t the absence of her father that caused the empty place inside. It was a part of her and she didn’t know what it was or why it was there.

Page Number: 5-6
Explanation and Analysis:
Chapter 2 Quotes

“Oh, I know all you schoolgirls think you know every last word in the book about the relationships between a man and a woman; but love is a thing you have to experience before you know—” she hesitated, and then blurted out—“how powerful it can be.”

Related Characters: Katherine “Kathy” Kirk (speaker), Abigail Kirk, Weyland Kirk
Page Number: 19
Explanation and Analysis:
Chapter 8 Quotes

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:
Get the entire Playing Beatie Bow LitChart as a printable PDF.
Playing Beatie Bow PDF

Katherine “Kathy” Kirk Character Timeline in Playing Beatie Bow

The timeline below shows where the character Katherine “Kathy” Kirk appears in Playing Beatie Bow. The colored dots and icons indicate which themes are associated with that appearance.
Chapter 1 
Family, Duty, and Connection Theme Icon
Time and the Past Theme Icon
Fourteen-year-old Abigail Kirk was originally, as an infant, christened Lynette, a name which her mother Katherine regrets giving her, as she finds it ugly. For the first ten years of her... (full context)
Family, Duty, and Connection Theme Icon
Katherine tried to explain to her daughter that just because her father wanted to leave their... (full context)
Family, Duty, and Connection Theme Icon
...through her grandmother, with whom she had a contentious relationship. After “ex-Lynette”’s grandmother complained to Kathy that Kathy’s daughter had become “a little witch,” the girl decided she wanted a witch’s... (full context)
Time and the Past Theme Icon
...close friendship with her mother. Back when their family all lived together in the suburbs, Kathy had collected and kept vintage and antique odds and ends. After Weyland left, Kathy rented... (full context)
Family, Duty, and Connection Theme Icon
Time and the Past Theme Icon
...of five heart-shaped leaves. Between two leaves, Abigail makes out two tiny initials: A.T. When Kathy arrives home, she admires the piece of crochet and offers to sell it in the... (full context)
Chapter 2
Family, Duty, and Connection Theme Icon
The Transformative Power of Love Theme Icon
At breakfast, Kathy admires Abigail’s new dress, and chatters on and on happily. When Abigail asks her mother... (full context)
Family, Duty, and Connection Theme Icon
The Transformative Power of Love Theme Icon
Abigail asks her mother if she had just run into Weyland, but Kathy confesses that she has seen her husband quite a few times recently. She apologizes for... (full context)
Family, Duty, and Connection Theme Icon
The Transformative Power of Love Theme Icon
The Wisdom and Power of Children  Theme Icon
...shocked and disappointed to realize that her mother is considering Weyland’s proposal in earnest, but Kathy insists that Abigail cannot understand love yet—she has not experienced it, and does not know... (full context)
Family, Duty, and Connection Theme Icon
The Transformative Power of Love Theme Icon
...for Abigail—she is seized by jealousy and anger, and tells her mother that even though Kathy might want to put herself in a situation where she could get “dumped” a second... (full context)
Family, Duty, and Connection Theme Icon
Time and the Past Theme Icon
Kathy taps on Abigail’s bedroom door and attempts to get her to come back out, but... (full context)
Family, Duty, and Connection Theme Icon
...to her own apartment, where she argues some more with her mother about Weyland’s proposition. Kathy berates Abigail for never once having considered how her mother might feel about things, and... (full context)
Family, Duty, and Connection Theme Icon
Time and the Past Theme Icon
In the morning, there is a stony coldness between Kathy and Abigail, but Abigail nonetheless agrees to help out at the shop for the weekend.... (full context)
Chapter 11
Family, Duty, and Connection Theme Icon
The Transformative Power of Love Theme Icon
Time and the Past Theme Icon
...how she could have run away without a word. Abigail apologizes for having been childish. Kathy then does a double-take, noticing that Abigail looks older. Kathy chides herself for not having... (full context)
Family, Duty, and Connection Theme Icon
The Transformative Power of Love Theme Icon
Time and the Past Theme Icon
Abigail and Kathy apologize to each other, and resolve to say not another word about Weyland that night.... (full context)
Time and the Past Theme Icon
The Wisdom and Power of Children  Theme Icon
...the morning, Abigail goes with her mother to work at Magpies, the vintage shop. As Kathy sets to work cleaning up a set of Victorian portraits, she marvels at how colorful... (full context)
Family, Duty, and Connection Theme Icon
The Transformative Power of Love Theme Icon
...her that they can go to Norway with Weyland—she apologizes for making such a fuss. Kathy is stunned, but visibly excited. (full context)
Chapter 12
Family, Duty, and Connection Theme Icon
The Transformative Power of Love Theme Icon
Time and the Past Theme Icon
A few days after Abigail’s return, Kathy brings Weyland home for dinner. He greets his daughter as “Lynnie” and embraces her. Abigail... (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
...over dinner, the family decides that Abigail will complete one more term of school while Kathy ties up her loose ends at the shop, and the two prepare themselves for a... (full context)
Chapter 13
Time and the Past Theme Icon
...to Sydney after living abroad in several countries for the last few years. As Abigail, Kathy, and Weyland step into their old apartment unit, they notice that it has grown grubbier... (full context)
The Transformative Power of Love Theme Icon
...at the Crowns’ who has given her such a look on her face. She tells Kathy that she has met a young man named Robert, and he’ll be coming by on... (full context)
Family, Duty, and Connection Theme Icon
The Transformative Power of Love Theme Icon
Time and the Past Theme Icon
Kathy comes into the kitchen and asks Abigail what she and Robert are up to. Abigail... (full context)