Riding the Bus with My Sister

Riding the Bus with My Sister

by

Rachel Simon

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Bert Character Analysis

Bert is a cheerful, eccentric bus driver from New York. After retiring to Pennsylvania, he got bored and decided to start driving a few hours a week to help fill his time. During free time on his bus route, he tells jokes and sings to his audience in an effort to improve their mood. He also tells Rachel and Beth about how tolerance, astute observation skills, and creativity are key to succeeding both in unpredictable jobs like his and in life more generally. Furthermore, he demonstrates how combining these traits with a lighthearted attitude can help people overcome obstacles. Rachel applies his wisdom when confronting her own romantic and family issues.
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Bert Character Timeline in Riding the Bus with My Sister

The timeline below shows where the character Bert appears in Riding the Bus with My Sister. The colored dots and icons indicate which themes are associated with that appearance.
25. September: The Jester
Community vs. Individualism Theme Icon
...the present, while parked at a stop for a few minutes, the zany bus driver Bert asks if it’s anyone’s birthday. The kids on the bus laugh, and Bert points to... (full context)
Disability, Access, and Self-Determination Theme Icon
Love and Family Theme Icon
Community vs. Individualism Theme Icon
Growth, Change, and Morality Theme Icon
Bert drove buses in New York for three decades, until he retired to Pennsylvania. Then, he... (full context)
Community vs. Individualism Theme Icon
Growth, Change, and Morality Theme Icon
Bert starts talking to the audience in rhymes. He compliments an elderly woman, promises a little... (full context)
Growth, Change, and Morality Theme Icon
...bus passes Jesse, who is riding his bike to the highway. This surprises Rachel, but Bert explains that everyone is used to seeing him. At the next stop, Bert talks about... (full context)
Love and Family Theme Icon
Community vs. Individualism Theme Icon
Growth, Change, and Morality Theme Icon
Everywhere he’s driven, Bert concludes, people are bored and depressed—but comedy and singing can make their day. Before driving... (full context)