Riding the Bus with My Sister

Riding the Bus with My Sister

by

Rachel Simon

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Melanie Character Analysis

Melanie is an enthusiastic, fun-loving 37-year-old driver who takes Beth and Rachel on a rural route through farming towns one night in November. Even though she’s married, she chats with Beth about men, and they laugh wildly all evening. (In contrast, farther back in the bus, Rachel is in a more somber mood as she contemplates her own romantic failures.) Melanie later tells Rachel that, because everyone’s time on earth is limited, friendship is of the utmost importance. This neatly captures the main lesson Rachel learns from Beth’s vibrant friendships with so many drivers and community members around her city.

Melanie Quotes in Riding the Bus with My Sister

The Riding the Bus with My Sister quotes below are all either spoken by Melanie or refer to Melanie. 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:
Disability, Access, and Self-Determination Theme Icon
). Note: all page numbers and citation info for the quotes below refer to the Grand Central Publishing edition of Riding the Bus with My Sister published in 2013.
31. November: The Girlfriend Quotes

[I] make out my reflection far too well, hauntingly blue and close. I cringe at the expression on my face.

Failure, it reads, and terror. The way my mother used to look when she trudged into the house after one of her dates. The way I used to feel when love withdrew. […] There is self-pity, too.

That old darkness rises within me. Don’t think about this, it says. Keep telling the world, No, I can’t, I’m sorry. Keep shutting the door.

But I do think about it. Beth is in stitches along with her friend right in front of me, and I realize with a jolt that for all her failures and terrors, I have never seen self-pity on her face. Not even a trace. Not once.

Related Characters: Rachel Simon (speaker), Rachel and Beth’s Mother, Beth , Melanie
Page Number: 289-290
Explanation and Analysis:
Get the entire Riding the Bus with My Sister LitChart as a printable PDF.
Riding the Bus with My Sister PDF

Melanie Character Timeline in Riding the Bus with My Sister

The timeline below shows where the character Melanie appears in Riding the Bus with My Sister. The colored dots and icons indicate which themes are associated with that appearance.
31. November: The Girlfriend
Love and Family Theme Icon
In the present, Beth and the driver Melanie chat about Ricky Martin and the Backstreet Boys, cracking up like teenaged girls on the... (full context)
Love and Family Theme Icon
Community vs. Individualism Theme Icon
Growth, Change, and Morality Theme Icon
While Beth and Melanie talk about Cliff’s looks, Rachel gazes at her own reflection in the window. She sees... (full context)
36. January: Beyond the Limits of the Sky
Disability, Access, and Self-Determination Theme Icon
Growth, Change, and Morality Theme Icon
...organizations, or a job. Beth gets up and ends the meeting; she has to catch Melanie’s bus. Everyone takes the elevator downstairs, and Rachel thanks Beth’s caregivers. (full context)
Love and Family Theme Icon
Growth, Change, and Morality Theme Icon
...as usual, Beth replies, “I don’t kno-oh.” Rachel feels a complicated mix of emotions. Then, Melanie’s bus approaches. Beth invites Rachel to join her, but Rachel decides not to. Beth boards... (full context)