Riding the Bus with My Sister

Riding the Bus with My Sister

by

Rachel Simon

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Rodolpho Character Analysis

Quiet, “exotically handsome” Rodolpho is Beth’s favorite driver—until Cliff comes to town. She has a serious crush on him and often spends hours talking to him. Even though he doesn’t say much in return, he appreciates her company. But in the past, Beth became so obsessed with Rodolpho—and told him so many explicit stories about her sex life—that he kicked her off his bus. Eventually, though, they reached an agreement that Beth can ride with him three times per week. Rodolpho dreams of becoming a pilot and isn’t particularly committed to driving the bus. However, he worked so hard to save up for flying lessons that he ended up ruining his marriage. This taught him that relationships are more important than his dreams for his career. Still, at the end of the book, Rachel helps him try out acting, and he eventually becomes a police officer. Beyond showing how Beth’s obsessiveness gets her in trouble, Rodolpho’s story also reminds Rachel that she’s foolish to completely sacrifice all of her relationships for the sake of her career.

Rodolpho Quotes in Riding the Bus with My Sister

The Riding the Bus with My Sister quotes below are all either spoken by Rodolpho or refer to Rodolpho. 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.
18. July: The Optimist Quotes

Beth has sought out mentors in places where others might not look, and, moreover, taken the time, and endured the pain, to weed out those drivers who are decent and kind and reflective from those who are indifferent or hostile. The ones I’m meeting are, I realize as I quickly do the math, only about a sixth of the whole bus company. That took Beth a huge amount of trial and error—and, yes, determination. I shake my head, amazed at how much I’d somehow missed, and then, with a surge of optimism, wonder if one out of six people in any profession or community would also be exceptionally thoughtful. How could I really know? Have I ever spent this much time exploring the worldviews of my colleagues at school or the bookstore? Do I have a clue about whether my neighbors feel committed to the Golden Rule?

Related Characters: Rachel Simon (speaker), Beth , Bailey, Claude, Tim, Jacob, Estella, Rodolpho, Rick
Page Number: 195
Explanation and Analysis:
28. October: The Hunk Quotes

With a jolt, I know what scares me.

It’s not just the same old crush with a new face, or the same old song with the same wrong words. It’s not just the pattern she doesn’t see, or care about, and therefore cannot or will not change.

It’s that Beth seems to need a cataclysmic event for her to change in any way—an event like our mother’s complete abdication of her responsibility to protect her own child, Juanita’s rejection, or Rodolpho’s abandonment. This seems true whether she’s being called upon to develop resourcefulness, assertiveness, or just basic self-restraint. I look at her and feel a clutch in my throat. What will it take now?

Is this all there will ever be to her life?

Related Characters: Rachel Simon (speaker), Beth , Cliff, Jesse, Rodolpho
Page Number: 271
Explanation and Analysis:
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Rodolpho Character Timeline in Riding the Bus with My Sister

The timeline below shows where the character Rodolpho appears in Riding the Bus with My Sister. The colored dots and icons indicate which themes are associated with that appearance.
9. April: The Dreamer
Community vs. Individualism Theme Icon
Growth, Change, and Morality Theme Icon
...crisp spring morning, Beth and Rachel ride with Beth’s favorite bus driver, the “exotically handsome” Rodolpho. Beth won’t tell Rachel what she thinks about while she watches him drive. Rachel worries... (full context)
Disability, Access, and Self-Determination Theme Icon
Love and Family Theme Icon
Growth, Change, and Morality Theme Icon
Rachel asks Rodolpho how he met Beth, and he explains that they met on the night bus. Beth... (full context)
Love and Family Theme Icon
Community vs. Individualism Theme Icon
Rodolpho parks the bus by an airport and tells Rachel and Beth that he used to... (full context)
10. April: The Drivers’ Room
Disability, Access, and Self-Determination Theme Icon
Love and Family Theme Icon
Community vs. Individualism Theme Icon
After they get off Rodolpho’s bus at the terminal, Rachel and Beth run into Jacob. Beth goes to the drivers’... (full context)
26. September: Surgery
Disability, Access, and Self-Determination Theme Icon
Love and Family Theme Icon
Community vs. Individualism Theme Icon
...agrees to follow the doctor’s orders. Jacob spends the whole day with her and Rachel. Rodolpho and Rick visit, and after Rachel goes home, Beth finishes her post-op treatment at Jacob’s... (full context)
28. October: The Hunk
Disability, Access, and Self-Determination Theme Icon
Love and Family Theme Icon
...driver who races cars in his spare time. He’s her new favorite, even more than Rodolpho, because he has a Mustang, treats Beth well, and is “fine-looking.” But Rachel thinks about... (full context)
31. November: The Girlfriend
Love and Family Theme Icon
Community vs. Individualism Theme Icon
Growth, Change, and Morality Theme Icon
...she’s never seen Beth express self-pity, Rachel decides to try to overcome her own. When Rodolpho tells Rachel that he’s interested in trying out another career, Rachel suggests acting, and she... (full context)
37. A Year and a Half Later: The Miracle Maker
Community vs. Individualism Theme Icon
Growth, Change, and Morality Theme Icon
...changed since her year riding the buses with Beth. For instance, Tim had another child, Rodolpho joined the police force, and Cliff became a mechanic. Rachel has continued to support Beth... (full context)