Seventy-Two Derwents

by

Cate Kennedy

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Tyler Character Analysis

A young Australian girl in Grade 6, Tyler is the protagonist and narrator of the story, which is framed as a series of entries in her journal. She has a conflicted relationship with her mother, whom she doesn’t trust to care for her, and fears her mother’s abusive boyfriend, Shane. She is particularly close with her older sister, Ellie, as well as her teacher, Mrs Carlyle, who gives her the journal as part of a class assignment. Tyler takes to journal-writing enthusiastically, recording intimate details of her home life, which is dysfunctional at best and unsafe at worst. Eventually, she elects to show her journal to Mrs Carlyle, thereby revealing the abusive and illegal aspects of Shane’s behavior, igniting a chain of events which eventually culminates in her mother kicking Shane out of the house and stabbing him in the stomach with sewing scissors for hurting her girls. Afterwards, Tyler continues writing in the journal, revealing that her life and her personal relationships change for the better after Shane’s expulsion from the house. She is normally a quiet, reserved girl, reluctant to express her needs and wants to others. She is a gifted artist, and spends much of the story dreaming of a set of high-quality artists’ pencils (the Derwents for which the story is named), which she receives as a Christmas gift from her sister at the end of the story.

Tyler Quotes in Seventy-Two Derwents

The Seventy-Two Derwents quotes below are all either spoken by Tyler or refer to Tyler. 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:
Relationships and Intimacy Theme Icon
). Note: all page numbers and citation info for the quotes below refer to the Read How You Want edition of Seventy-Two Derwents published in 2013.
Seventy-Two Derwents Quotes

Mrs Carlyle has two budgies, a boy and a girl, and they have built a nest. If they have baby budgies and if I’m allowed she will give me one. You have to wait until they’re old enough to leave the nest before you can take them away from their parents because they need special looking after. In my mind I can picture this ... after she says this, when I walk back into class and down to my desk, I feel my skin buzzing like someone stroked it.

Related Characters: Tyler (speaker), Mrs Carlyle
Related Symbols: Mrs Carlyle’s Budgies
Page Number: 225-6
Explanation and Analysis:

Mrs Carlyle told us that when you are training your dog you need to say the same thing over and over until the dog gets it. He wants to do the right thing, he just doesn’t know it at first. She says it’s the same with training a bird to talk, you have to say the same thing again and again so they learn. That’s true and maybe it’s true for people too.

Related Characters: Tyler (speaker), Tyler and Ellie’s Mother, Mrs Carlyle
Page Number: 226
Explanation and Analysis:

In cartoons time passes really fast and sudden. Also, things happen that aren’t true. Like a cat will be running along and will go through the wall and there will be an exactly cat-shaped hole left behind in the wall. Mum’s old boyfriend Gary threw a bottle at the wall once and it didn’t leave a shape like that it just smashed.

Related Characters: Tyler (speaker), Tyler and Ellie’s Mother, Shane
Page Number: 229
Explanation and Analysis:

I said I love her, I love her crown, thank you. Aunty Jacinta leaned over and gave me a hug and she smelled so nice, not like perfume but just cups of tea and shampoo, and she said softly she doesn’t have to be Cinderella, Tyler, you can give her a new name if you like. Then my mum jumped up and said are we allowed to have a glass of wine or do we have to say grace first round here.

Related Characters: Tyler (speaker), Tyler and Ellie’s Mother, Aunty Jacinta
Page Number: 232
Explanation and Analysis:

When she and Mum fight Mum says set your sister a good example, and Ellie says I’m setting her the best example I can, which is how to get the fuck out of here.

Related Characters: Tyler (speaker), Ellie, Tyler and Ellie’s Mother
Page Number: 239
Explanation and Analysis:

I didn’t know Ellie has bad dreams too. Sometimes I dream of a wolf. He’s coming for me and his eyes are on fire and he’s looking everywhere for me but he can’t find me. I don’t tell Ellie about this but I say sometimes I feel like I have a stone inside my stomach. Ellie doesn’t say anything for a while then she says, hey, what are those pencils called that you like? I tell her Derwents and she says we’ll get you those, you wait.

Related Characters: Ellie (speaker), Tyler, Shane
Related Symbols: Derwent Pencils
Page Number: 240
Explanation and Analysis:

Just before when I was going to bed Mum said let’s have a secret, you don’t have to go to school tomorrow, Tyler. I will ring up and tell them you are sick and you can stay here and help me finish the Plushies. It is the same as when Shane leans down and whispers, grown-ups can make their voices go all soft and excited like it’s a big special secret to share just with you, they know just how to make kids feel happy but it’s never what you think. I felt the stones in my stomach because I remembered that tomorrow is the first orientation day for Grade 6s to go over to the senior campus to visit but I just said yes.

Related Characters: Tyler (speaker), Tyler and Ellie’s Mother, Shane
Page Number: 243
Explanation and Analysis:

I said if I put my hand into the nest now would the mother bird bite me? And she looked so sad at me and nodded. We fed the birds and then she drove me back to the mall.

Related Characters: Tyler (speaker), Mrs Carlyle
Related Symbols: Mrs Carlyle’s Budgies
Page Number: 257
Explanation and Analysis:

My pencils have student quality written on the packet but the Derwent pencils are for real artists and that is why they’re special. I would feel special and proud to have them, like when Aunty Jacinta wrote in her letter, we think you’re wonderful.

Related Characters: Tyler (speaker), Tyler and Ellie’s Mother
Related Symbols: Derwent Pencils
Page Number: 248
Explanation and Analysis:

If your budgie’s eggs hatch please will you call one of the babies Alicia. One day I will get an aviary and then I will come and get her, Mrs Carlyle. That’s my promise.

Related Characters: Tyler (speaker), Mrs Carlyle
Related Symbols: Mrs Carlyle’s Budgies
Page Number: 263-4
Explanation and Analysis:
Get the entire Seventy-Two Derwents LitChart as a printable PDF.
Seventy-Two Derwents PDF

Tyler Character Timeline in Seventy-Two Derwents

The timeline below shows where the character Tyler appears in Seventy-Two Derwents. The colored dots and icons indicate which themes are associated with that appearance.
Seventy-Two Derwents
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Tyler tells the reader that they are reading her journal. Her schoolteacher, Mrs Carlyle, has given... (full context)
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Mrs Carlyle tells Tyler about her two pet budgies. She promises that if they ever lay eggs, she will... (full context)
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Tyler writes that, if Mrs Carlyle does give her one of the baby budgies, she will... (full context)
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Later, Tyler’s mother asks Tyler for her opinion of her boyfriend, Shane. Tyler responds noncommittally. When Shane... (full context)
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Tyler recalls an incident when she asked her mother for money to buy a hamburger. Her... (full context)
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Tyler recalls Mrs Carlyle telling her class that training a dog to behave, or training a... (full context)
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At dinner, Shane watches The Simpsons with Tyler while her mother prepares the meal. He asks her questions about her age, and prods... (full context)
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Tyler writes that she doesn’t have or want a boyfriend—what she wants is a set of... (full context)
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Back in the present, Shane continues pressing Tyler to admit that she has a boyfriend. Tyler thinks about how strangely time and space... (full context)
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Later, Shane is attempting to fix Tyler’s mother’s Subaru, and he complains about the quality of the car. Tyler adds that Ellie,... (full context)
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Tyler thinks about what she’d do if her friend Georgia came over to her house. She... (full context)
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Mrs Carlyle asks Tyler’s class who’s been writing in their journals. Since nobody raises their hands, Tyler doesn’t, either.... (full context)
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Tyler describes a Christmas gift of her own, a doll that her Aunty Jacinta made by... (full context)
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Tyler describes her gratitude when she received the doll from Aunty Jacinta, and how nice her... (full context)
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...shit.” Ellie refused to confirm this, and her mother began to justify herself at length. Tyler describes her mother’s resentment towards other members of her family, including Aunty Jacinta and Tyler’s... (full context)
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Tyler recalls writing a card to Aunty Jacinta last Christmas. Her aunt responded warmly, calling her... (full context)
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Watching cartoons on Saturday morning, Tyler sees Shane in front of the TV. Shane insists that she read his ankle tattoo,... (full context)
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On Tyler’s birthday, Tyler’s grandmother gives her a tin of colored pencils, but they are not the... (full context)
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Shane does not attend Tyler’s birthday because her mother hasn’t introduced him to Tyler’s grandmother yet. Ellie presses her on... (full context)
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Tyler’s mother claims that she will soon be hired for a sewing job. She sews with... (full context)
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Tyler prepares dinner while her mother works. She then works on her school project in her... (full context)
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Tyler describes her mother’s dolls, comparing them to “cartoon monsters.” She checks in on Ellie, who... (full context)
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Shane comes for dinner, and Tyler senses that he’s in a “mean mood.” He mocks her mother’s dolls. Later, she hears... (full context)
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Ellie says she keeps a small stone under her pillow to ward off bad dreams. Tyler writes that she sometimes dreams of being hunted by a wolf, but doesn’t tell Ellie.... (full context)
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Mrs Carlyle mentions that the puppy liked sleeping in baskets of old laundry. Tyler compares the puppy cuddling with Mrs Carlyle’s old clothes to the way people might cuddle... (full context)
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Tyler’s mother continues working on the dolls, complaining that Shane doesn’t do more to help her.... (full context)
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Tyler’s mother seems dejected about her progress on the dolls, and Tyler writes that they look... (full context)
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Tyler’s mother tells Tyler she’d like her to stay home from school the next day to... (full context)
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Ellie is upset with her mother for keeping Tyler home from school, worrying that that this will mean Tyler is forced to spend more... (full context)
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Tyler and her mother work on the dolls all day. When Ellie comes home, she wakes... (full context)
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Tyler recalls Ellie telling her that their two older brothers, Zac and Dylan, were sent to... (full context)
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Some time later, Tyler asks her mother to drive her to the mall so she can try to buy... (full context)
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Tyler and her mother visit the shop to which her mother sold the dolls. They aren’t... (full context)
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Later, alone with Shane, Tyler passes him a call from his parole officer. Shane takes the call, then asks Tyler... (full context)
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...her students if anyone would volunteer to submit their journal. No students do, but when Tyler is waiting for Ellie to pick her up, she writes that she’s going to submit... (full context)
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Two nights later, after Tyler has gotten her journal back from Mrs Carlyle, Tyler wants to tell Ellie about Shane... (full context)
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Mrs Carlyle shows Tyler her aviary, adding that the mother bird has laid eggs, and that she still intends... (full context)
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Later, Tyler’s mother receives an apron from her Centrelink sewing course and proudly shows it to her... (full context)
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Later, Shane bursts into the house screaming for Tyler, complaining that he’s now violated his parole thanks to her tattling on him to her... (full context)
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Tyler’s mother weakly attempts to calm Shane, but Tyler gathers that she won’t do anything to... (full context)
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Ellie tells Shane she’s called the police. Shane violently throws her against the wall, and Tyler observes that her sister didn’t leave a body-shaped hole in the wall like in cartoons.... (full context)
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Shane begins insulting Tyler as well. Tyler imagines hearing Ellie’s voice admonishing her not to respond, since responding would... (full context)
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Shane grabs a knife and threatens Tyler’s mother, telling her that he’s stabbed others before. Tyler imagines Ellie telling her that it’s... (full context)
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Tyler now addresses her journal to Mrs Carlyle, explaining that she’s writing using the Derwent pencils... (full context)
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Tyler realizes that Mrs Carlyle will no longer be her teacher in the following year, but... (full context)