Seventy-Two Derwents

by

Cate Kennedy

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Tyler and Ellie’s Mother Character Analysis

An ambiguous and complicated figure, Tyler and Ellie’s mother dominates a great deal of her daughters’ lives. Ellie and Tyler are the youngest of her five children; earlier, she had two boys, Zac and Dylan, and a daughter, Tegan. Zac and Dylan both had juvenile criminal records, ran away from home, and ultimately grew up with other families; Tegan was taken away because of abuse by Tyler’s mother’s previous boyfriend. With her remaining two children, she is both warm and domineering, affirming her affection for them but constantly demanding their affirmation and support. She relies heavily on her children: both Ellie and Tyler commit a great deal of time to helping her make handmade dolls to sell in a local shop, and she receives an unspecified part of Ellie’s wages from Subway. She resents her sister (Aunty Jacinta) and mother (Tyler’s grandmother), convinced that they look down on her. She goes to great lengths to overlook Shane’s threatening and entitled behavior, seeking to keep the relationship intact at all costs. However, after he throws Ellie against a wall and tries to attack Tyler, she stabs him in the stomach with sewing scissors and kicks him out of the house, overcoming her insecurities for the sake of her daughters’ safety.

Tyler and Ellie’s Mother Quotes in Seventy-Two Derwents

The Seventy-Two Derwents quotes below are all either spoken by Tyler and Ellie’s Mother or refer to Tyler and Ellie’s Mother. 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 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:

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:

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:
Get the entire Seventy-Two Derwents LitChart as a printable PDF.
Seventy-Two Derwents PDF

Tyler and Ellie’s Mother Character Timeline in Seventy-Two Derwents

The timeline below shows where the character Tyler and Ellie’s Mother appears in Seventy-Two Derwents. The colored dots and icons indicate which themes are associated with that appearance.
Seventy-Two Derwents
Relationships and Intimacy Theme Icon
Power and Powerlessness Theme Icon
Repression Theme Icon
Later, Tyler’s mother asks Tyler for her opinion of her boyfriend, Shane. Tyler responds noncommittally. When Shane arrives... (full context)
Power and Powerlessness Theme Icon
Repression Theme Icon
Tyler recalls an incident when she asked her mother for money to buy a hamburger. Her mother insisted that Tyler wait in the kitchen... (full context)
Relationships and Intimacy Theme Icon
Power and Powerlessness Theme Icon
At dinner, Shane watches The Simpsons with Tyler while her mother prepares the meal. He asks her questions about her age, and prods her about whether... (full context)
Relationships and Intimacy Theme Icon
Repression Theme Icon
Escape Theme Icon
...has a set, and Tyler describes their high quality and texture. She recalls taking her grandmother to the art store and asking for them as a birthday present, then she lists... (full context)
Relationships and Intimacy Theme Icon
Power and Powerlessness Theme Icon
...leave holes shaped like their bodies in the wall behind them. She recalls that her mother’s old boyfriend Gary once threw a bottle at a wall in their house, but “it... (full context)
Relationships and Intimacy Theme Icon
Power and Powerlessness Theme Icon
Escape Theme Icon
Later, Shane is attempting to fix Tyler’s mother’s Subaru, and he complains about the quality of the car. Tyler adds that Ellie, her... (full context)
Power and Powerlessness Theme Icon
Escape Theme Icon
...careful to do her homework, and she mentions how much she enjoys sketching, although her mother doesn’t consider it a useful skill. She hopes that, if Georgia came over, her mother... (full context)
Relationships and Intimacy Theme Icon
Escape Theme Icon
...by hand and gave to Tyler for Christmas two years ago. At the time, Tyler’s mother laughed at the doll and attempted to make fun of it with Tyler’s older brother... (full context)
Relationships and Intimacy Theme Icon
...smelled. When Aunty Jacinta began helping Tyler think of names for her new doll, Tyler’s mother got up abruptly. (full context)
Relationships and Intimacy Theme Icon
Escape Theme Icon
On the way back from Christmas, Zac asked their mother to drop him off at the station, despite her reluctance to let him leave on... (full context)
Relationships and Intimacy Theme Icon
Trust Theme Icon
Escape Theme Icon
...warmly, calling her “wonderful” and sending Tyler her phone number, despite the fact that Tyler’s mother already had it. Tyler decided to name her doll Calypso. (full context)
Relationships and Intimacy Theme Icon
On Tyler’s birthday, Tyler’s grandmother gives her a tin of colored pencils, but they are not the Derwents. Tyler compares... (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 why she wants to... (full context)
Relationships and Intimacy Theme Icon
Tyler’s mother claims that she will soon be hired for a sewing job. She sews with an... (full context)
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Tyler prepares dinner while her mother works. She then works on her school project in her room, since her mother’s things... (full context)
Relationships and Intimacy Theme Icon
Power and Powerlessness Theme Icon
Escape Theme Icon
Tyler describes her mother’s dolls, comparing them to “cartoon monsters.” She checks in on Ellie, who is doing her... (full context)
Relationships and Intimacy Theme Icon
Escape Theme Icon
...comes for dinner, and Tyler senses that he’s in a “mean mood.” He mocks her mother’s dolls. Later, she hears her mother and Shane making noise in the halls. Her mother... (full context)
Relationships and Intimacy Theme Icon
Power and Powerlessness Theme Icon
Repression Theme Icon
Trust Theme Icon
Tyler’s mother continues working on the dolls, complaining that Shane doesn’t do more to help her. However,... (full context)
Trust Theme Icon
Tyler’s mother seems dejected about her progress on the dolls, and Tyler writes that they look “creepy... (full context)
Relationships and Intimacy Theme Icon
Power and Powerlessness Theme Icon
Trust Theme Icon
Tyler’s mother tells Tyler she’d like her to stay home from school the next day to help... (full context)
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Power and Powerlessness Theme Icon
Ellie is upset with her mother for keeping Tyler home from school, worrying that that this will mean Tyler is forced... (full context)
Relationships and Intimacy Theme Icon
Power and Powerlessness Theme Icon
Repression Theme Icon
Trust Theme Icon
Tyler and her mother work on the dolls all day. When Ellie comes home, she wakes Tyler up in... (full context)
Relationships and Intimacy Theme Icon
Power and Powerlessness Theme Icon
Trust Theme Icon
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Some time later, Tyler asks her mother to drive her to the mall so she can try to buy individual Derwents. Their... (full context)
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Tyler and her mother visit the shop to which her mother sold the dolls. They aren’t in the window,... (full context)
Power and Powerlessness Theme Icon
Repression Theme Icon
Escape Theme Icon
Later, Tyler’s mother receives an apron from her Centrelink sewing course and proudly shows it to her daughters... (full context)
Relationships and Intimacy Theme Icon
Power and Powerlessness Theme Icon
Trust Theme Icon
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Tyler’s mother weakly attempts to calm Shane, but Tyler gathers that she won’t do anything to defend... (full context)
Relationships and Intimacy Theme Icon
Power and Powerlessness Theme Icon
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...the wall like in cartoons. Ellie quickly stands up again and grabs a chair. Their mother quietly tells Shane to back off. Shane begins insulting her, calling her “fucked in the... (full context)
Power and Powerlessness Theme Icon
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...voice admonishing her not to respond, since responding would lead him to hurt them. Her mother says, “you’d better get out of here,” but it is unclear whether she’s telling Shane... (full context)
Relationships and Intimacy Theme Icon
Power and Powerlessness Theme Icon
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Shane continues to mock their mother, claiming that Ellie hates her. Ellie shakes her head in denial. Her mother stares at... (full context)
Relationships and Intimacy Theme Icon
Power and Powerlessness Theme Icon
Trust Theme Icon
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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 an... (full context)
Relationships and Intimacy Theme Icon
Power and Powerlessness Theme Icon
Repression Theme Icon
Trust Theme Icon
Escape Theme Icon
...the Derwent pencils she received from Ellie as a Christmas gift. She reveals that her mother offered to send her wherever she wanted, and Tyler asked to go to her Aunt... (full context)