The Blind Side


Michael Lewis

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Denise Oher Character Analysis

The mother of Michael Oher, Denise is largely a peripheral presence in The Blind Side, and in Michael Oher’s own life. Denise lives in an impoverished part of Memphis, Tennessee, and for most of her adult life, is addicted to crack. She gives birth to many children, but fails to take care of them, spending any money she can find on her drug habit. As a result, many of Denise’s children, including Michael, are taken to live in foster homes. On the few occasions when Michael visits Denise as an adult, Denise is drunk and disorderly, and seems to show little love for her child.

Denise Oher Quotes in The Blind Side

The The Blind Side quotes below are all either spoken by Denise Oher or refer to Denise Oher. 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:
Generosity Theme Icon
). Note: all page numbers and citation info for the quotes below refer to the W. W. Norton & Company edition of The Blind Side published in 2007.
Chapter 11 Quotes

As [Denise] had no income except for whatever the government sent her on the first of each month, the children had no money for provisions. They had no food or clothing, except what they could scrounge from churches and the street. Surprisingly often, given the abundance of public housing in Memphis, they had no shelter. When asked what he recalls of his first six years, Michael said, “Going for days having to drink water to get full. Going to other people’s houses and asking for something to eat. Sleeping outside. The mosquitoes.”

Related Characters: Michael Oher (speaker), Denise Oher
Page Number: 296
Explanation and Analysis:
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Denise Oher Character Timeline in The Blind Side

The timeline below shows where the character Denise Oher appears in The Blind Side. The colored dots and icons indicate which themes are associated with that appearance.
Chapter 6: Inventing Michael
Left Tackle, Protection, and Shifting Strategy Theme Icon
Racism and Outsiderness Theme Icon
...Leigh Anne drives him to the house where she leaves. Michael’s mother, whose name is Denise, is very drunk, and doesn’t invite them inside. Michael says nothing to his mother. With... (full context)
Chapter 8: Character Courses
Football Industry and Culture Theme Icon
Racism and Outsiderness Theme Icon
...and his family—the Tuohys, as well as Big Tony—are present to cheer for him. However, Denise, Michael’s mother, doesn’t come. When Michael Oher’s name is called, Sue Mitchell cries and Leigh... (full context)
Chapter 10: The Egg Bowl
Racism and Outsiderness Theme Icon
...Michael Oher continues to feel lonely and insecure about his family. He goes to visit Denise, but when he arrives, he finds the police arresting his mother for driving a stolen... (full context)
Chapter 11: Freak of Nurture
Racism and Outsiderness Theme Icon
When Michael Oher’s mother, Denise, was a young girl, her father was murdered. Her mother was an alcoholic, and eventually... (full context)
Racism and Outsiderness Theme Icon
Denise’s brother, Robert Oher, murdered his wife after his wife told him she wanted a divorce.... (full context)
Racism and Outsiderness Theme Icon
Michael Oher and his brothers lived in squalor: every month, the government would send Denise a check, and afterwards, she’d disappear to spend the money on crack cocaine. Michael and... (full context)
Racism and Outsiderness Theme Icon sitting on him. Two nights after being sent to Velma, Michael ran away to Denise, who took him back to Velma. Michael ran away many more times in the next... (full context)
Racism and Outsiderness Theme Icon
...missed his mother, in spite of her neglectfulness. Michael escaped from St. Joseph’s and found Denise again, this time living in a housing project called Hurt Village. By 1996, Hurt Village... (full context)
Chapter 12: And Moses Stuttered
Generosity Theme Icon
Left Tackle, Protection, and Shifting Strategy Theme Icon
Football Industry and Culture Theme Icon
Racism and Outsiderness Theme Icon
...success, Michael Oher gets lots of calls from poor friends, many of whom want money. Denise calls him more than she ever has. It occurs to Michael that many of the... (full context)