The Story of Tom Brennan

by

J. C. Burke

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Gran Character Analysis

Gran is Tom's grandmother. She lives on acreage in Coghill that she calls Saint Marguerite Bourgeouy's, after her favorite saint. However, Gran's love for saints isn't limited to Saint Marguerite; she's a stanch Catholic and her house is filled with pictures of saints, placed strategically throughout so that a saint's specialty might help a certain person. She agrees to let Dad, Mum, Tom, and Kylie live with her when they decide to leave Mumbilli. The transition is difficult at first, as Gran is a very poor cook and insists on things being done her way at her home. Tom and Kylie secretly call her "The Grandmother" because of this. Gran takes special offense to Mum's inability to get out of bed, and Tom thinks that Gran is purposefully guilt-tripping his family when she talks about Fin. As time goes on, however, Gran becomes aware that Tom doesn't like her cooking and she dedicates herself to doing better. This coincides with Mum being able to get up for longer periods of time and Tom also becoming more at home in Coghill. Tom decides to thank Gran for her help and her sacrifices for his family by building her a new chicken coop. She had chickens years ago, but was forced to get rid of them when Pa moved the tractor repair business to their property. As Tom undertakes this project, he comes to realize that Gran started to lean so heavily on religion because her marriage was extremely unhappy. The saints offered her a way to try to do something about Pa's gambling problems and offered her a sense of community she didn't have in her real life. At the end of the novel, she gives Tom plane tickets to Nepal for his birthday, thereby showing her impressive generosity.

Gran Quotes in The Story of Tom Brennan

The The Story of Tom Brennan quotes below are all either spoken by Gran or refer to Gran. 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:
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). Note: all page numbers and citation info for the quotes below refer to the Random House edition of The Story of Tom Brennan published in 2005.
Chapter Nine Quotes

"But remember your fellow man, Daniel, because life is more than just a one-man show. Everything we do in this life affects others. Did you think of that the night you got behind the wheel, your trusting passengers the loved ones of others? We think probably not."

Related Characters: Gran (speaker), Tom Brennan, Daniel Brennan, Dad, Mum, Kylie Brennan, Nicole
Page Number: 123
Explanation and Analysis:
Chapter Eleven Quotes

Us Brennans had a lot to ask for and not much reason to give thanks. But I was thankful. Mum was up.

Related Characters: Tom Brennan (speaker), Mum, Gran, Aunty Kath
Page Number: 157
Explanation and Analysis:
Chapter Twelve Quotes

Once, probably not that long ago, I'm not sure I could've gone back at all. But here I was sliding the drawer open.

Related Characters: Tom Brennan (speaker), Daniel Brennan, Gran
Page Number: 165
Explanation and Analysis:

"You could have told me. Do you think I couldn't see you fading away those first few weeks? Living on cereal, my goodness, you silly thing."

Related Characters: Gran (speaker), Tom Brennan
Page Number: 167
Explanation and Analysis:
Chapter Sixteen Quotes

Before, Brendan had been someone who was just always around. Someone I never really thought about. Mum's little brother. My uncle, that was about as far as it went. But that's when life was simpler.

Now Brendan wanted me to see him. See who he really was. This was probably the way Daniel saw him and now I did too.

Related Characters: Tom Brennan (speaker), Daniel Brennan, Mum, Gran, Brendan, Jonny Tulake
Page Number: 234
Explanation and Analysis:
Get the entire The Story of Tom Brennan LitChart as a printable PDF.
The Story of Tom Brennan PDF

Gran Character Timeline in The Story of Tom Brennan

The timeline below shows where the character Gran appears in The Story of Tom Brennan. The colored dots and icons indicate which themes are associated with that appearance.
Chapter One
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At dinner, Gran asks who's going to say grace. Tom notes that this isn't truly a question, as... (full context)
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...thinks that all of that is in the past now; today, his family is at Gran's while all of her paintings of saints watch over them. (full context)
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...pork. The pork is so overcooked that he can barely get through it. Finally, at Gran's direction, Brendan passes the knife to Dad. Tom wonders how Brendan can stand living on... (full context)
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A man's voice interrupts Tom's reverie, and Father Vincent walks into the dining room at Gran's invitation. Tom thinks that he's obviously only come for a meal and to stare at... (full context)
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...next day. Tom agrees to go, though he regrets it almost immediately when Dad and Gran decide to watch and decide that Kylie has to go too. Gran turns to Mum... (full context)
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Gran exclaims that she prays to Saint Jude every day to make Mum's life more tolerable... (full context)
Chapter Two
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...only place for Tom to plug in his game console is the lounge room, where Gran hosts prayer groups, there's nothing for Tom to do except lie on his bed and... (full context)
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In the truck on the way to the game, Kylie sits between Gran and Tom in the back. Tom can tell she's extremely angry. Dad and Brendan discuss... (full context)
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...lettuce off of his burger. Brendan introduces Shorty to Dad as Peter McGregor. Shorty greets Gran and then turns to Tom, whom he recognizes as a rugby player. Tom corrects Shorty... (full context)
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...coach at Bennie's. He shakes Tom's hand enthusiastically and Tom feels exhausted already. Tom watches Gran boss a young man around as he sets up her chair while Kylie pretends not... (full context)
Chapter Three
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Because Gran's house is so far out of town, Tom and Kylie are the last off the... (full context)
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Tom enters Gran's house and thinks it's dark and creepy. Dad is in the kitchen and cheerily invites... (full context)
Chapter Four
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Gran and Pa's property is called "Saint Marguerite Bourgeoy's" after Saint Marguerite, one of Gran's favorite... (full context)
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...Brendan brought a girl for lunch and overhearing Mum and Aunty Kath giggling about whether Gran prays to a patron saint of gay sons. (full context)
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Later, Gran cooks lamb fry, which smells awful. Tom decides to eat cereal. When Dad notices Tom... (full context)
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Gran asks Dad about his plans to take Mum and see Daniel the next day. She... (full context)
Chapter Five
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...during his first winter. Brendan sighs and explains that Jonny's mother is as religious as Gran and thinks alcohol is evil, so he didn't want her knowing the truth. (full context)
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...say "quadriplegic." Next to it is a picture of a saint. Fin introduces Tom to "Gran's boyfriend," Saint Osmond. They laugh until Fin says that Saint Osmond is the patron saint... (full context)
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...from rolling and lifting Fin. Brendan and Aunty Kath launch into a loud discussion of Gran's recent cooking disasters as a patient is wheeled into the room. The man starts to... (full context)
Chapter Six
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Back at Gran's house, the sound of her complaining about the price of lamb is a welcome distraction... (full context)
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...he wants to swim, but he decides the pool is better than being home for Gran's prayer group. The man at the gate played at the Australia Day touch game and... (full context)
Chapter Seven
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...ran an article last week that said the Brennans moved. At this, Tom lies that Gran is waiting for a call and ends the call. Tom curls into a ball and... (full context)
Chapter Eight
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..."the ascent." Tom explains that this is a steep mountain about a kilometer away from Gran's place. They used to go up in the truck for picnics as kids, and the... (full context)
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Tom is exhausted. Gran bustles around the kitchen as Tom rubs his calves, thinking he really is unfit. Gran... (full context)
Chapter Nine
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...sorry: he barely ate and spent most of his time crying. Then, one night when Gran and Brendan were visiting, Gran heard something at the door. Dad found a letter addressed... (full context)
Chapter Ten
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...in a bikini from a year ago and thinks he doesn't recognize the woman at Gran's house. Tom refuses to actually talk, and Brendan sarcastically tells Tom to stay silent, since... (full context)
Chapter Eleven
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...and most of the fridge was covered in mold. Kath furiously stirs her sauce as Gran walks in. She gives Tom a strange look when he greets her cheerily. Gran watches... (full context)
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...curled into a ball on the bed. Brendan sits with her, Aunty Kath paces, and Gran and Kylie stand against the wall. Kath and Gran explain that Daniel called, hoping to... (full context)
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Gran's house is quiet for the rest of the week, and Tom can't figure out why... (full context)
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...Brendan that he'd like to make Daniel a scrapbook for his birthday like the ones Gran used to make. Brendan thinks it's a great idea and tells him that the old... (full context)
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As Tom starts to head back to Gran's house, he notices a car at the gate to come up to the sheds. He... (full context)
Chapter Twelve
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On Thursday morning, Tom tries to keep a straight face as Gran tapes a picture of Saint Vitus, the patron saint of oversleeping, on the fridge. She... (full context)
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...friends and part of a team, but Tom cuts him off. He runs away towards Gran's house. Tom remembers the morning after Daniel's sentencing, when someone spray painted "SHAME ON YOU... (full context)
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Tom gets home after dark. He finds Dad, Gran, Mum, and Kylie at the table, Kylie in tears. Tom calls Kylie a stupid cow... (full context)
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...house in Mumbilli that they're going to accept. Dad sighs that they'll likely stay with Gran for a while longer and admits that he thinks Gran likes having them around. Tom... (full context)
Chapter Thirteen
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...Because everyone else is so preoccupied, Tom spends most of his time at home with Gran. One evening, he asks her if she misses her chickens. Gran lovingly reminisces about two... (full context)
Chapter Fourteen
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...that his teammates are hopeless. Brendan suggests they go out for steak and mentions that Gran gave him clothes for Tom—Jonny is coming too, and the plan is that Tom will... (full context)
Chapter Fifteen
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...and even offers to give Tom a loan in exchange for work in the sheds. Gran is making breakfast when Tom gets back to the house and sends Tom immediately to... (full context)
Chapter Sixteen
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...weekend. He looks around, asks where everyone is, and says he always used to call Gran's place "Saint Margalette the Butcher's." Finally, Tom says that his family members are either visiting... (full context)
Chapter Seventeen
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...come to the river at all last summer because of the memories. Tom notes that Gran says they need to leave their ghosts behind, but Brendan insists that you can't underestimate... (full context)
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Tom says that he wants to build Gran a chicken coop and get her some chickens, but says he'll need help. Brendan suggests... (full context)
Chapter Eighteen
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...finishes the chicken coop and buys three hens and a rooster. On the morning of Gran's birthday, he blindfolds Gran and leads her outside, Kylie, Mum, Brendan, and Dad close behind.... (full context)
Chapter Nineteen
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Tom's friends hassle him about having a birthday party, but Tom knows a party at Gran's house would be boring and he also wants to see Daniel. Brendan says that Daniel... (full context)
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Gran makes roast pork for Tom's birthday dinner and cooks it perfectly. Chrissy makes a cake... (full context)
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Tom asks her which saint was on the card. Gran says it was Saint Clare; she wants Father Vincent to find her a larger painting... (full context)
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...run without him, he's thrilled. Brendan talks about how hot it's going to be, and Gran asks Tom to check the chickens later, as one is laying. She gives Tom detailed... (full context)