The Story of Tom Brennan

by

J. C. Burke

Teachers and parents! Struggling with distance learning? Our Teacher Edition on The Story of Tom Brennan can help.

Mum Character Analysis

Tom's mother. She and Daniel have always been close, though Tom hesitates to call it favoritism when he talks about their relationship. In the weeks and months before the accident, Tom begin to notice that both Mum and Dad were afraid of disciplining Daniel when he dipped into one of his moods and became violent. Because of this, the town of Mumbilli blames Mum and Dad partially for Daniel's actions, as they believe they should've done something to curb his wild behavior sooner. Mum attempts to look for anything that would make Daniel look better or shift the blame elsewhere in the weeks between the accident and Daniel's final conviction. She attempts to blame Fin in part and is vocal about her belief that the accident was Claire's fault. Following Daniel's sentencing, Mum refuses to get out of bed and starts to neglect her hygiene. This is extremely disturbing for Tom, as he thinks that Mum smells like an elderly person and is barely recognizable. He notes at several points that when she's in this state, she's nothing like the beautiful and vibrant person she was before the accident. In reality, Mum is simply too overcome with grief to engage in daily life—though she does perk up after visits with Daniel. Mum turns the corner and begins to do better after her sister, Aunty Kath, accuses her of neglecting Tom and Kylie. Mum begins attending church and spends more time up and about, though Gran still feels the need to tape a picture of St. Vitus, the patron saint of oversleeping, to the fridge in the hope of helping Mum stay up longer. Mum seems well on her way to recovery by the end of the novel. Though Chrissy remarks that Mum is skinny and pale, Tom assures Chrissy that Mum is much better than she used to be.

Mum Quotes in The Story of Tom Brennan

The The Story of Tom Brennan quotes below are all either spoken by Mum or refer to Mum. 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:
Family Theme Icon
). 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 Three Quotes

I wandered down the hall in case Mum was awake. The door to her room was open. I stood there. Maybe Dad was telling the truth, maybe she had just gone to bed and was waiting to hear how my first day went. I stepped into the doorway. A thickness in the air hung still and stale.

She didn't see me. How could she under all those covers?

"Yeah, thanks Mum," I whispered. "School went okay."

Related Characters: Tom Brennan (speaker), Dad, Mum
Page Number: 49
Explanation and Analysis:
Chapter Seven Quotes

The thought of Dad hurting and the possibility that he could drop his bundle at any moment was too much for me to swallow.

Related Characters: Tom Brennan (speaker), Daniel Brennan, Dad, Mum, Kylie Brennan
Page Number: 103
Explanation and Analysis:
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 Sixteen Quotes

"They couldn't control Dan. They were scared of him. Well, scared of the consequences if they tried to pull him into line [...] Maybe Daniel was always going to do something like this. Maybe he had to fall this far."

Related Characters: Tom Brennan (speaker), Daniel Brennan, Dad, Fin, Mum, Kylie Brennan, Claire
Page Number: 230
Explanation and Analysis:

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

Mum Character Timeline in The Story of Tom Brennan

The timeline below shows where the character Mum appears in The Story of Tom Brennan. The colored dots and icons indicate which themes are associated with that appearance.
Prologue
Family Theme Icon
Friendship and Teamwork Theme Icon
Debt and Redemption Theme Icon
It's 4:30 a.m. on the 23rd of January. Quietly, Tom and his family—Dad, Mum, and Kylie—load the last of their bags and suitcases into their car. Tom waits for... (full context)
Chapter One
Family Theme Icon
Friendship and Teamwork Theme Icon
Debt and Redemption Theme Icon
...question, as she's staring at him. He begins, but Gran stops him to ask where Mum is. Kylie looks as though Gran is crazy, as Mum hasn't eaten at the table... (full context)
Family Theme Icon
Identity and Independence Theme Icon
Debt and Redemption Theme Icon
...them, as he's sure Gran has told everyone about Daniel. Father Vincent introduces himself to Mum, who refuses to look at him, and then Gran invites him to eat with the... (full context)
Family Theme Icon
Friendship and Teamwork Theme Icon
Identity and Independence Theme Icon
...Gran decide to watch and decide that Kylie has to go too. Gran turns to Mum and asks if she's coming, insisting that her silence isn't helping. Mum looks briefly at... (full context)
Friendship and Teamwork Theme Icon
Gran exclaims that she prays to Saint Jude every day to make Mum's life more tolerable and then rants about Daniel. Finally, she gets up and begins snatching... (full context)
Chapter Two
Friendship and Teamwork Theme Icon
...for him. Gran's house is covered in paintings of saints—Kylie's room has Saint Rose, while Mum and Dad have Saint Jane. (full context)
Family Theme Icon
Identity and Independence Theme Icon
...to play, but she'll have to sit with "The Grandmother" and talk. Kylie spits that Mum isn't coming and suggests that maybe she should do what Mum does and refuse to... (full context)
Friendship and Teamwork Theme Icon
Identity and Independence Theme Icon
Debt and Redemption Theme Icon
...and he's afraid that things won't be any different in Coghill than they were in Mumbilli. He passes Mum's room on the way out and sees her in bed, looking like... (full context)
Friendship and Teamwork Theme Icon
Identity and Independence Theme Icon
...Tom explains that Dad used to work as a mechanic and a rugby coach in Mumbilli, while Mum helped run the cafeteria—the Brennan family nearly ran the entire town. He looks... (full context)
Friendship and Teamwork Theme Icon
Identity and Independence Theme Icon
...Jonny." Jonny is huge and extremely handsome. He introduces himself to Tom and asks after Mum. Tom excuses himself and goes to find Dad. Dad introduces Tom to Michael Harvey, the... (full context)
Chapter Three
Family Theme Icon
Identity and Independence Theme Icon
Debt and Redemption Theme Icon
...Claire put up with it. Daniel would rage and then sulk, and Tom wondered if Mum and Dad were scared of him since they never tried to do anything about it. (full context)
Friendship and Teamwork Theme Icon
Identity and Independence Theme Icon
Debt and Redemption Theme Icon
...cheerily invites Tom to come with him and Kylie to the pool. Dad says that Mum is "having a lie down," which Tom knows means that she's been in bed all... (full context)
Chapter Four
Family Theme Icon
Debt and Redemption Theme Icon
...too. The sheds where they work stand where Gran's beloved chicken coop once was, and Mum believes Gran never got over having to get rid of the chickens. According to Daniel,... (full context)
Family Theme Icon
...he's gay. He remembers one Christmas that 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)
Family Theme Icon
...two spent a lot of time together. He notices a photo on Brendan's desk of Mum, Brendan, and Aunty Kath fishing as kids. He then notices another frame turned over; it... (full context)
Family Theme Icon
Gran asks Dad about his plans to take Mum and see Daniel the next day. She suggests that Tom go with Brendan to see... (full context)
Chapter Five
Friendship and Teamwork Theme Icon
Debt and Redemption Theme Icon
On Saturday, Mum and Dad drive to see Daniel while Brendan and Tom visit Fin. As Tom and... (full context)
Family Theme Icon
Identity and Independence Theme Icon
...that nobody tells him anything, and Brendan says that they don't actually know much—that's why Mum and Dad went alone today. Tom turns on the radio to end the conversation. He... (full context)
Chapter Six
Family Theme Icon
Friendship and Teamwork Theme Icon
Identity and Independence Theme Icon
Debt and Redemption Theme Icon
...most everyone believes Daniel got what he deserved. Tom heads down the hallway and sees Mum sitting on her bed. He notes that she usually is better for a day or... (full context)
Family Theme Icon
Identity and Independence Theme Icon
Debt and Redemption Theme Icon
Mum notices Tom and invites him in. She mentions that she's hardly seen him, and Tom... (full context)
Chapter Seven
Family Theme Icon
Friendship and Teamwork Theme Icon
Debt and Redemption Theme Icon
...28th of August was the first day of Tom's new life. Brendan arrived and took Mum to the police station. Kylie and Tom sat at home, and Tom could still smell... (full context)
Family Theme Icon
Debt and Redemption Theme Icon
...Daniel's solicitor, Dennis Talbot, came to visit for the first time. Late in the afternoon, Mum drove Tom to the station to give his statement. He was terrified and asked Mum... (full context)
Friendship and Teamwork Theme Icon
Debt and Redemption Theme Icon
For the next week, the Brennan house was chaotic. Mum was angry with everyone, while Daniel cried and threw up. They only ate because Matt's... (full context)
Friendship and Teamwork Theme Icon
...because it showed that Daniel accepted responsibility. This might mean his sentence would be shorter. Mum asked about the judges; Talbot said for the hundredth time that there were two possible... (full context)
Chapter Eight
Family Theme Icon
Identity and Independence Theme Icon
...who hated hills, would whine the entire way. This is also why the hill in Mumbilli was known as "Daniel's Whine"; Daniel would refuse to walk up after school and instead,... (full context)
Family Theme Icon
Debt and Redemption Theme Icon
...goes down the hall to investigate and returns, saying that Dad will eat later with Mum and that Kylie is out with Brianna. She serves up soggy meatloaf and Tom stirs... (full context)
Chapter Nine
Family Theme Icon
Identity and Independence Theme Icon
Debt and Redemption Theme Icon
...but felt checked out as Daniel's court date for sentencing, November 19, got closer. Though Mum and Dad did what they could to keep Daniel out of jail, Talbot made it... (full context)
Friendship and Teamwork Theme Icon
Debt and Redemption Theme Icon
...accident. Owen came around once or twice to see Daniel, and Claire visited as well. Mum and Kylie couldn't stand her visiting, but her visits made Dad and Tom feel as... (full context)
Friendship and Teamwork Theme Icon
Debt and Redemption Theme Icon
One night, Tom overheard Mum and Daniel talking. Mum was angrily insisting that Claire's visits weren't good for Daniel and... (full context)
Debt and Redemption Theme Icon
The morning of Daniel's hearing, Tom woke to the sound of Daniel vomiting. Later, Mum and Dad nearly turned green when Talbot told them that Judge Williams would hear Daniel's... (full context)
Chapter Ten
Family Theme Icon
Identity and Independence Theme Icon
Debt and Redemption Theme Icon
...is excited and nervous to see Daniel; it'll be the first time in six weeks. Mum shuffles into the kitchen, sits down next to Tom, and begins to rub his arm.... (full context)
Family Theme Icon
...the truck to the Westleigh Detention Center, Brendan laments that he can't do anything for Mum—she refuses help. When Brendan suggests that Tom talk to her, Tom can only say that... (full context)
Family Theme Icon
Debt and Redemption Theme Icon
...barely recognizes him and a lump rises in his throat. He realizes that Daniel and Mum look as though they're both struggling with the same depression and unwillingness to live. Tom... (full context)
Family Theme Icon
Identity and Independence Theme Icon
Debt and Redemption Theme Icon
...silence, Daniel starts to tremble and tells Tom that he's sorry he had to leave Mumbilli. Daniel bangs his head on the table and says he messed everything up; Tom tries... (full context)
Chapter Eleven
Debt and Redemption Theme Icon
...As she talks, Tom notices that she keeps looking down the hallway like she's expecting Mum to come out. Tom feels his appetite disappear when Kath mentions that Fin is looking... (full context)
Family Theme Icon
Debt and Redemption Theme Icon
...he greets her cheerily. Gran watches Kath for a moment and says she thought that Mum was going to help in the kitchen. Kath snarls that she also thought that. (full context)
Family Theme Icon
Identity and Independence Theme Icon
Debt and Redemption Theme Icon
The next afternoon, Dad and Tom arrive home to find everyone in Mum's room. Mum is curled into a ball on the bed. Brendan sits with her, Aunty... (full context)
Family Theme Icon
Friendship and Teamwork Theme Icon
...his good shirt. Tom refuses and is perplexed when Dad explains that both Gran and Mum are coming. Tom steps out of the bathroom and is shocked to see Mum showered... (full context)
Friendship and Teamwork Theme Icon
Identity and Independence Theme Icon
Mum keeps her composure and instead of taking communion, she kneels and prays. Tom is just... (full context)
Chapter Twelve
Friendship and Teamwork Theme Icon
Identity and Independence Theme Icon
...oversleeping, on the fridge. She insists that Saint Vitus might be able to help keep Mum up for longer periods of time. Gran offers to make Tom eggs, which he hastily... (full context)
Family Theme Icon
Friendship and Teamwork Theme Icon
Identity and Independence Theme Icon
Tom gets home after dark. He finds Dad, Gran, Mum, and Kylie at the table, Kylie in tears. Tom calls Kylie a stupid cow and... (full context)
Friendship and Teamwork Theme Icon
Identity and Independence Theme Icon
...the way home, Dad tells Tom that they got an offer on their house in Mumbilli that they're going to accept. Dad sighs that they'll likely stay with Gran for a... (full context)
Chapter Thirteen
Identity and Independence Theme Icon
...cry when he sees Fin in the wheelchair. Aunty Kath makes a wonderful cake and Mum even tries to look nice. Tom can feel the air get chilly when Mum and... (full context)
Family Theme Icon
Friendship and Teamwork Theme Icon
Identity and Independence Theme Icon
Debt and Redemption Theme Icon
Fin asks if Tom saw the stacks of birthday cards he got from people in Mumbilli. Tom quietly says he's sure everyone misses Fin and thinks that Fin is making it... (full context)
Chapter Fourteen
Family Theme Icon
Identity and Independence Theme Icon
For the weeks that Mum and Dad are with Daniel, Tom throws himself into running with Brendan. Tom either zones... (full context)
Family Theme Icon
...involves complicated travel plans that will allow Dad to coach the camp and not leave Mum alone. Tom feels as though half his life is spent in the car these days. (full context)
Chapter Fifteen
Family Theme Icon
Friendship and Teamwork Theme Icon
Debt and Redemption Theme Icon
...then head for Westleigh. Tom gets to see Daniel by himself the next morning while Mum and Dad meet with Daniel's social worker. Daniel doesn’t look well; Tom thinks that for... (full context)
Family Theme Icon
Friendship and Teamwork Theme Icon
Identity and Independence Theme Icon
Debt and Redemption Theme Icon
When Mum, Dad, and Tom get in the car, it's already getting dark. They stop for dinner... (full context)
Chapter Sixteen
Family Theme Icon
Debt and Redemption Theme Icon
Tom says that Dad was under intense pressure, and Mum and Dad knew they couldn't control Daniel. Tom wonders if Daniel just needed to fall... (full context)
Family Theme Icon
Debt and Redemption Theme Icon
Mum, Kylie, and Tom make dinner a few days later. It's the first time Mum has... (full context)
Chapter Seventeen
Family Theme Icon
Identity and Independence Theme Icon
Debt and Redemption Theme Icon
...thinks that Brendan held the family together by taking pressure off of Dad, especially when Mum got bad. He thanks Brendan for staying. After a few minutes, Brendan says he didn't... (full context)
Chapter Eighteen
Family Theme Icon
Identity and Independence Theme Icon
Debt and Redemption Theme Icon
...Tom knows now that what he missed the most the last year was himself, not Mum or Fin or Daniel or Mumbilli. (full context)
Family Theme Icon
Identity and Independence Theme Icon
Debt and Redemption Theme Icon
Mum, Dad, and Tom return home for the last week of the school holiday. Kylie stays... (full context)
Family Theme Icon
Debt and Redemption Theme Icon
...chicken coop with Chrissy and Brendan. One afternoon Chrissy and Tom discuss being monogamous, but Mum interrupts them with cold drinks. Tom drinks his and gives Mum the look to leave.... (full context)
Family Theme Icon
Identity and Independence Theme Icon
Chrissy suggests that that's a good thing, but Tom admits he didn't see Mum as a real person then—he only noticed that she was going gray and smelled. Tom... (full context)
Friendship and Teamwork Theme Icon
...rooster. On the morning of Gran's birthday, he blindfolds Gran and leads her outside, Kylie, Mum, Brendan, and Dad close behind. They pull the blindfold off and Gran stares at the... (full context)
Chapter Nineteen
Family Theme Icon
Identity and Independence Theme Icon
Debt and Redemption Theme Icon
The day before Tom's birthday, he drives to see Daniel with Mum and Brendan. It's a week after the anniversary of the accident, and Tom thinks he... (full context)
Identity and Independence Theme Icon
Brendan and Tom visit with Daniel while Mum talks to the social worker. Daniel wants to know about Chrissy and jokes that they've... (full context)
Debt and Redemption Theme Icon
Mum arrives and says that the social worker told her that Daniel is doing a great... (full context)