The Yellow Birds

by

Kevin Powers

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Ladonna Murphy (Murph’s Mother) Character Analysis

Although initially reassured to note that Murph and Bartle are becoming friends, Murph’s mother also proves deeply worried about her son’s fate in Iraq and forces Bartle to promise that he will protect Murph’s life. After Murph’s death, she proves neither vengeful nor forgiving, still too overcome by grief to accept her son’s death in a peaceful way.

Ladonna Murphy (Murph’s Mother) Quotes in The Yellow Birds

The The Yellow Birds quotes below are all either spoken by Ladonna Murphy (Murph’s Mother) or refer to Ladonna Murphy (Murph’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:
War, Violence, and Detachment Theme Icon
). Note: all page numbers and citation info for the quotes below refer to the Little, Brown, and Company edition of The Yellow Birds published in 2012.
Chapter 9 Quotes

It probably wouldn’t matter what our level of culpability was. I was guilty of something, that much was certain, that much I could feel on a cellular level.

Page Number: 179
Explanation and Analysis:
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Ladonna Murphy (Murph’s Mother) Character Timeline in The Yellow Birds

The timeline below shows where the character Ladonna Murphy (Murph’s Mother) appears in The Yellow Birds. The colored dots and icons indicate which themes are associated with that appearance.
Chapter 2: December 2003 – Fort Dix, New Jersey
War, Violence, and Detachment Theme Icon
Memory and Trauma Theme Icon
John Bartle describes writing a letter to Ladonna Murphy , Murph’s mother. Murph dies ten months after Bartle meets him for the first time,... (full context)
War, Violence, and Detachment Theme Icon
Companionship vs. Solitude Theme Icon
Justice, Morality, and Guilt Theme Icon
...friends. Although Bartle does not want to be responsible for Murph, he finds himself promising Mrs. Murphy to bring her son back to her. Later, Sterling, who has overheard this conversation, confronts... (full context)
Chapter 8: October 2004 – Al Tafar, Nineveh Province, Iraq
Memory and Trauma Theme Icon
Companionship vs. Solitude Theme Icon
Justice, Morality, and Guilt Theme Icon
...he finds himself unable to understand Murph’s strange behavior and feels angry about having promised Mrs. Murphy to bring her son back home. (full context)
Chapter 9: November 2005 – Richmond, Virginia
War, Violence, and Detachment Theme Icon
Memory and Trauma Theme Icon
Justice, Morality, and Guilt Theme Icon
...will probably be sent to prison for five years for sending a fake letter to Mrs. Murphy . (full context)
Companionship vs. Solitude Theme Icon
Justice, Morality, and Guilt Theme Icon
...represents the entire army’s perspective. When the captain pulls out the letter that Bartle wrote Mrs. Murphy , Bartle concludes that he will accept whatever punishment he is given—for writing this letter,... (full context)
Chapter 10: October 2004 – Al Tafar, Nineveh Province, Iraq
War, Violence, and Detachment Theme Icon
Companionship vs. Solitude Theme Icon
Justice, Morality, and Guilt Theme Icon
...to decide. Bartle does not want to send such a destroyed body back home, where Murph’s mother would probably open the casket and see what happened to her son. Influenced by Bartle’s... (full context)
Chapter 11: April 2005 – Fort Knox, Kentucky
War, Violence, and Detachment Theme Icon
Memory and Trauma Theme Icon
Companionship vs. Solitude Theme Icon
Justice, Morality, and Guilt Theme Icon
One day, Murph’s mother comes to visit Bartle in prison. Although the two of them are initially uncomfortable, and... (full context)
Memory and Trauma Theme Icon
Companionship vs. Solitude Theme Icon
Justice, Morality, and Guilt Theme Icon
Mrs. Murphy explains that people soon tired of her desire to know why her son switched so... (full context)
Memory and Trauma Theme Icon
Companionship vs. Solitude Theme Icon
Justice, Morality, and Guilt Theme Icon
Although Bartle does not feel any sense of reconciliation from his meeting with Mrs. Murphy , he appreciates that she sincerely wants to understand what happened to Murph and why... (full context)
Memory and Trauma Theme Icon
Companionship vs. Solitude Theme Icon
In prison, Mrs. Murphy gave Bartle a map of Iraq, but after looking at it for a long time... (full context)