The Yellow Birds


Kevin Powers

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In stark contrast to Bartle’s depressed mind state, Luke, Bartle’ best friend since middle school, shows youthful optimism and energy, organizing expeditions to the river with friends while Bartle feels unable to socialize. Like Bartle’s other friends, Luke shows concern for him and tries to encourage him to get out of the house. He saves Bartle’s life when he calls 911 after seeing his friend fall asleep in the river.

Luke Quotes in The Yellow Birds

The The Yellow Birds quotes below are all either spoken by Luke or refer to Luke. 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 7 Quotes

What would I say? “Hey, how are you?” they’d say. And I’d answer, “I feel like I’m being eaten from the inside out and I can’t tell anyone what’s going on because everyone is so grateful to me all the time and I’ll feel like I’m ungrateful or something. Or like I’ll give away that I don’t deserve anyone’s gratitude and really they should all hate me for what I’ve done but everyone loves me for it and it’s driving me crazy.” Right.

Related Characters: John Bartle (speaker), Luke
Related Symbols: The Yellow Ribbon
Page Number: 144
Explanation and Analysis:
Get the entire The Yellow Birds LitChart as a printable PDF.
The Yellow Birds PDF

Luke Character Timeline in The Yellow Birds

The timeline below shows where the character Luke appears in The Yellow Birds. The colored dots and icons indicate which themes are associated with that appearance.
Chapter 7: August 2005 – Richmond, Virginia
War, Violence, and Detachment Theme Icon
Memory and Trauma Theme Icon
...One morning, his mother comes to him with the phone, telling him that his friend Luke is going to the river the next day with friends. Bartle asks her to tell... (full context)
Companionship vs. Solitude Theme Icon
Bartle wakes up in late morning. He hears music and noise nearby and sees Luke with a group of friends. Bartle washes off in the river and walks toward the... (full context)
War, Violence, and Detachment Theme Icon
Memory and Trauma Theme Icon
Companionship vs. Solitude Theme Icon get him out and pushing on his chest for him to spit water out. Luke had called 911 when he saw Bartle floating on the river. When the police arrived,... (full context)