Translations

by

Brian Friel

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Bridget Character Analysis

Another student at the Baile Beag hedge school her twenties. She is described as a plump, vain, yet good-natured person with “a countrywoman’s cunning.” She is learning to write and tells the other students the new laws about the national school, including that it will teach everything in English. Bridget frequently fears a “sweet smell” that foreshadows the impending Irish potato famine.

Bridget Quotes in Translations

The Translations quotes below are all either spoken by Bridget or refer to Bridget. 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:
All Translation Is Interpretation Theme Icon
). Note: all page numbers and citation info for the quotes below refer to the Farrar, Straus and Giroux edition of Translations published in 1995.
Act 1 Quotes

Bridget: Did you know that you start at the age of six and you have to stick at it until you're twelve at least — no matter how smart you are or how much you know.

Doalty: Who told you that yarn?

Bridget: And every child from every house has to go all day, every day, summer or winter. That's the law.

Doalty: I'll tell you something — nobody's going to go near them — they're not going to take on — law or no law.

Bridget: And everything's free in them. You pay for nothing except the books you use […] And from the very first day you go, you'll not hear one word of Irish spoken. You'll be taught to speak English and every subject will be taught through English and everyone'll end up as cute as the Buncrana people.

Related Characters: Doalty (speaker), Bridget (speaker), Manus
Page Number: 19
Explanation and Analysis:
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Bridget Character Timeline in Translations

The timeline below shows where the character Bridget appears in Translations. The colored dots and icons indicate which themes are associated with that appearance.
Act 1
All Translation Is Interpretation Theme Icon
Colonialism and Cultural Imperialism Theme Icon
Doalty and Bridget, two students in their twenties, enter noisily. Doalty carries a surveyor’s pole and does an... (full context)
Language, Culture, and Identity Theme Icon
Colonialism and Cultural Imperialism Theme Icon
Everyone settles down for class, and Bridget asks if anyone knows the name of Nellie Ruadh’s baby, who was christened earlier that... (full context)
Language, Culture, and Identity Theme Icon
Colonialism and Cultural Imperialism Theme Icon
Bridget off-handedly mentions soldiers making maps while talking about the “sweet smell,” indicating crop rot. Maire... (full context)
All Translation Is Interpretation Theme Icon
Language, Culture, and Identity Theme Icon
Colonialism and Cultural Imperialism Theme Icon
...ritual of naming.” Hugh also asks where the Donnelly twins are; after a brief pause, Bridget says they’re probably at “the turf” before changing the subject to how much she owes... (full context)
Language, Culture, and Identity Theme Icon
Colonialism and Cultural Imperialism Theme Icon
As Hugh quizzes Bridget on Latin conjugations, Maire gets to her feet and asserts they should all be learning... (full context)
Act 3
All Translation Is Interpretation Theme Icon
Language, Culture, and Identity Theme Icon
Colonialism and Cultural Imperialism Theme Icon
...where Hugh is. She mimes rocking a baby, but Owen does not understand the gesture. Bridget and Doalty enter loudly and say that fifty more soldiers have arrived and are looking... (full context)
Colonialism and Cultural Imperialism Theme Icon
Owen asks Bridget and Doalty if they saw Yolland and Maire leave the dance together. They confirm that... (full context)
Language, Culture, and Identity Theme Icon
Colonialism and Cultural Imperialism Theme Icon
Bridget confuses the smell of burning tents with the “sweet smell” of potato blight, then runs... (full context)