Warriors Don’t Cry

by

Melba Beals

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Thelma Mothershed Character Analysis

Another friend of Melba’s and a member of the Little Rock Nine whom Melba saw frequently. She is petite like Elizabeth Eckford, and has a “very pale complexion” and “wise eyes” that “peered through thick-lensed, horn-rimmed glasses.” Mothershed is burdened with a heart condition that changes her complexion “to a purplish hue” and forces her to lie down often and rest to catch her breath.
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Thelma Mothershed Character Timeline in Warriors Don’t Cry

The timeline below shows where the character Thelma Mothershed appears in Warriors Don’t Cry. The colored dots and icons indicate which themes are associated with that appearance.
Chapter 3
Racism and Living Under Jim Crow Theme Icon
The Cost of Non-Conformity Theme Icon
The other students include Ernest Green, the eldest, Terrence Roberts, Jefferson Thomas, Elizabeth Eckford, Thelma Mothershed, Melba’s “special friend” Minnijean Brown, Carlotta Walls, and Gloria Ray. They all come from... (full context)
Chapter 6
Racism and Living Under Jim Crow Theme Icon
Thelma Mothershed, who has a heart condition, begins to turn blue and struggles to breathe, exhibiting... (full context)
Racism and Living Under Jim Crow Theme Icon
The Cost of Non-Conformity Theme Icon
...“on the basis of scholarship, personal conduct, and health.” Melba wonders if he knows about Thelma’s heart condition. Ernest Green and Elizabeth Eckford turn out to be the only students who... (full context)
Chapter 7
Racism and Living Under Jim Crow Theme Icon
The Cost of Non-Conformity Theme Icon
...Mrs. Huckaby hands them their schedules and instructs them to wait for their guides. Suddenly, Thelma has another attack. The students are concerned but Mrs. Huckaby rushes them out. (full context)
Chapter 8
Racism and Living Under Jim Crow Theme Icon
The Cost of Non-Conformity Theme Icon
...several of them smile and nod at her. She worries that people see her differently. Thelma and Minnijean also inspect the soldiers. Other students mill about and Melba wonders what they... (full context)
Racism and Living Under Jim Crow Theme Icon
Danny takes Melba to Mrs. Huckaby’s office. Carlotta and Thelma are already there. Mrs. Huckaby says that, from now on, she will escort the girls... (full context)
Racism and Living Under Jim Crow Theme Icon
Passive vs. Violent Resistance Theme Icon
Over lunch, a couple of friendly white girls sit with Melba, Thelma, and Carlotta. They say that many of their friends stay away because they fear the... (full context)
Chapter 9
Racism and Living Under Jim Crow Theme Icon
Passive vs. Violent Resistance Theme Icon
The Cost of Non-Conformity Theme Icon
...go into the auditorium with her. When Melba settles into a seat, she sees that Thelma Mothershed is just a few feet away. Still, Melba is afraid of what could happen... (full context)
Chapter 11
Racism and Living Under Jim Crow Theme Icon
...Minnijean the opportunity” and, therefore, were not clear about the terms of participating. Melba and Thelma try their best to console her. (full context)
Chapter 12
Racism and Living Under Jim Crow Theme Icon
The Cost of Non-Conformity Theme Icon
...Minnijean wages a second battle to appear with the choral group in the Christmas program. Thelma and Melba try to talk her out of it, to no avail. (full context)
Chapter 17
Racism and Living Under Jim Crow Theme Icon
Relationships, Romance, and Empathy  Theme Icon
...Rock.” Melba tells Mother Lois and Grandma India that there is “a big emergency” with Thelma, permitting her to drive to meet Link. It is a “dismal” part of town where... (full context)