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Analysis of the Characters in Elizabeth Strout's 'Olive Kitteridge'

Paper Type: Free Essay Subject: English Literature
Wordcount: 1794 words Published: 24th Aug 2021

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This story begins with Henry`s regards of his job’s days which he enjoyed but he is not doing it anymore. He missed especially these mornings in which he had a lot of rituals to begin every morning`s job: entering the pharmacy`s back door, going about switching on the light, opening the safe, putting money in the register. This work could put any unpleasantness that he could fell out.

As Henry needed someone helped him, he hired a new girl, Denise Thibodeau, a little mousy -in Henry`s wife opinion- but who turned out very efficient and friendly girl. Henry very soon felt some kind of appreciation, not only by her, but by her husband too.

With the time this concerns became in love when Denise`s husband died and Henry had to help her a lot because she did not know how to live by herself. At the beginning Henry said to himself that his attentions were a normal friend`s worries; however, later on he understood that he had fell in love with her. He always thought what wonderful would be move to somewhere with Denise, despite he also knew that he could not leave his wife and having a littler girl with her. Sometimes he thought that she also would share her life with him, but they never talked about it.

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Jerry, a “simpleton” fat boy, who delivered the pharmaceuticals from Portland to Henry’s pharmacy, a good friend of Denise at the beginning of her tragedy, became Denise’s second husband. Henry could not believe when Denise told him she was going to married with Jerry. After all Henry was not the same kind, sweet, polite man because of all family problems; the only thing that made him happy was know that Denise was well and happy with her family (her husband and her children).


Kevin Coulson (an Olive Kitteridge’s seventh-grade student) moved far away of Crosby with his father and brother when he was thirteen and he never had came back to his childhood home until he decided back and have the opportunity to see Patty Howe, a girl that he knew in kindergarten. She had been scared of him and his mother for so long and she felt the same when she saw him in the bay.

Kevin drove to his childhood home because he lost his family and he needed to remember his home. He visited all that old places especially natural ones and actually touched it remembering how his mother had showed him to appreciate the nature.

Mrs. Kitteridge who was his seventh grade teacher came to greeting him, and invited herself to sit in his car, he did not want to, but due he respected her and he did not say anything. Mrs. Kitteridge brought him a lot of remembers that he wanted forget, remembers about his childhood, his died mother, his broken family. He did not want talk about that, but she asked, and asked, he had to make his hand fists in order to control himself, some of her questions made him to think about his actual life, which was not better that his sad childhood, without any score nor goal.

They talked about his career, he would like to be a pediatrician, but he had become a psychiatry because his behavior and his temper. It was in medicine school that he had been attracted to a crazy woman, Clara, who was nothing but trouble, the business of cutting herself- it had made him crazy.

While they were talking and remembering bad things, they saw Patty walking out to get some flowers, the wind had picked up, suddenly Mrs. Kitteridge leaned forward, and moving faster that he would have thought possible, she was out of the car, and had gone to the from of the marina, then she was shouting: Hurry up! Hurry! She pointed with her arm, and he saw the head of Patty rise briefly above the choppy water.

Kevin had to throw into the cold water in order to help Patty, when he felt how she hold him, how she grabbed to the life, he thought he would like that moment did not finish, oh, insane, ludicrous, unknowable world! He was astonished of her desire of to live.


In this story Angie O`Meara is presented as a beautiful middle age woman, who was born and grow up in Crosby, Maine, and who was too the piano player at the warehouse for many years. Angie had been in love with town`s first selectman, Malcolm Moody.

Angie was always frightened when she showed up at work, each night, so she never took a break, because she hated to get started again, and she began swallowing vodka before she get out of her house she loved play the piano, although she had never taken piano lessons, when she was young she played the church`s piano.

One night when she was playing piano in warehouse she knew, although she did not see him that Simon-a old boyfriend, who had hurt her in the past -was there, and suddenly she took a break, and called Malcolm for finish with their long-relationship, then she came back to the piano and played a song Simon had asked. “Bridge over Troubled Water”. Simon also played piano, but he did not have feeling to become a good piano player. She remembered when they used to go out with her mother and he told her beautiful words, then when he broke it off with Angie, he complained about he always had to date both, Angie and her mother.

Simon had came to hurt her again, but he could not do it, because she now understood the kind of person that he was, and for her, he was deserving of pity, as Malcolm did too; Angie thought that still, there were kind people in the world, so she took the decision of talk with Joe about her mother`s illness, something that she never had done with anybody.

Angie felt she had figured something out although it was too late, but she had kept alive herself , so she would stop thinking about hurt things.

Angie understood that she deserved better things in the life than Malcolm, Simon or her loneliness.


Christopher Kitteridge’s marriage with Susanne, who was from out of town, had olive- Christopher’s mother- uncomfortable and wishing that all finished.

Olive lied down on Christopher and Suzanne’s queen-size bed thinking about her dress and the grim clothes the Bernstein family was wearing, she could hear voices and sound made their way from the front of the house where the party was also going on she pictured heavy shoes stepping through the gladiola bed. She even imaged the house collapsing the house that she had built herself well she and Henry, so that Chris would have a decent place to live when he came back from Podiatry School. She liked to make things: dresses, garden, houses. She thought Chris appreciated this place.

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Although Olive wanted Chris found a good wife because she thought loneliness can kill people- in different ways could make you die. Olive’s private view is that life depends on what she thought of as “big bursts” and “little bursts” , big bursts were things like marriage, children, among others, which hold dangerous and unusual that is why we need the little bursts as well a friendly clerk and Bradlee’s or a kind waitress who know how you like you coffee.

Suddenly she heard Suzanne murmuring about her dress about Chris hard time due to he had been on only child she was in shock, what had Christopher said What had he remembered She loved this dress and she loved her son. It hurt her, what did Suzanne knew about them that made her judge them.

She remembered when his son told her “sometimes I thing about just ending it all” and how an uncanny echo of her father suicide made her fall sick.

She understood that she was not an easy mother but she loved her son that is why she took him to the doctor trying, to avoid her son did like her father. But know Dr. Sue is the center of his life and she could only see how a strange took him away but she didn’t go to stay without fight.


Harmon had seen Kathleen Burnham’s cousin and his girlfriend in the town and now they were at the Marina. Where Harmon stare them talked without care that everyone could hear. The girl was thinner than he would have though.

Harmon bought two doughnuts and left, he seemed sad for Daisy’s opinion when he arrive to her house with the doughnuts, they sat on the couch and talked about his sons and her last night dream in which she felt copper her death husband, came to visit her they talk about the young couple Harmon had seen in the town they love young people.

Bonnie, -Harmon’s wife- started braiding more rugs to sell in the shop in Portland she had joined a book club, she seemed full of a new energy that was something that Harmon never would imagined about her.

Something else happened when Derrick went off to college although their bedroom life had slowed considerably, it was unexpected for him when she, one night that he turned to her in bet, pulled away and said, “Harmon, I think I’m just done with that stuff”. They lay there in the dark, he asked her, done? She knew, he was hurt but she was just done.

Harmon read in the local paper that timothy Burnham and his girlfriend, Nina white had been arrested in a party where marijuana was found and that Nina had extra charge of assaulting a police officer.

Bonnie talked about the arrest and Nina’s illness, Harmon didn’t know that, so he asked “what do you mean sick?” Bonnie said him, that she had gotten the disease where you don’t eat anything and that had hurt her heart so “she really is an idiot” said Bonnie, are you sure?

Sunday when he got Daisy house, she said, in a hushed tone. “Nina’s asleep upstairs in the little room.” Daisy told him that the girl had knocked her door twice when she fought with her boyfriend, because she didn’t have a place to stay.

They heart a loud knocking, and immediately the door opened, the girl gave a whimper, spit the doughnut into Harmon’s handkerchief, and started to rise from her chair, Daisy tried to calm down again, “no dear it’s only a woman come to collect money for the Red Cross”. Olive Kitteridge said hello and asked Nina “who are you?” Nina answered “Who are you?” sarcastically. I’m Olive; she answered, and sat down exhausted.

Nina finally died, Daisy and Harmon were very sad. Harmon was thinking leave his wife and stay with Daisy, but before he wanted be sure that his heart could endure the misery that it would bring, so he went to his doctor, and told him what intentions he had, the doctor said him that it was not good for him and Harmon Knew that he was not good health, then he lived waiting bonnie left him because she could know his relationship with Daisy or when he left Bonnie.


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