Meet the Character’s of Behind The White Gate.
Bird is our main character, who we follow through a lot of life choices. The kind that you never imagine having to make or go through. The kind that have to be made because circumstances happen that aren’t in the plan. Bird is named so by her parents, wether her given name or her nickname it is never explained. But she is known by her family as the flighty one. The one who flew the nest and the one who wants to run away from the problems of life itself. She runs, though, until she has run so much that she run’s smack into facing them. Her own personality is a blend of all of the personalities of the women in her house hold, as well as her father’s who is a prominent figure in the story. She is a writer who had left Galveston at an early age and now comes back to a place she never thought she’d ever see again. She faces a lot of pain and family trauma while facing a lot of pain, trauma and choices and life circumstances of adulthood that isn’t always bright and shiny and “better than your parents did it.” In doing so she come’s to recognize that what she thought she knew wasn’t it at all and what she hold’s her anger at needs to be let go of. An understanding of life and individual’s and choice’s and action’s happen that can’t be avoided emerge for Bird.
Bird’s Mother is the person who Bird thinks she ran from Galveston because of, but comes to learn who her mother really is and why she is the way she is. Why many things happened in Bird’s childhood that she didn’t understand and grew an anger toward. Her mother, who wasn’t a rock steady or loving and supportive person in her childhood, in her view, becomes one now as Bird is an adult woman going through the shit that life throw’s at you that you didn’t ask for. Full of a quiet wisdom and advice of a woman who’s been there and done that. A woman who teaches Bird that life keeps going and you keep going with it when you want, and even attempt, to give up.
Sas is Birds older sister. The hard nutshell who is a quiet and steely kind of woman. But not so quiet so that when she does speak it’s like a hammer on a nail. She is the typical no-nonsense oldest of the family. But also about the most hardened understanding, protective and defending in her quiet manner as well as the judgmental character of them all.
Mag is Bird’s younger sister by four years. She’s the bubbly and sweet peacemaker of the family. The nice one but who also looks up to her oldest sister Sas. She is the romantic and the nurturer of them all.
There are two younger sisters and I had wondered about their role at first…but having two that were separate in a way of age and time’s of life from the closer older three and who were closer to each other is something that I deal with in my own family and I liked the idea when it came up. I also liked that they brought in a different family element than any of the others had and without them I felt I would need to change some of the lives of Sas and Mag but that didn’t seem right. I also wanted someone in the family a little more detached form Bird herself. When Bird left home they were very young so there is less memory and therefor less attachment to her so they end up bringing just what dish is needed to the table to round out the meal.
The other two women in the family and Behind The White Gate are Bird’s two grandmothers, both her mothers and father’s mother’s. The mother’s are best friends themselves and both Island born. They all had moved into the house ( or rather into cottages on the property) before Bird’s father died and her father’s mother ends up playing a pretty strong role in that. Having the voice and presence of her maternal grandmother, the mother of the woman Bird hate’s most and understands least is also influential for the story.
Bird’s father is one of two of the main male characters, his presence is strong for Bird in her life. His love and kindness and wisdom and influence. He is her best friend.
Del is the romantic friend character to Bird of the story. He really is best explained as a steady rock which is needed most and an outside of the family viewpoint.
I should add in one other strong male influence, which is Bird’s husband, who dies early in the story but for whom the entire story end’s up wrapping around…or unwrapping from as Bird’s own life unwrap’s from him.
There are a few other characters from time to time, some even have quite a bit of spotlight for a moment and mean a lot for their time but are not a constant of the entire story, however, they are lovely folk’s to meet.