What character did Francis carry on his shoulder in Ironweed?

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thetall eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Francis carried Rudy. Rudy was Francis’s fellow drinking mate with whom he worked at the cemetery digging graves. In the book, the author describes Rudy as a simple man widely regarded as crazy. He suffered from stomach cancer. In an unfortunate turn of events, while in the jungle, Francis and Rudy are attacked by a gang of legionnaires who are out to destroy a hobo jungle. Francis manages to fight and escapes with a cut on his cheek but Rudy is struck on the head with a club. He is incapacitated and can no longer walk so Francis carries him on his shoulders along the river road until they reach the downtown Memorial Hospital to seek medical assistance. Unfortunately, the attending nurse pronounces Rudy dead after checking for his pulse.

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