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Last Updated September 5, 2023.

Bridge of Clay, written by Markus Zusak, is a story about five brothers. Their mother immigrated to America as a young girl. After the death of their mother, their father disappears. With their parents no longer around to influence and guide them, the family drifts apart. The oldest brother, Matthew Dunbar, writes about his family's life.

The main characters in this novel are the five Dunbar brothers: Matthew, Henry, Rory, Tommy, and arguably the most important brother in the story, Clay.

Matthew is the oldest sibling and is very responsible. The story is told from his point of view and is written later in his life when he has a family of his own.

Henry is the most conscious of the brothers and is seen as charming.

Rory is not very conscious and often gets into trouble. This trouble typically involves alcohol.

Tommy is a loving boy who often rescues small creatures and brings them home to be cared for by his family.

Clay Dunbar is the brother who works hard to build bridges between his family members—hence the title of the story. Clay also tries to find out the truth behind his father's disappearance. Clay's goal is to help his brothers find the peace of forgiveness and healing so that they are no longer affected by their parents' deaths.


Download PDF PDF Page Citation Cite Share Link Share

Last Updated September 5, 2023.

The main characters in Bridge of Clay are the five Dunbar boys.

Matthew is the eldest, the straightforward, responsible firstborn, and the story is told from his perspective later in life when he is married with children.

Clay is the small, quiet one who gives his name to the title. He is always running as if in training for something. He is the story collector. He is ultimately the one who builds the metaphorical bridge of the title and hopes that it withstands the floods that will eventually come.

Henry is the charming and money-conscious brother.

Rory is the rowdiest of the brothers and prone to drunken mischief.

Tommy is the lovable one who brings home pets and gives them names from Greek mythology, like Achilles for their pet mule.

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