In Mary Lawson's novel, The Other Side of The Bridge, Arthur's father, Henry, is killed instantly when the tractor he is riding on falls in a ditch and lands on top of him. This event greatly influences the novel's plot development but also how the characters evolve throughout the rest of the novel. While the entire Dunn family is adversely affected by Henry's death, it is Arthur who suffers the most because he associates his identity with his ability to meet his father's expectations. Henry was also a role model for Arthur, while Jake is not affected by his father's death in as significant a manner, and his mother is more concerned about Jake's welfare than how this is impacting her and Arthur. .
Arthur is the first person to find his father dead. He thought he could save his dad at first, desperately yelling at Jake to get the horses to lift the tractor off. This reveals how much Arthur cares for Henry. Arthur is affected by his father's death because he feels that Henry would have wanted him to keep running the farm. This relationship continues to influence Arthur throughout his life because we see that he is frequently wondering how his father would do something, such as when to plant the crops. Thus his father is never far from Arthur's thoughts, even after Henry is killed. In addition, Henry's death represents a huge loss in Arthur's life because of his closeness with his father who was a mentor to him and because he favoured Arthur over Jake, which balanced the favouritism his mother shows towards Jake. .
Mrs. Dunn is also greatly affected by the news of Henry's death. She reacts with shock and becomes depressed. Henry was the main provider for the Dunn family and also a person Mrs. Dunn could talk to if she had a problem or question. She was already so protective of Jake and when she loses her husband, she becomes even more scared of losing Jake. So she treats Jake as a child at some points even though he is almost an adult.