Question.1: ‘Have you come back?’ said the woman. ‘I thought that no one had come back.’ Does this statement give some clue about the story? If yes, what is it?
Answer: Yes, the words of this statement made by Mrs. Dorling to the narrator give us many clues about the story.
The given statement shows how the war caused devastation in the lives of the people of Holland. During the pre-war times and when the war was not in its full fury, Mrs. Dorling visited Mrs. S, the narrator’s mother frequently. Mrs. Dorling used to exploit her fears and insecurity. After each visit she took away antiques and other valuable items from the narrator’s mother assuring her that she would keep those things safe during the war. Mrs. S trusted her to take care of the valuables while the narrator was not convinced of Mrs. Dorling’s intentions. The narrator and her mother, Mrs. S had to leave Holland to save their lives during the war. After the war was over, Mrs. S was dead. The narrator came back and went to Mrs. Dorling’s address in search of her mother’s belongings. Mrs. Dorling was shocked and surprised to see narrator standing at her door when she made the above statement. Mrs. Dorling’s statement clearly proves she knew the narrator already although she refused to recognize her. Rather she behaved rudely and unfriendly. This particular behaviour of Mrs. Dorling towards the narrator reveals her uncharitable, unfaithful nature and reluctance to return Mrs. S’s belongings to her daughter, which she had been using all these years.
Answer: Once the war was over the narrator went to Mrs. Dorling’s address in search of her mother’s belongings. But the woman pretended not to recognize her. Nor does she show any intention of returning the things which she had taken from the narrator’s mother. The narrator was shocked to see the ‘nice belongings’ of her mother lying unceremoniously in unpleasant surroundings in Mrs. Dorling’s house. She felt nostalgic and resolved that she would not try to possess them. Their true owner was no longer in this world and the things seemed to have lost their worth. She felt that it was better to forget the address of the uncharitable Mrs. Dorling, which symbolizes a tragic past.
Answer: War brings with it death and destruction. Marga Minco’s short story “The Address” describes human predicament that follows war. War in Holland had caused an upheaval in the lives of its people. People lost their lives, properties and homes. Mrs. S too was a victim of war. Even before the war was in its full fury, Mrs. S felt insecure and afraid of losing her home and valuables. Her situation was exploited by her acquaintance Mrs. Dorling, who took away the valuable items and antiques assuring that she would keep them safe until the war was over. In fact, Mrs. Dorling had no intentions of returning the valuables as she was sure that Mrs. S and her family would not survive the war. So when the narrator, Mrs. S’s daughter, went to Mrs. Dorling’s house to claim those articles to which her mother’s precious memories were associated, she became surprised to see the narrator, at her address, 46 Marconi Street and even pretended not to recognize her. The narrator was shocked to see the ‘nice belongings’ of her mother lying unceremoniously in unpleasant surroundings in Mrs. Dorling’s house. She felt nostalgic and the things appeared to have lost their worth in absence of their true owner. Therefore, she decided to leave those things and forget the address forever.
Thus the story presents the upheaval in the lives of the narrator and her mother caused by the war. The story shows how war brings a dehumanizing effect on human beings. It kills the finer feelings of love and sympathy. It makes man cruel and selfish.