The blog is an attempt to embark on an insightful journey into the nature of the most important language, English. Avail the blog to keep yourself updated on the course specifications, instructions, notes, sample papers, extra reading material and 'missed-out' tests and assignments.Help the blog to live in all its shades by reading and questioning it regularly. Think, speak and live English!
Tuesday, February 5, 2013
The Address: Synopsis and Key Points
Words You Should Know Before Reading The Chapter
Marga Minco is the pen name of Sara Menco. In 1942, her parents were
forced to move into the city's Jewish Quarter. The parents, her brother
and sister were all deported and Marga/Sara managed to survive the war
in hiding. Thus, her stories often revolve around the existential
problems often faced by survivors.
World War II ran its course from 1939 - 1945. Most of the nations of the
world divided themselves into two groups: the Allies and the Axis. The
Allies initially comprised of France, Poland and UK but soon became the
group led by "the big three" - USA, the British Commonwealth, the Soviet
Union. Other allies were China, Australia, Canada, New Zealand, South
Africa and other third world nations. The axis were formed of Germany,
Italy, Japan and the areas they presided over (Parts of Europe, Africa,
East and South East Asia and islands of the Pacific). The Allies
eventually won but in the interim, about 50-70 million lives were lost.
The most devastating aspects of this war were the Holocaust and the
Bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki. The Holocaust was the genocide of
about six million European Jews under the Nazi reign of Adolf Hitler.
The holocaust began with laws being established to remove Jews from
civil society. They were sent to concentration camps and used as labour
or for medical experiments unto death. Often mass shootouts took lives.
Some were sent to extermination camps by freight train to be killed in
the now infamous gas chambers.
Although it is proven that Hitler was an illegitimate child, there is
only speculation to a Jewish birth father. Scholars still debate whether
Hitler's antisemitism (hatred for the Jews) was due to his abandonment
issues or was a product of the loss of Germany in World War I due to the
civilian Jewish leaders and Marxists within Germany. In any case,
having lived in antisemitic areas in his youth and served in the German
army, Hitler grew up hating Jews and eventually devised "the final
solution to the Jewish problem".
Our story begins after the Holocaust when our narrator, a Jewish
survivor who had lost her entire family, had returned to find her
mother's things at 46, Marconi Street.
The Synopsis and key points
The narrator arrives at 46, Marconi Street, a house owned by a certain
Ms. Dorling. The door is opened a mere inch by a woman who seems not to
know the narrator and treats her with cool incivility. However, during
the course of the interaction, three important realisations occur:
1) The narrator realises that she is at the correct address as
Mrs. Dorling is wearing her mother's sweater. From the faded buttons, it
is evident that the sweater has been worn fairly often.
2) The narrator knows she is unwelcome as Mrs. Dorling does not
even let the narrator come into the house. The narrator goes away
disappointed and unsuccessful in collecting her things.
3) The narrator hears a door open and close within the house behind Mrs. Dorling. The readers know then that there is another person in the house, someone whom Mrs. Dorling is anxious to keep away from the narrator.
As the narrator walks back to the train station, she recalls how once on
returning home from the university during the first half of World War
II, she had found several of their household items missing. Her mother
had then informed her that Mrs. Dorling, an old acquaintance of her
mother's, had renewed their contact and insisted that she (Mrs. Dorling)
keep their things safe during the war. The narrator also recalls
another incident when she had seen Mrs. Dorling for an instant in a
brown coat and shapeless hat, before the woman left with yet another
instalment of the narrator's things.
The narrator's mother, an apparently gullible woman, did not seem
to suspect Mrs. Dorling of any ulterior motive. Mrs. S, the narrator's
woman was more worried about Mrs. Dorling hurting herself or being
attacked by someone while carrying their things back to Marconi street
for safekeeping. She asked her daughter to remember Mrs. Dorling's
address in case the narrator was the only one who survived the war.
After the first unsuccessful visit, the narrator ruminates about why she took so long to return for her mother's things.
The war and the loss of her family had settled heavily on the
narrator's heart. She only felt fear and hesitation when she thought
about the things kept at Mrs. Dorling's house. Each of those things
carried memories of her life before the war. The pain of loss stopped
her from returning for her things sooner.
The impact of war on civilians has been portrayed in several
books and movies including 'The Diary of a Young Girl: Anne Frank',
'Sarah's Key' by Tatiana de Rosnay, 'The Boy in the Striped Pyjamas' by
John Boyne and movies such as 'Schindler's List'. The torture of the
concentration camps, the loss of loved ones left a painful ever-lasting
impact. The narrator's observation of the light-coloured bread, familiar
views and unthreatened sleep implies the coarse stale food of the
camps, the view of barren land and barbed wires and a sleep forever
threatened with pain and death.
After the first failed attempt, the narrator tried to visit Mrs. Dorling
again. This time, the woman was not at home and she was greeted by her
fifteen year old daughter. The girl showed off the antiques in her house
to the narrator oblivious to the fact that they had once belonged to
the narrator's own home. When the narrator finds that her things had now
become part of someone else's life and memories, she decides not to take her things after all.
The memories associated with her things were overwhelming, there was no
space for such fancy items in the small room where she lived now,
everything was now a part of someone else's home and life creating new
memories each day. The visit was actually successful in the sense that
the narrator was finally able to find the strength to move on and felt
that of all the memories left behind by the war, the address with her
mother's old things would be the easiest to forget.
The Last Passage
Q.1. Why did the narrator,Mrs.
S’s daughter ,specially made a trip to 46,Marconi street ? Did she achieveher purpose?
Q.2. Describe the second
visit of Mrs. S’s daughter to the house
of Mrs. Dorling.Why did
she not wait to meet Mrs. Dorling?
Q.3. Why did the narrator
say that forgetting Mrs. Dorling’s address would be easy?
Q.4. Compare the lifestyle of Mrs. S before the war
with her daughter’s after the war?
Q.5. Justify the title of the story “The Address”
Q.6. Who was Mrs. Dorling? Why did she visit Mrs. S’s house frequently?
were the narrator’s feelings initially about the things that had been left with Mrs. Dorling?
Q.8. Why did the narrator
say ‘I was in a room I knew and did not know’?
Q.9. What is the impact of war on civilians?
Q.10. Could Mrs. S’s daughter get back to her old
life after she come back to the city
where she lived before the war