The story revolves around the author, who, after a long period of time, has come to her former neighbor, Mrs. Dorling to claim her possessions back; the possessions being lent to Mrs. Dorling by the author’s mother as a ‘refuge’ at the time of war. The author’s mother gave Mrs. Dorling’s ‘Address’ to the author to re-acquire their belongings back when the terrible situation of war gets back to normal. For the frustration of the author, as she reaches the concerned location, she was greeted by the rather hostile and ill-behaved resident of the Address. Mrs.
Dorling’s unwillingness to return her belongings was apparently reflected by her attitude. When, the second time she visited that house, she was distressed and regretted her decision of claiming her belongings back and consoled herself to adjust without her precious belongings. What are the contrasting elements in the characters of Mrs. Dorling and Mrs. S? The mother of the author, Mrs. S was a lady of simplicity. She didn’t seem to have seen the harsh and cruel side of this two-faced world. She could easily befriend people, and rather more easily, trust them.
That’s why she trusted Mrs. Dorling, who was just an acquaintance of her, and allowed her to keep all her precious belongings for the time being. Moreover, she was so kindhearted that she was sympathetic enough for Mrs. Dorling, who had to carry all her heavy articles all alone. In contrast, Mrs. Dorling was an absolute thief, a unique combination of cunningness and betrayal. She cheated Mrs. S and seized her very precious belongings very wittingly. She can be called a perfectionist in this ‘occupation’ of hers. Why did the author decide against claiming her family possessions from Dorling?
Having being treated unpleasantly and noticing the repulsive reaction of Mrs. Dorling in her very first visit, the author developed an awful impression of Mrs. Dorling. Moreover, the author was very shocked to see the dreadful way in which her precious possessions were preserved. Also, now, when the author would adoringly look at her belongings, memories of Mrs. Dorling and her near ones’ death, rather than her mother and her childhood, will sprout in her. This made her reluctant not to claim her family possessions back from Dorling.
Under what circumstances, was the author’s family forced to allow the possessions to be carried away? It was the scenario of war that engulfed the author’s house with terror. Every second was unpredictable as they could be forced to move from their house any moment. In a circumstance like this, Mrs. Dorling, an old acquaintance of author’s mother, turned up and offered to ‘help’ them by keeping most of their precious belongings safely in her house. So, in order to save their possessions, the author’s mother decided to lend them temporarily. Mrs. Dorling is a typical example of betrayal’.
Discuss. (3) Mrs. Dorling possessed a cunning personality polished by the frequent instances of befooling people. Her character can be well defined by her practice of using people for her own benefit. Knowing the innocence of the author’s mother, she turned up at the very time when her family was facing hardships. Being into her motive of betrayal, she asked Mrs. S to lend her precious belongings to her until the war is over. Willingly, she agreed and then Dorling ‘confiscated’ her possessions. Now, after a long period of time had swept away, the author came and asked for her articles.
At first she behaved as if she didn’t recognize her and tried to avoid her. Dorling expressed that she was convinced that no one from the author’s house would come to claim back their possessions. So, ‘a nice lady of betrayal’ is the inference that can be drawn from her character. What did the author feel when she visited Dorling’s house the second time? (3) Why does the author find it easy to forget the address more than anything else? Why did the author initially hesitate to get her household articles back from Mrs. Dorling? Why did Mrs.
Dorling appear to be a great friend for the author’s mother? Why did the author’s mother let Mrs. Dorling take their precious household articles to the latter’s home? What was the risk that Mrs. Dorling was in? Do you think there was any mismatch with the address? Why do you think so? Was Mrs. Dorling’s daughter aware of the fact that her house was lined with articles that belonged to the author? Why did the author first hesitate to claim her belongings from Mrs. Dorling? Why did the author finally try to forget Number 46, Marconi Street? ‘As if that’s necessary,’ my mother cried. It would simply be an insult to talk like that.
And think about the risk that she is running… ” As if what was necessary? Why was mother angry? Who could be insulted? How could that have been an insult? What were the narrator’s emotions when she stood in the midst of things that once belonged to her? The first emotions experienced by the the narrator were fear and apprehension. As she walked into the living room, she was reunited with all of the belongings with which she had grown up and hadn’t seen since before the war, which had ended a number of years beforehand.
This fear is quite understandable, for earlier on in the story the author indicates that the narrator was the only member of her family that hadn’t perished during the hostilities. For this reason, being exposed to these quaint possessions would bring back a flood of memories, memories that associate themselves with bonds that had long since melted away and with experiences related to people she had held dear before they had fallen victim to the cruelties of war. So, in this particular moment, her past belongings became the source of great discomfort and uneasiness.
Why did the narrator find herself in a room that she knew and didn’t? When the narrator proceeds to say that she found herself in a room that she both knew and didn’t, she elaborates a bit more on the feeling of apprehension mounting within her. Earlier on in the account, she recalls a conversation she had had with her mother when she first realized that she had been spiriting away most of their belongings to an “old friend”. Her mother then told her the address to which their possessions were being smuggled and that she would do well to remember it.
So, when the narrator finally arrived to ascertain the location of her lost belongings, she was met instead with a myriad of recollections of past times spent with others, before the war. She knew all of the material objects that could be found in the room, however, she could no longer recognize the sentimental and historical backgrounds that had once related to them. Find evidences for the alienation that the narrator suffered in the midst of her belongings. Evidence can be found in the last sentence of the passage that the element the main character had most likely found the most disturbing was the alienation of all her possessions.
Here, in this new home, surrounded by a completely different family, the narrator’s past belongings had become a big part of the lives of other people. They had become a repository of memories and experiences for not only her but for this other family. As a consequence, in the mind of the narrator, her belongings had been transformed because they no longer fit the roles that she had attributed to them growing up. In this new house, they were used in different ways by different people, completely severing the tie that the narrator had had with them.