Reading with insight
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 some clues about the story.
This statement shows how the war caused devastation in the lives of the people of Holland. Before the war started, the people knew that it may start anytime. Mrs Dorling used to visit Mrs S the narrator’s mother frequently. Mrs Dorling used to exploit her fears and insecurity by taking away her possessions like crockery 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 had left Holland to save their lives during the war, like most other people in the town.
The narrator’s mother died before the war ended. The narrator came back to Mrs Dorling’s address in search of her family belongings.
Mrs Dorling was shocked and surprised to see the narrator standing at her door when she made the statement given above. Mrs Dorling’s statement shows that she knew the narrator, although she refused to recognise her. In fact, she behaved rudely and in an unfriendly manner.
Question 2. The story is divided into pre-war and post-war times. What hardships do you think the girl underwent during these times?
Answer : The hardships which the girl went through at the time of the war are contrasted by her thoughts of the current situation. Some hardships during the war were:
- The bread available was black in colour, showing that it was of poor quality.
- They could not sleep for fear of being attacked by the Germans.
- The view from the window used to be very horrifying, probably showing the atrocities of the occupying troops.
Question 3. Why did the narrator of the story want to forget the address?
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 did 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 being used in Mrs Dorling’s house. She felt nostalgic and decided that she would not try to take them back, as they reminded her about the horrors of the war.
Since their true owner was no longer in this world, the possessions had lost their meaning. She felt that it was better to forget the address of the uncharitable Mrs Dorling, which symbolised a tragic past.
Question 4. ‘The Address’ is a story of human predicament that follows war. Comment.
Answer : War brings with it death and destruction. Marga Minco’s short story ‘‘The Address’’ describes human predicament that follows war. War had caused an upheaval in the lives of the people of Holland, as they lost their lives and homes. Mrs S was also a victim of the war.
So when the narrator, Mrs S’s daughter, went to Mrs Dorling’s house to claim those articles with which her mother’s precious memories were associated, Mrs Dorling was surprised to see the narrator at her door and even pretended not to recognise her. The narrator was shocked to see the ‘nice belongings’ of her mother lying in Mrs Dorling’s house. She felt nostalgic and the things appeared to have lost their worth in the 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 persons cruel and selfish.