The Aftermath
Rhidian Brook

by

Sharon Fleming

Newest Questions

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Final Paper

Techniques

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Chapter 2
Summary

The chapter opens with Racheal, Colonel Lewis’s wife, warning her son Edmund to keep clear of Germans. She says, “You must not walk with them, or shake hands or visit their homes. You must not play games with them or share any social event” (Brook 26). In her bid to ensure that Edmund does not interact with the Germans, Racheal tries to provide distinguishing features between British and Germans. For instance, Racheal indicates that unlike the British who are not fond of music, Germans are very fond of music and thus, Edmund could easily identify them (Brook 27).

Edmund’s inquisitiveness about Germans stirred a reassuring and primitive emotion in Racheal. The author states that one day in the spring of 1942, Racheal’s son, Michael was killed by a stray bomb. The same bomb also destroyed her sister’s house and hurled her [Racheal] across the floor leaving a painful and unforgettable experience with her, as well as destroying her faith in the vital goodness of life. However, although Racheal’s friends such as the Blakes had outdone her loss having lost two sons, the author indicates that Racheal could not find comfort in other people’s loss. The pain of losing a son was too much to bare or find solace anywhere (Brook 28). The thought of blaming Germans for her son’s death seemed degrading to Micheal’s memory, and as time progressed, Racheal started questioning the existence of God. However, after a word of encouragement from Reverend Pring, Racheal could not pin the blame to God, but to her husband who apparently, had instructed Rachael, Edmund, and Michael to find safety in the area where the stray bomb landed. The author states, “If she blamed anyone, she blamed him” (Brook 29). The rest of the chapter chronicles Edmund narrating his story about the bomb as Racheal had narrated to him. British wives including Rachel are interacting and sharing their anticipations when they arrive in Germany (31-37). From the chapter, the British wives’ level of luxury depends on their husband’s rank. For example, Racheal's husband had a higher rank compared to Mrs. Burnham, Mrs. Thompson, and Mrs. Eliot’s husbands and, thus, are entitled to a long list of household supplies.

Analysis

It is apparent that the war stirred enmity and hostility between the British and Germans. This was attributable to the fact that Germans were responsible for the bombing, particularly the stray bomb that led to Michael's death. According to Brook, the British were not only supposed to keep clear of Germans but also avoid any form of interaction, communication, and most importantly, the British were not supposed to befriend Germans. From the chapter, it seems like the British loathed Germans to a point that despite the British requisitioning Germans homes, the British wives had no problem sending German’s families to live in billets. Additionally, the author seems to describe to the readers the effect of war, particularly to children like Edmund. Although Edmund was young, the story narrated to him about the war was engraved in his mind as if he experienced the moment. Moreover, from the chapter, it is clear that the pain of losing loved ones from the war led to British elders passing their hatred to their children. This is evidenced by Beauty Spot’s [a young girl] hatred towards Germans who she wishes were all dead than alive.

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