The Aftermath
Rhidian Brook

by

Sharon Fleming

Chapter 5
Summary

Months had passed and Racheal felt the shortening days dragging out. Lewis was working all day long and the staff performed the house chores, which Racheal usually did herself. To help take her mind of unnecessary things such as Michael’s death, Lewis encourages Racheal to take up the piano again. Apparently, Racheal has not played the piano since Michel’s death since it always reminded her of her son. However, Racheal is finally able to play a short composition entitled ‘Warun?by Schumann (Brook 80). Racheal realizes that playing the piano has not only managed to keep her mind off unnecessary things but she has also been able to forget herself. In the first week of November, Racheal goes to practice before her husband gets home. However, she finds Lubert playing Schumann’s piece with a lot of determination. Racheal and Lubert engage in dialogue while ensuring that the fraternization does not exceed the piano context (Brook 81-83).

The author takes the readers to another scene with Edmund looking for a book to read in Lubert’s home library. The library had many books where Edmund could picture himself in a drama where he was the lead and Frieda the antagonist. Frieda’s recent behavior, such as urinating in a Delft bowl and leaving it in Edmund’s room makes him wonder whether he should tell her mother or not. While in his fantasy world, Edmund is startled by Lubert who enters the room without his knowledge. After a short discussion, Edmund leaves the library and later joins his mother in checking the crockery. The author continues to chronicle Edmund’s encounter with the German children who apparently looked devastated and malnutritioned (Brook 89).

At the dinner table, Lewis and his family are eating their supper while engaging in a conversation. Racheal enquires from Lewis whether Lubret should be allowed to play the piano. Although Racheal thinks that allowing Lubert to play the piano would encourage fraternization, Lewis thinks there is nothing wrong. Apparently, it is Lewis’ desire that both Germans and British could get along, thereby quickening the rebuilding process (Brook 93). After supper, Edmund leaves the room and goes to play his game. After a while, Edmund realizes that his toy’s head, Cuthbert, is missing as well as the sugar on the plate (Brook 97).

In another scene, Racheal and Lewis are getting ready to sleep. It has been months since both Racheal and Lewis had sex. According to Brook, Lewis is ready to use any strategy for Racheal to give in and make love to him (97-99). Finally, Racheal yields to Lewis’s request. Later after Colonel Lewis had fallen asleep, Racheal is left pondering about the former lady of the house, Lubert’s wife, and decides to ask Lubert about her. Brook takes the readers in another scene where Frieda and Albert, a young German man, are walking back home after spending a day clearing the rubble. From Frieda and Albert’s talk, Brook reveals that a resistance movement still exists in Humburg (108-110). Frieda’s hatred towards the British compels her to accept helping Albert and his resistance movement by spying on Lewis as well as stealing valuable things from the house such as medicines, clothes, cigarettes, and jewelry (Brook 108).

Analysis

According to the author, Racheal believes that her staff is mocking her behind her back. She feels that they have not accepted her and question her every decision. To keep her mind off unnecessary things, Racheal decides to take up playing the piano again, a decision that paves the way for a brief encounter with Lubert. Brook also seems to describe the existence of the resistance movement in Humburg. The author reveals the mistrust existing between the Germans and British, which is evidenced by Racheal’s reaction when she had that Lubert had not yet been cleared as a non-supporter of the Nazi regime. Brook continues to reveal to the readers that the resistance movement exists comprising of people such as Albert and its newest member, Frieda. Apparently, it is hard for some Germans to bear the pain of not only losing their loved ones but also losing their nation to the new occupiers, the British. In addition to this, being treated as criminal torments the Germans, compelling them to develop a feeling of contempt towards the British.

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