Mary Postgate, Mrs. Fowler, the nephew Wynn Fowler, little Edna, Nurse Eden, Dr. Hennis and injured airman. The title character of the story is Mary Postgate. The story concerns itself with loss, fear, repression, and alienation. The story is horrifying anyhow we read it but it can be read different ways. The character of the story Mary Postgate is a complex character. In the beginning of the story author introduce her with the words ‘thoroughly conscientious, tidy, companionable, and ladylike’. Mary is a single woman. Her relationship with Wynn was like mother and son. She didn’t have any child and Wynn was an eleven year old orphan so she took responsibility of Wynn’s education and his nurture. She loves Wynn very much and tolerates all his absurdity but Wynn is ungrateful towards her by calling the name like ‘Gatepost,’ ‘Posey,’ or ‘Packthread,’ but the scene when she went to attend Wynn’s funeral and his friends told her that he used to talk about her shows that there was a relationship of mutual affection between Wynn and Mary.
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After Wynn’s death she decides to burn all his stuff except his military uniform in the destroyer. She doesn’t witness Wynn’s death but she witnesses little Edna’s death. After the incident in the market she hates German. Mary mutters “Bloody pagans! They _are_ bloody pagans” shows her hatred towards the German enimy.When she sees the injured airman in her backyard she doesn’t help him. She threatens him with the gun, and let him die. Kipling was not advocating that all people should act as Mary does; standing by while a fellow human dies, but the author wants to inspire his reader just such cold blooded ferocity as Mary displays. Angus Wilson has said “nation which is waging such a terrible war must not allow feelings of compassion to get in the way of destroying the enemy”. The author creates a portrait of a woman who finds in the circumstances of war release from societal, psychological and sexual pressure.
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