The Address

Chapter Summary

"The address" deals with the pre-war and post-war events in the life of a Jewish family. It talks about a daughter who returns to her home in Holland after the war was over. She went there to look for her mother's belonging after the war. The young lady reached her native spot but she does not get a warm welcome. She followed the address that she had.

The house number was 46 and was located in the “Marconi Street”. A woman opened the door but she could not recognise the young girl at her doorstep. She noticed that the woman was wearing her mother’s green sweater that she knitted with her own hands. This instance assured her that she has reached the right place.

The woman did not acknowledge her or her mother and despite the young lady’s resistance the woman did not acknowledge her and she shunned the door on her face. On her way back she was drowned in thoughts about the bygone days. She remembers the jolly days of her childhood.

Mrs. Dorling, the woman currently residing in her native place used to be an old acquaintance of the author’s mother and that is why her mother left all her belongings to her. It made the author more determined to get those possessions back and hence she decided to go back to that place once again.

The second time, when she reached that place, a fifteen-year-old girl opens the door. The author said that she wishes to see her mother. The girl welcomed her in and the author noticed that the arrangements might have changed but her mother’s belongings are all there. It made her quite uncomfortable and she abruptly left the house and no longer possessed the desire to get those belongings back.

‘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?

Yes, this statement gives out the essence of the story. This statement gives the idea that the woman and the narrator knew each other. The girl’s mother expired shortly and Mrs. Dorling did not expect anyone to come looking for those precious belongings. The advent of the young girl made her shocked and uncomfortable. Although it is a relatively common outcome of expression it still emphasises the selfishness and greed of Mrs. Dorling. She even refused to recognize the child of her past acquaintance and did not let her in.

The story is divided into pre-War and post-War times. What hardships do you think the girl underwent during these times?

The detailed account of “the address” is stratified in the dilemmas associated with pre-war and post-war times. The girl who went to look for her mother belongs to a rich family. The girl’s family was initially quite wealthy. In the pre-war days, the girl usually lived away from her mother and used to come to visit her mother occasionally.

The callout of war made the mother worried about her possessions and she was worried that all her belongings will be lost in the war. That is why she left those belongings to her close acquaintance.

In the days of the war, they had to live in hired houses where the shutters were covered with black paper. She was not allowed to see anything on the outside and a constant threat of death lingered upon her. After the war was over, things gradually returned to normalcy. The girl began to live freely and then she went back to look for her mother's properties.

Why did the narrator of the story want to forget the address?

The narrator remembered her mother’s address which was told to her once, house number 46 on Marconi Street. When she reached her mother’s native palace she noticed that it was occupied by Mrs Dorling, she used to live there; her mother gave all the belongings to Mrs. Dorling before she passed away.

When she reached her place she was faced with a bitter experience as Mrs. Dorling refused to acknowledge or entertain her. The second time she visited her place out of sheer nostalgia and she looked at those old possessions. She became uncomfortable as it did not remind her of the pre-war days that she could never get back nor she could get back her mother. That is why she left the place abruptly and wanted to forget the address once and for all.

‘The Address’ is a story of human predicament that follows war. Comment.

War is a terrible made catastrophe that brings nothing but horror, pain, and death and destruction along with it. "The address" discusses the life of a young girl over the course of the war and the post-war events. Countless people all across the world continue to face such horror. The young girl in this account had lost her mother and their family's wealth to the war. After the war was over, everybody was busy acquiring anything they could get their hands on and nobody wanted to share or give away anything to their rightful owner. This short story outlines the abrupt change that arises in a person after the war along with various other emotions a person goes through after the trauma of war.


Q1. How did “Mrs. Dorling” react when she met the young girl at her door?

Ans. Mrs. Dorling stood at the door as she interred to prevent the young girl from stepping inside. She refused to recognise her old acquaintance’s daughter. After a while, she closed the door on the young girl's face.

Q2. How did the narrator realise that she was at the right place?

Ans. The woman came to the door wearing a green hand-knitted sweater that was made by her mother. The wooden buttons on the sweater had gone pale from washing. When she noticed that the narrator was seeing her she hid partially behind the door. This reaction convinced her that she has got the right address.

Q3. Who had given the narrator the address?

Ans. The address was given to the narrator by her mother during the initial half of the war. The narrator had come home for a few days to get some of her belongings and that is when her mother told her about Mrs. Dorling and her address.

Updated on: 03-Jan-2023


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