Thursday 4 July 2024

The Address

The Address
                                                                                   By Marga Minco

Analysis : 

The story ‘Address’ written by Marga Minco is a beautiful account in the life of a daughter during war in Holland (now Netherlands). It is a story of human predicament that follows war.

It is an account of a daughter who is determined to bring her mother’s possessions back to her house and tries twice to get the things back.

This beautiful story depicts a daughter-mother relation and the pain of losing one’s relations especially mother.

The story narrates small acts of determination, courage, greed, selfishness and innocence that define human character full of strengths and weaknesses.

The story explores the passage of time, memory, and the enduring impact of loss after death of the protagonist’s mother. This shift in time is one of the themes highlighting the transience of life and the inevitable changes that occur in the protagonist’s life during and after war.

The story conveys the message that relations are more important and things remain ‘things’ if they don’t breathe emotions and don’t have warmth of relations after the link with the person is snapped.

Summary / Synopsis

The story ‘The Address’ is about a girl who wants the things belonging to her late mother back. She decided to go to Mrs. Dorling who lived at Number 46, Marconi Street. When the protagonist reaches, she received a cold reception at the hands of Mrs. Dorling who first refused to recognise her. First, the protagonist thought that she made a mistake and had come at the wrong address. But, then she recognised her mother’s green cardigan with faded buttons which Mrs Dorling was wearing. Mrs Dorling accepted that she knew her mother and said that she had thought everyone in her family was dead during war. Mrs. Dorling refused to let the protagonist come inside and talk to her. She disappointed her telling her to come some other time. 

The protagonist decided to go back to the train station. She didn't pay much attention to the surrounding places on her way to the station as she didn't want to confront the memories from past and be emotionally weak. On the train she suddenly remembered how and when she met Mrs. Dorling in her house for the first time. 

When the daughter felt that certain things were missing from house, her mother told her about Mrs. Dorling, an acquaintance of hers. Mrs. Dorling was a woman with broad back. During first half of the war, Mrs. Dorling would visit their house and take away their possessions with her as she didn’t want the precious things to get lost if they ever had to leave the place due to war conditions. The mother couldn't refuse rather she was concerned about the difficulty and the risk Mrs. Dorling was taking in carrying those things in a heavy suitcase during war. When the daughter asked if she lived far away, her mother told her the address of Mrs. Dorling, which she remembered very well. Long after the war was over, the narrator didn't think of collecting her mother's possessions as she wasn't mentally and emotionally ready to face those things which would remind her of her mother and make her sad. After some time things became better and the daughter became curious about her mother's possessions.

While the protagonist was returning from Mrs. Dorling's house empty handed, she remembered the woman and her address clearly, hence, she decided to go to Mrs. Dorling’s home again and try one more time to get the belongings back. 

On her second visit when she rang the bell, Mrs. Dorling’s daughter opened the door. She let her in and asked her to wait in the living room  till her mother came back. When they were crossing the passage, the protagonist noticed their Hanukkah candle stand that they had never used because it had been unmanageable. When she reached the living room, she was horrified as she saw all her mother’s things that were arranged in a tasteless manner. She also noticed the burn mark in the woollen table cloth. The furniture was ugly and the room had a muggy smell. It made her disinterested and she wanted to leave the place. The daughter offered her a cup of tea. When the girl was talking about antiques and plates that they have used very frequently, the protagonist mentioned that when the things are around, people don't value them and hardly notice small details about them. She told her that she must have not noticed that the cutlery they were using was of silver. When the girl was showing her the silver forks and spoons that actually belonged to the protagonist, she stood up and decided to leave the place immediately.

The dismal look of these priceless possessions broke her heart. This made her walk out of the house. She decided not to visit the place again as it brought back memories of the past and hence, she decided to forget the address. Now, these possessions no more bear the mark of her mother's gentle touch and caring attitude. The things after being separated from her mother and her house lost their value. As they were kept tastelessly in strange surroundings, they didn't remind her of her mother. If these things are kept badly in her small rented house, they will lose their worth. Hence, she decided to forget the things which would help her forget the address.


The story intricately weaves together themes of time, memory, nostalgia, and the complex emotions associated with the loss of her mother and her possessions. It serves as a poignant memory of the protagonist's and her mother’s life together and after mother's death.

Character Sketch of Mrs. Dorling

Mrs. Dorling was an old acquaintance of Mrs. S., mother of the protagonist. She has been described in the chapter as a cunning, selfish and greedy woman. During war she used to visit her house and take away her precious things such as antiques, silver wares, vases, etc. She herself justified her action saying that she would keep them safe with her as during war her house was not a safe place. But, her intentions were exposed when she was reluctant to return the belongings, and she didn't even allow the protagonist enter her house. Poverty of her house had made the woman stingy and greedy.

Important Question Answers

Q1. 'The Address' is a story of human predicament that follows war. Comment.

Ans. The story 'The Address' is a story of human predicament which was the result of war. In this story all the people suffered hugely due to war. The war had caused tremendous change in the lives of the people of Holland. 

Mrs. S., the mother of the protagonist lost her life due to war. The narrator suffered a huge emotional loss as she had to live a lonely and sorrowful life in absence of her mother. She lost priceless possessions from her house and she had to struggle a lot to find and see those belongings. Finally, she had to leave the things which were priceless memory of her mother. 

Therefore, the story discusses how war brought big change in the life of the protagonist and her mother, and many other people in some or the other way. It shows how war changes the people and their life and even kills the emotions of love, sympathy and humanity making the people cruel, selfish and unconcerned. Mrs. Dorling is an example of such cases.

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