Download Extract pdf
1. Do we feel any sympathy for Harriet? Did she get what she deserves or is she just a victim of a cruel set of circumstances
2. To what extend does Cecil Wallis contribute to his own death? Are his actions justified or do we hold him in nay way responsible for what occurs?
3. Is Jean’s hatred for Cecil justified? In the end she does not go through with her plan but is Jean any less to blame for Cecil’s death than Harriet?
4. The Wallis children, Julius and Anne appear to be the innocent victims of the tragedy that unfolds – bit is this really so? Do their actions play a part in the events leading up to their fathers murder?
5. To what extent does the location of the novel, set as it is in austere post-war London, impact on the story? Could the events described in the novel have happened at some other time in history or in a contemporary setting?
6. Cecil’s life appears to be ruled by a set of standards and principles that seem out of step with the world he now finds himself in. He is driven by a need to ‘do the right thing’ and yet he makes two critical decisions during the course of the book that ultimately cost him dearly. What where those decisions and do agree with, or condemn, his choices?
7. The war has been over for seven years and yet its impact is felt in almost every chapter. To what extent do events from the past affect the actions of the characters?
8. So many incidents, some large, others seemingly minor, contribute to the final tragic act. Could things have turned out very differently for Harriet and Cecil, or was it always going to end this way?