The Little Stranger, Part 2
Post-WWII Britain. Rural Warwickshire. Doctor Faraday is called to Hundreds Hall to treat Betty, the fourteen-year-old maid, for stomach cramps. He is horrified at the changes to the once grand estate and home of the Ayres family, where his mother was once a nursery maid. He is also quick to spot Betty's nervousness and anxiety. The reader meets the characters who will play significant parts in the story as the setting and context are laid out.
- What is the significance of Doctor's Faraday's memory of prising the plaster acorn?
- The conversation between members of the Ayres family introduces an aspect of class struggle in post war Britain. After two brutal wars, men are either dead, missing or damaged. The landed gentry and the aristocrats are struggling to maintain their estates. The serving class is looking to factories for employment while an educated middle class is becoming stronger and upwardly mobile.
- What is the reader's first impression of Dr. Faraday, Mrs. Ayres, Roderick and Caroline?
- In chapter three Dr. Faraday says, " ...for though I was now such a regular at the house, I was hardly a family friend."
- What are we to make of this? How does his standing with the family alter or evolve?
- The party reveals more details about the changing society in Britain. What is the reader's impression of the Baker-Hydes?
- As the next chapters unfold, the sense of uneasiness grows. The supernatural rears its head around chapter three. Any comments or insights about the incident with Gyp and Roderick's description of the strange events in chapter five?
For readers interested in the historical context of the novel, Andrew Marr's A History of Modern Britain and Kenneth Morgan's Britain Since 1945 may be interesting. The detective series Foyle's War Sets 6 and 7 are set in post WWII Britian.
Please feel free to post any comments, questions or insights as we continue The Little Stranger.