Chapter 2 The Address

Text Book Questions and Answers

The Address About the Author

Marga Minco (pseudonym of Sara Menco, born 31 March 1920) is a Dutch journalist and writer. Born in Ginneken to an Orthodox Jewish family, Minco began work as a trainee journalist. In the early part of World War II Minco lived in Breda, Amersfoort, and Amsterdam. She contracted a mild form of tuberculosis and ended up being treated in hospitals in Utrecht and Amersfoort. In the autumn of 1942 she returned to Amsterdam and her parents, who were forced by the German occupiers to move into the city’s Jewish Quarter. Later in the war, Minco’s parents, her brother, and her sister were all deported, but having escaped arrest herself she spent the rest of the war in hiding and was the family’s only survivor.

The Address Main Theme

The story is set against the background of World War II. The narrator was the daughter of Mrs S. They were Jews living in Germany and in perpetual danger of being imprisoned and persecuted. Most Jews were leaving their homes and going away to safer places. Mrs Dorling, a neighbour of Mrs S, used to visit them often. She suggested that Mrs S should leave her antiques and precious possessions in her care because she might have to leave in a hurry. Mrs Dorling carried away suitcases and bags full of antiques, crockery and cutlery of Mrs S’s family.

After the war, the narrator came back to the town, but did not feel like visiting Mrs Dorling immediately. After some time, she decided to go to the address 46, Marconi Street. Mrs Dorling met her, recognised her, but did not allow her inside the house because she was afraid that the visitor would claim her mother’s I possessions.

The narrator visited the family a second time and was greeted by the fifteen-year-old daughter of Mrs Dorling. She saw her family possessions all around the room. The girl told her they had eaten in those antique plates. The woollen table cloth had remained unrepaired even after many years. Seeing her family’s precious possessions in unfamiliar environment, the narrator suddenly did not desire to have them back.She left without waiting for Mrs Dorling. She felt it would be easy to forget the address 46, Marconi Street.

The Address Reading with Insight

Question 1.
“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?
Answer:
Yes, the statement gives us several clues about the story ‘I thought that no one had come back’ suggests that the family had perished in war. This prepares the reader for the background of war. The return of the narrator is not pleasant to the speaker as she showed no sign of recognition. The war was just over and she had not expected the narrator to return. She had recognized the girl (narrator) otherwise why should she say, “Have you come back?” Besides, the reader gets a clue that narrator and her mother left the town during the war.

Question 2.
The story “The Address” is divided into pre-war and post-war times. What hardships do you think the girl underwent during these times?
Answer:
The story ‘The Address’ deals with pre-war and post-war times. Total chaos and disharmony prevailed in pre-war times. Before that war the narrator’s mother had many valuable possessions, such as silver crockery, valuable paintings, antique plates, etc. It was war time when the family lived under the tension of losing their lives and belongings. The threat of war made them leave their hometown and go away. They left their valuables in Mrs. Dorling’s custody who trusted them to return their valuables after the war ended.

They suffered during the war and the post-war period. The narrator came back alone without her family. Her earlier wealth and luxurious lifestyle had vanished. Now she lived in a small room and had no place to keep her mother’s possessions. She thought of going to Mrs-. Dorling’s house when normalcy returned. But when she went to Mrs. Dorling’s house, she refused to recognize her and expressed surprise at her being alive. She did not have enough bread to eat. The memories and associations of earlier life were too painful to recall.

Question 3.
Why did the narrator finally decide to forget the address?
Answer:
The narrator wanted to forget the address because she did not want to take back her family’s precious possessions—the antiques, silver, paintings, etc. from Mrs Dorling. Initially, she had gone to 46, Marconi Street to take back her belongings, but when she saw them in a different setting, used carelessly and crudely she no longer felt the attachment and desire to have them back as she had felt earlier. In fact, she was so repelled by her experience that she did not even wait for Mrs Dorling and came away. She felt it would be easy to forget that address.

Question 4.
The Address’ is a story of human predicament that follows war. Comment.
Answer:
‘The Address’ states indirectly the human predicament that follows war. The narrator’s family had enjoyed luxury and comfort before the war. During the war they lived under constant threat and were displaced eventually. They moved from place to place. After the war, the narrator, Mrs S’s daughter, returned alone. The family was probably lost. Instead of her big house she lived in a small room. The experiences of war so troubled her that she could not feel secure for a long time.It is the ordinary human being who suffers the most during war.

Chapter 2 The Address