RBSE Solutions for Class 11 English Snapshots Chapter 2 The Address
RBSE Solutions for Class 11 English Snapshots Chapter 2 The Address
Text Book Questions and Answers
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 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.
Reading with Insight
‘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?
The narrator went back after the war to Marconi Street—Number 46, in search of her mother’s belongings. The belongings were with a non-Jewish lady, Mrs Dorling, who had stayed close by. This woman had often come to their place and regularly taken heavy boxes of silverware, cutlery, crockery etc. to keep with her till after the war. Not only did she volunteer to keep them, but had also insisted that they leave the things with her for safety.
However, when the narrator returned, Mrs Dorling at first refused to recognise her and then she expressed her surprise and said that she had not expected anyone to return. This is the first vital clue that the people who had once left the country were unwelcome. The people, who had volunteered to keep their belongings safely, were using their things as their own and had no intention of returning them. The political animosity had seeped into personal lives as well.
The story is divided into pre-War and post-War times. What hardships do you think the girl underwent during these times?
The story is divided into pre-War and post-War times. The situations lend a direct contrast to each other. During the pre¬War times, the narrator and her mother lived a comfortable life, where there was bonding between the people in their neighbourhood. When during the first half of the War, the narrator visited her home she noticed that various things were missing. Her mother told her about Mrs Dorling, an old acquaintance, who had suddenly turned up and renewed their contact.
Since then, she had come regularly. She had insisted on taking their things to “save” all the “nice things”. The narrator’s mother also censured her daughter for not trusting the lady.As the narrator feared, when she went back after the war, Mrs Dorling stood at the door and “wanted to prevent it opening any further. Her face gave absolutely no sign of recognition.” She was wearing her mother’s green knitted cardigan but refused to talk to the narrator. She said that it was “not convenient” for her to talk. It was a betrayal of trust and sentiment.
The girl, like anyone who goes through war, must have undergone a traumatic experience. They were uprooted and insecure. They had to leave the country that they thought to be their own, leave their house and belongings that were not merely things but held memories and had sentiments attached to them. The basic necessities of life were not available. Moreover, they left behind the people who they thought were their friends. Above all, they lived a threatened life. This is evident through the observation of the narrator—“But gradually everything became more normal again. Bread was getting to be a lighter colour, there was a bed one could sleep in unthreatened, a room with a view one was more used to glancing at each day.”
Why did the narrator of the story want to forget the address?
The narrator’s visit to Mrs Dorling’s house horrified her. She had come out of curiosity to see her possessions to see them, touch them, and relive the memories attached with them. But she felt oppressed in the strange atmosphere. Her eyes fell on the woollen tablecloth. The memories came flooding back to her. She followed the lines of the pattern and knew that somewhere on the edge there should be a bum mark that had never been repaired.
The cups on the tea table, the white pot, the spoons, all were so familiar and yet so strange. She recalled how as a child she had always fancied the apple on the pewter plate. She said one gets so used to touching all the lovely things in the house that one ceases to notice them unless something is missing. She recalled the time her mother had asked her to polish the silver. It was then that she had realised the spoons, forks and knives, they ate off every day were silver.
The objects were linked in her memory with the familiar life of earlier times but now they had lost their value because with the passage of time she felt cut off from them as they were now in unfamiliar surroundings. Moreover, she now lived in a small rented room where no more than a handful of cutlery could fit in the narrow table drawer. Hence, she thought of an easier way out to forget the address.
‘The Address’ is a story of human predicament that follows war. Comment.
Although, this is apparently a very sad story about loss and regret emanating from the persecution of the Dutch Jews during the Second World War, it also speaks, more intimately, of the personal challenges we all must face as individuals in resolving crisis in our own lives. The story relays events before and after the war as the female narrator attempts to confront her past as she visits “the address” where her family’s past belongings were ‘stored,’ at a non- Jewish neighbour’s house.
She felt the urge to see them, touch and recall memories. On a deeper level, the story is a commentary on memories and remembering on what is worth remembering and what is worth forgetting: things “lose their value when you see them again, tom out of context…”
RBSE Solutions for Class 11 English Snapshots Chapter 2 The Address, Study Learner