Kindertransport by Diane Samuels

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5 ‘FAITH. You sound like a shop assistant trying to make a sale./EVELYN. […] I told Mum we wouldn’t be long.’ – Evelyn is keen to get out of the room, trying to foist whole boxes of things on her daughter rather than going through them properly, item by item.

5 ‘What about for visitors?’ – This line establishes Evelyn as an Englishwoman of a certain generation and class: she would use mugs on an everyday basis, but offer guests the best china. Faith presumably sees such traditions as old-fashioned.

5 ‘Dad sent me another cheque.’ – Faith’s father is apparently trying to make up for his absence with gifts of money. Given Evelyn’s considerable ‘baggage’, it is not surprising that her marriage failed. Both Lil and Faith seem to regard her as highly-strung and eccentric.

5 ‘Would you use a strainer?’ – Evelyn doesn’t want to talk about ‘Dad’s cheque’. She changes the subject as before, but then a new idea occurs to her – ‘Aren’t you meant to save that money?’ – and she refers to an agreement that was apparently made when Faith was ‘fourteen’. The latter now wants to change this arrangement so she can ‘buy some of [her] own stuff’; Evelyn/Eva also, long ago, decided to change an arrangement with her own parents after she had grown older.

6 ‘He wouldn’t mind me spending it.’ – Faith is potentially setting her mother and father against each other.

6 ‘Your things are beautiful’ – Faith compliments her mother, possibly as a way of getting around the question of her spending her father’s cheque. She really doesn’t want all this stuff: something that is also indicated when she says, ‘You should keep them’ with respect to her mother’s things.

6 ‘Nothing is too good for my daughter.’ – Evelyn has invested a great deal in Faith.

6 ‘You said it was a bargain.’ – Evelyn picks Faith up on an inconsistency. Faith had previously glossed over the rent with her mother when she was more enthusiastic about moving into her own flat. Now that she is less certain about what she wants to do, she begins to emphasise its drawbacks.

6 ‘FAITH. Maybe you should have come to see it./ EVELYN. You’re quite capable of choosing a place to live without my help.’ – Samuels restates the theme of the child learning to be independent of the mother.

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Diane Samuels