Kindertransport by Diane Samuels

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6 ‘Maybe it’s not a good idea to move.’ – This statement from Faith comes after a pause. She finally reveals she is not as keen on moving out as she was initially.

6 ‘EVELYN continues to polish.’ – This is rather unaccountable behaviour – even if Faith does want the glasses, which seems unlikely. It is later established that Evelyn slips into a routine of obsessive cleaning and polishing when she is upset or stressed, presumably as some kind of comfort mechanism. It is possibly intended also to imply a concern with surface appearances: Evelyn’s life is, in a sense, only appearance. She was originally a German Jewess, though now she identifies, in the words of the ‘Characters’ page, as an ‘English middle-class woman.’ Exactly why Evelyn is stressed at this point is not yet clear: she seems to have reconciled herself to Faith moving out, but her daughter’s continual wavering must be difficult for her. She is clearly intent on not influencing her one way or the other, and by concentrating on the glasses she gives herself an excuse for not commenting. Her nervousness about pushing her daughter out of the nest is understandable given her childhood experiences with her own mother.

7 ‘I think that if you say you’re going, you should go.’ – Evelyn is forced to comment here. She is clearly disturbed by Faith’s wavering, and she cannot help but show her exasperation: ‘Oh Faith […] you’re impossible.’

7 ‘I don’t like leaving you on your own…’ – This is a revealing statement. There is a general expectation that children will want to ‘fly the nest’ and that parents are reluctant to let them go, but while this pattern certainly exists it may not be as prevalent as people assume. Faith is torn between wanting to leave and wanting to continue providing her mother with some company. She is obviously concerned about her. This situation between to the two characters is intended to parallel – or at least to provide an echo of – the situation between Helga and Eva. Eva wants to stay with her mother and father: part of her, in fact, would have preferred the chance to die with her mother and father – an option which the adult world cannot understand or allow.

7 ‘Tablecloths?’ – Evelyn rather comically resorts to another household item in an effort to avoid the implications of Faith’s conversation.

7 ‘FAITH. I don’t want to go./ EVELYN (still polishing). Will eleven glasses be enough?’ – Even when Faith is quite clear about her wishes, Evelyn chooses to ignore her. Her demeanour here parallel’s Helga’s manner of dealing with Eva’s reluctance to go away on the Kindertransport.

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Diane Samuels
the Unkindness of Ravens If you have found our critical notes helpful, why not try the first Tower Notes novel, a historical fantasy set in the time of the Anglo-Saxon invasions.

Available HERE where you can read the opening chapters.

The Unkindness of Ravens by Anthony Paul