MARQA MiNCO Marga Minco (born 1920) grew up in a Jewish family of five children in Breda.

Unlike her sisters, brothers and parents, she escaped being arrested and went into hiding during World War II. In 1957 she made her literary debut with the short novel Bitter Herbs, the laconic and devastating story of a young girl who gets away when her parents are arrested, and finally discovers that she has lost everyone who was close to her. Minco lives and works in Amsterdam. Minco's entire oeuvre is informed by the dreadful facts of the Holocaust. The inability to let go of the past is undeniably the overarching theme in Marga Minco's work. SUMMARY The story is divided into pre-war and post-war times. A young girl goes in search of her mother's belongings after the war in Holland. A woman whom she had known opens the door but at first refuses to recognise her. When she is reminded of having known her mother the woman refuses to talk to her and asked her to come some other time. The narrator remembers what her mother had told her about this woman Mrs Dorling, an acquaintance who had renewed contact suddenly with her. Everytime she visited she would take some item or the other suggesting that they would lose everything if the Nazis came to take them away. Her mother had introduced her to Mrs Dorling and even told her the address. After the liberation the narrator remembered the address and being curious about her mother's possessions, had gone over there. When the first visit proved futile she went a second time. This time Mrs Darling's daughter opened the door as her mother was not at home. She invited the narrator inside. In the living room the narrator saw all the familiar things her mother had once possessed. The objects evoked memories of the past but she decided to leave everything behind. She realised that once you are severed from objects of the past they lose their value. I. Answer the follozving questions in about 30-40 words each. (Solved) (a) "Have you come back?" said the woman, 'I thought that no one had come back'. Does this statement give some clue about the story? Ans. Yes, these words by Mrs Dorling to the narrator shows that she least expected such a visit. She had presumed that all of them were dead. This lead to the conclusion that the story is set against the tragic circumstances of a War in which families lost their lives and belongings. (b) What helped the narrator to confirm that she was speaking to the right person? Ans. Mrs Dorling was wearing the green knitted cardigan that belonged to the narrator's mother. The wooden buttons were pale from washing. When the woman tried to hide behind the door in order to avoid being seen the narrator was sure that she had come to the right place. The summary of The Address The story is a touching account of a girl who goes in search of her mother's belongings after the war, in Holland. But, most significantly, even on finding what she so much longed to see, touch , feel and remember, she leaves them all behind, only to move on and live a bleak life sans all former attachments, with only the memories of the former times to haunt her in the postwar days. The story categorically lays bare the epiphany of wars and their aftermath painstakingly. The daughter, the protagonist of the tale, is torn between two worlds: the one which was her own world with her mother and all kith and kin of her pre-war life and the one that is strange, unfamiliar and devoid of all sorts of physical attachments with her former world, a tragic existence she came to terms with after the war. Significantly, though the war has left her alone in every sense and respect, yet she accepts the stark realities of her post-war life and resolves not to escape from them. She could have committed suicide after losing her loved ones in the war. But she determines to live her life though it is hard for her to forget everything of her past life. Therefore, she decides to forget-the easiest thing-the address of a non-Jewish neighbour's house, where her family's belongings were stored. She collects nothing from that address and instead resolves to forget it. She knows there is nothing that the address can return to her. It can return neither her loved ones nor the peace of her mind nor the former state of well being. The address that held so much importance to her lost all value as she realised that it could give her nothing but pain. Therefore the address was no longer useful to her. The story starts with an illusion of a girl about the seeming normalcy returning to her country after the war. But soon she is disillusioned on visiting Mrs. Dorling's house. In fact, behind the facade of so called normalcy the grim realities of the post-war

situations were looming large. .

Sign up to vote on this title
UsefulNot useful