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I would say that one of the primary messages of Du Maurier's work is to underscore the fundamental capacity to endure and to survive as one of the basic characteristics of humanity. The birds seek to attack and obliterate the humans. Through Nat Hocken, Du Maurier suggests that one of the defining elements of human beings is the ability to persevere, try to care for what is important, and be prepared to prevent or offset the next attack. Hocken never relents in protecting his family and ensuring that the birds are not successful in their onslaught against the human beings. Hocken wishes that he could have helped more, but recognizes that he must protect himself and his loved ones against a formidable and relenting opponent. It is in this where the primary message of the story resides. Du Maurier understands the context in which she writes. In the Cold War, human beings were constantly under siege from the threat of nuclear attack. There is little in Hocken that suggests a weakness or capitulation. He always prepares for the next attack, fighting through it with the best of his capacity. In this, Du Maurier is highlighting what she considers to be one of the most intrinsic elements of being human and in this, adaptability and endurance can lead way to eventual triumph. Regardless of what happens to Nat, the reader recognizes that his will to survive is what makes him human and makes the human spirit and indomitable one.
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