In "The Demon Lover" by Elizabeth Bowen, why does Mrs. Drover return to the house? 

In "The Demon Lover" by Elizabeth Bowen, why does Mrs. Drover return to the house?

 

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mwestwood eNotes educator| Certified Educator

During the bombing of London in World War II, people were forced to abandon their homes, and Mrs. Drover is one of these people. But one day Mrs. Drover decides to return to her house in order to gather some of the family's belongings.

Mrs. Drover went round to her shut­up house to look for several things she wanted to take away. Some belonged to herself, some to her family, who were by now used to their country life.

When Mrs. Drover arrives, she looks around and finds some cracks in the walls from the bombing. As a shaft of daylight makes its way into the hallway, she finds on the hall table a letter addressed to her. She wonders why a letter has come to this address, as she has been having her mail forwarded to the country. When Mrs. Dover reads this letter, she is startled because it reminds her of a meeting she had planned with her lover of years ago. Disturbed at the thought of meeting her former lover, Mrs. Dover leaves the house to hail a taxi. As the taxi pulls away, the driver turns around.

Through the aperture driver and passenger, not six inches between them, remained for an eternity eye to eye. Mrs. Drover’s mouth hung open for some seconds before she  could issue her first scream.

Mrs. Drover continues to scream as the taxi accelerates and takes her into the "hinterland of streets that are deserted." But the reader is left wondering if there were not some force urging Mrs. Drover to return this particular day, the day she had arranged with her lover, who had gone off to war and disappeared years ago.

teachsuccess eNotes educator| Certified Educator

In the story, Mrs. Drover returns to the house to check on her home and to retrieve some of her family's personal belongings. Her family is currently staying in the country in order to avoid the daily bombings in London.

The story is set during World War Two, and the condition of Mrs. Drover's home is indicative of that of many London homes during the London Blitz of 1940. The London Blitz describes the German campaign to terrorize London and to force the British to surrender. Originally, Hitler had ordered bombings on military installations but soon changed to bombing cities in order to bring about Britain's capitulation to his will.

The state of disrepair and air of isolation within Mrs. Drover's home is representative of so many homes Londoners had to flee from during the London Blitz. Those who could not flee to the country had to content themselves with hiding in underground shelters. Periodically, homeowners like Mrs. Drover braved the bombings to check on their homes and to retrieve personal belongings or needed supplies. Also, the caretaker Mrs. Drover has employed does not often check on the home, so Mrs. Drover feels more assured if she checks on her home personally.

Read the study guide:
The Demon Lover

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