How does the war setting make "The Demon Lover" more believable?

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The setting of war adds a sense of unreality to Katherine's life and surroundings. Everything is dark, shut off, and unfamiliar because she and her family left the house to avoid the Blitz. This helps a reader more readily believe that supernatural elements—which are also unfamiliar—could exist.

Death and disaster also surround war. This helps add to the sense of foreboding in the story. Katherine questions herself, the appearance of the letter, its meaning, and the man in her memory. She knows so little about him but it's clear that he's kept her in his mind—whoever and whatever he is.

Her life was shaped by the World Wars. The first one caused her to meet and lose the lover that sent the letter. This led to her avoid entanglements until she was old enough that she worried she'd be alone. So she got married and her marriage and family were shaped by World War II because they had to abandon their home. This setting keeps Katherine off balance and lends her life a sense of imminent danger and foreboding which makes the story much more effective.

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War is usually a time of great uncertainty and upheaval, when reality itself seems to be turned upside-down. What was once normal is now decidedly abnormal, and vice versa. This certainly seems to be the case with Mrs. Drover. London during the Blitz, with its scores of ruined buildings hollowed out by German bombing raids, is almost unrecognizable. And those houses like Mrs. Drover's, which still stand but lie abandoned, have a certain haunted quality about them, which makes them the ideal location for all manner of strange goings-on.

We don't know for sure if the taxi driver really is the ghost of Mrs. Drover's former lover, or whether it's just a figment of her imagination. But the ghostly setting of London during the war certainly provides an appropriate backdrop to Mrs. Drover's mental disintegration. In the midst of war, all the old certainties are crumbling, and with them Mrs. Drover's mind.

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The end of "The Demon Lover" leaves the reader with uncertainties. Has Mrs. Drover's former lover driven off with her screaming in the taxi cab? Is this final scene all in Mrs. Drover's mind due to her traumatizing experiences during the Blitz?

This mysterious final scene ends a story grounded in fact. There are many references to war-torn London throughout the story. During the Blitz, Londoners did abandon their houses and flee to the country. Some streets were left in ruins. The city was transformed by the bombings and many people lived in fear. This was the reality of millions of people in London.

Mrs. Drover observes changes in her neighborhood. She sees "unoccupied houses... [which] meet her look with their damaged stare." She observes chimneys leaning and missing bricks from the bombings. She notices cracks on the wall when she goes inside her own house. These are outward signs of the damage done by the bombs. Inward signs are the trauma and anxiety that Londoners dealt with.

"The Demon Lover" is historical fiction. Historical fiction combines fact and fiction together. The historical facts in the story make it more realistic and believable.

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