The Machine Gunners

by Robert Westall

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In what ways does Audrey conform to traditional female roles of the 1940s in The Machine Gunners?

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Audrey is the nurturer, the mother-figure in the gang.  She shows the boys how to offer comfort to Nicky when his family is killed in Chapter 7, and bullies them into tempering their dangerous and reckless bravado in Chapter 8 with a measure of common sense.  It is Audrey who makes tea for the group in Chapter 8, who first thinks to offer a drink to the captured Rudi and fetches medicine for him in Chapter 10, and who helps Clogger patch himself up after his fight with Boddser in Chapter 11.  And finally, in Chapter 16, it is Audrey who calms the boys with a song as they wait for what they believe is the arrival of the Germans.

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