In Daphne Du Maurier's short story, "The Birds," what word describes Nat and his family's need for communication with the outside world? The word choices are: unnecessary, imperative, placid, or...

In Daphne Du Maurier's short story, "The Birds," what word describes Nat and his family's need for communication with the outside world? The word choices are: unnecessary, imperative, placid, or furtive.

Expert Answers
booboosmoosh eNotes educator| Certified Educator

In Daphne Du Maurier's short story, "The Birds," the main character is Nat Hocken, who lives with his wife and two children on "the Cornish coast of England."

Wounded in the war, and compensated by way of a pension, Nat supports his family by working part-time at the Triggs, a neighboring farm.

Nat has a reputation of keeping to himself—described as a "solitary" person. He is observant and notices the birds gathering, as well as their unusually aggressive behavior. It is perhaps because he is so much on his own that he sees what his neighbors do not. After the first night defending his family and home from the attacks of the birds, he notices (going outside) that no smoke is rising from the fireplaces of homes in town, and when visiting the Triggs' farm, he find Mr. and Mrs. Trigg dead, as well Jim, their hired hand.

If I were to choose one answer, I would select "unnecessary." Though his interactions with the Triggs is "placid" (calm), Nat's disposition seems to lean more closely to "unnecessary." He is an efficient worker, but seemingly introspective and quietly observant. The other choices do not seem to fit at all. As the family is very closely knit, I believe this description could apply to both Nat, and his wife and children. ("Imperative" means "absolutely necessary," and "furtive" means "sneaky.")

kmj23 eNotes educator| Certified Educator

In "The Birds," we can describe Nat and his family's need for outside communication as imperative. This is clearly shown by Nat's attitude to the wireless bulletin. Once he realizes that the birds are on the attack, for example, Nat's primary focus is on surviving the night until the next news bulletin at 7 a.m:

“All right,” he said, “all right. I’ll wait till morning. And we can get the wireless bulletin then, too, at seven."

In addition, one of Nat's final actions in the story is to switch on the "cracking wireless." This image of Nat and his wife sitting by the wireless demonstrates their need for information from the outside world. It shows that Nat knows that his family's chances of survival are slim without outside help. There is only so long that they can stay in their boarded-up home with limited provisions. They need a connection to the outside world, and it is for these reasons that the word "imperative" is the most appropriate.