Discussion Topic

Mrs. Drover and her house in "The Demon Lover."


Mrs. Drover's house in "The Demon Lover" is described as abandoned and war-damaged, reflecting her own sense of desolation and unease. Returning to the house triggers memories of a traumatic past encounter with a former lover, heightening her anxiety and fear. The house serves as a physical manifestation of Mrs. Drover's inner turmoil and unresolved emotional conflict.

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What happens after Mrs. Drover leaves the house in "The Demon Lover"?

After Mrs. Drover leaves the house, a lone taxi pulls up to pick her up.

The text tells us that Mrs. Drover walks to the main road after she leaves the house. At the busy thoroughfare, a taxi pulls up. It is as if the driver instinctively knows that Mrs. Drover needs a ride.

Unfortunately for Mrs. Drover, the taxi driver begins to drive back to her house. She begins to panic when she realizes what is happening. As she had not given any previous instructions to the driver, she is horrified at this unforeseen development. Frantically, she scratches on the glass panel to get the driver's attention.

Almost immediately, the driver brakes, causing the car to come close to stopping. The sudden action plunges Mrs. Drover forward, so that her eyes meet the driver's. It takes only a moment before a horrible realization dawns on Mrs. Drover. At this point, the author does not confirm who Mrs. Drover has seen.

However, we suspect that she has just seen her lover from the past, and this is what shocks her. Of course, the touch of magical realism here makes the ending even more startling. The question begs to be asked: did Mrs. Drover recognize the "spectral glitters" in her former lover's eyes? The word "spectral" refers to an otherworldly presence. So, has the lover returned in spirit form to take Mrs. Drover back to himself?

The author suggests that this is exactly what happens in the last line of the story. The word "hinterland" evokes images of otherworldly regions, beyond the comprehension of our human consciousness.

After that she continued to scream freely and to beat with her gloved hands on the glass all round as the taxi, accelerating without mercy, made off with her into the hinterland of deserted streets.

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What happens after Mrs. Drover leaves the house in "The Demon Lover"?

     There is not much that happens after Mrs. Dover leaves the house, but it is where everything in the story comes together.  She leaves the house when a draft of air suggests someone is leaving the basement or is in the house with her. She quickly descends the stairs and exits the house with some relief her disturbing journey is near completion. Mrs. Dover quickly finds a taxi in a deserted area and is thankful for her luck. However, upon entering the cab it begins to drive back toward the house although she has not given directions to the driver. She knocks on the glass to get his attention. Staring into the eyes of the driver she is paralyzed for a few moments. Then she begins to scream.

     The last few minutes of Mrs. Dover's journey make up very little of the overall storyline. However, it is these last few minutes that beautifully tie in the entire story to the culminating point. The reader is left to ponder her ultimate fate.

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Why did everyone leave Mrs. Drover's house in The Demon Lover?

The story is set during World War II, in 1941. The Drover family has left their London home to live in the countryside because of the Nazi blitz or bombing raids that were to break the British spirit and help defeat the country. In fact, everyone on Mrs. Drover's street has left, except for a part-time caretaker. The empty, unhomelike quality of a deserted street and a boarded up, deserted house, adds to the ghostly aspect of this story.

Because it is wartime, and because Mrs. Drover has returned to an empty, eerie home, she is triggered to remember an earlier war, World War I, and a soldier she met then, especially because an unstamped letter from him mysteriously appears on the hall table.

War is an important backdrop to this story. We realize as the story unfolds that Mrs. Drover is in the process of living through two world wars. She was young in 1916, when her lover left to go to war, and she is in her forties now, but the trauma of war—and now its repetition—has marked her life, as it did so many people of her generation. It seems appropriate that a threatening lover who left in one war would reappear in ghostly form in the next war.

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