Clive Briggs, a British private. An illegitimate child and a product of the slums, he nevertheless has a good mind and is a deep thinker. After heroic conduct in the rear-guard action at Dunkirk, he is given a furlough and meets Prue Cathaway, the daughter of an upper-middle-class family. They fall in love and go on a ten-day holiday together. Clive is extremely bitter because of the disparity in opportunity among the English classes and decides that he will no longer fight for an England whose citizens are not equal. After his furlough, he fails to return to his military unit and is hunted as a deserter. Slipping into London to meet Prue, who has become pregnant, he is caught in an air raid and suddenly loses his idealistic rebelliousness. As he tries to rescue a woman trapped in the rubble, he is fatally injured by a falling wall.
Prudence (Prue) Cathaway
Prudence (Prue) Cathaway, a member of the W.A.A.F. and the daughter of an upper-middle-class family. When her fiancé proves to be a conscientious objector, her ideals and belief in English tradition impel her to join the women’s army. Educated, refined, and privileged, she is nevertheless strongly attracted to the intense but lower-class Clive. Although she is a virgin, she gives herself to him on their second date. She becomes pregnant during their holiday. After Clive’s heroic death, she draws great comfort from the...
(The entire section is 573 words.)