- a dog and a horse by railroad tracks (1)
- Robert is a soldier, his uniform is tattered, and he is in a daze. “He had wandered for
over a week.” Something horrible has happened
- “Robert appeared to be the sole survivor.” Is it a train wreck?
- “It was as if both dog and horse had been waiting for Robert to come for them.” (2)
Possible connection to animals?
- “This was when the moon rose – red.” A premonition, red could symbolize blood –
- all this happened a long time ago (3)
- “The occupants of memory have to be protected from strangers.” Memory has to be
preserved and hidden from those who seek to exploit
- differences of opinion about Robert – obviously did something bad that polarized
- “sometime, someone will forget himself and say too much or else the corner of a picture
will reveal the whole.”
- Euripides killed by dogs – link to opening quote?
- told in second person, impersonal. Beginning at photo archives
- “Spread over table tops, a whole age lies in fragments underneath the lamp.” Sets
atmosphere, as though we are unearthing a past that has long remained dormant
- “1915. The year itself looks sepia and soiled – muddied like its pictures.” (4) atmosphere
- description of people very shy and unassuming.
- pictures alter as war goes on – people are waving at camera (5)
- on the picture of the dazed Robert: “You know it will obtrude again and again until you
find its meaning – here.” (6)
- Robert “doubts the validity in all this martialling of men but the doubt is inarticulate.”
That Robert opposed the war says a lot about the circumstances – Rowena’s death, his
mother – that drove him to enlist
- Rowena not seen in pictures because people in her state were hidden from society and
looked down upon
- Robert doesn’t think his mother should be so forward. “Such things have to be
done…someone has to do them.” (7) A patriotic duty.
- Mrs. Ross performs her wartime duties because of dreams.
- Robert seems to reject petty schoolboy crushes (8)
- the picture of the dotted iceberg. Evidence of a curious, pensive individual.
- “Shuffle these cards and lay them out: this is the hand that Robert Ross was born with.”
Does this suggest Robert may have been dealt a rotten life???
- Marian Turner cared for Robert in the hospital after his arrest (9) - Robert in her opinion “someone extremely well made who cared about his body.”
- Robert’s fragility – “like glass” (10) a hero
- “He did the thing that no one else would even dare to think of doing.”***
- “It’s the ordinary men and women who’ve made us who we are.” While it was the
politicians that shaped the events that led the war, it was the individual men and women
who made up the country who pledged their lives and ultimately determined the
outcome of the war.
- “The passions involved [in bringing about the war] were as ordinary as me and my sister
fighting over who is going to cook dinner!” (11) War is an integral part of the human
- “That’s what binds us together. They appeal to our basest instincts.”
- Robert no Hitler, precisely his problem. Robert was not a prominent individual like
Hitler, so his achievements went unnoticed.
- stepping back from the fire as he descends the train (12)
- Robert shy of girls
- confused over Heather Lawson situation – naïve/impatient in matters dealing with girls
- Robert is easily bruised. (14) fragility of innocence, how easily it is corrupted
- “The melting snow began to turn to mist and the mist was filled with rabbits and
Rowena and his father and his mother and the whole of his past life – birth and death
and childhood. He could breathe them in and breathe them out.” (14) Changing seasons
reflect changing times.
- dog watching Robert at the train station (15) A companion to Robert.
- Rowena’s death “Robert’s fault”, “her…