Life After Life

Life After Life

by

Kate Atkinson

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Life After Life: A Lovely Day Tomorrow (III), Nov 1940 Summary & Analysis

Summary
Analysis
Ursula can hear Mrs. Appleyard trying to soothe Emil. Ursula feels alone, wishing for a warm body for comfort—or a dog. Ursula knows when the sirens will start, as though she can hear an echo that comes before the siren. She is about to run for the cellar when she notices a dog the opposite doorway. She races down the stairs, passing Lavinia and Ruth.
Ursula’s lack of romance does affect how she experiences the bomb in Argyll Road. Feeling lonely, the dog becomes a way to get her out of the house instead of leading her to the cellar.
Themes
Life, Reincarnation, and Alternate Possibilities Theme Icon
Fate vs. Choice Theme Icon
Ursula runs outside and grabs the dog. She then hears the loudest bang she’s ever heard. She takes a blow to the forehead and feels a horrendous pain in her ears. Something else hits her head and she loses consciousness. She is woken by the dog licking her face. She struggles to sit, her head feeling thick and stupid. She calls the dog “Lucky,” but when she speaks she nearly chokes on the dust in the air. She wonders if everyone in the apartment is dead.
Ursula experiences Argyll Road from a different perspective, but one that is no less horrific as she realizes that the war has taken many people whom she called her friends, demonstrating its mercilessness and its indiscriminate destruction.
Themes
War and Death Theme Icon
Ursula stumbles into the street. Two firemen—one of whom looks like (and is later revealed to be) Fred Smith—are attaching a hose to a hydrant when one of them yells, “the wall’s coming down!” The whole wall in front of Ursula tilts forward, falling in one piece and bringing darkness down with it.
Even though Ursula escapes the bombs in the cellar, she is still unable to escape death on Argyll Road, as war is so deadly that it yields innumerable chances for death.
Themes
War and Death Theme Icon