Life After Life

Life After Life

by

Kate Atkinson

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Edward (“Teddy”) Todd Character Analysis

Ursula’s younger brother and the second youngest of the Todd children. Teddy seems to be everyone’s favorite, including Ursula’s. He is adorable as a boy, in complete contrast to Maurice, and as he gets older he and Ursula grow closer and closer. Teddy studies at Oxford before he decides that he wants to be a farmer and write poetry. He also starts a romance with one of their neighbors, Nancy Shawcross. Ursula thinks that she would do anything for Teddy, and he shows himself willing to do anything for her as well. When Ursula’s abusive husband, Derek Oliphant, follows her to Izzie’s apartment, Teddy tries to step in and prevent Derek from beating her to death. Teddy’s life is upended with the beginning of World War II; he enlists as a pilot and is eventually shot down. In some timelines, it is unclear whether he lives or dies, but the final timeline sees him reunite with Ursula and Nancy, highlighting the importance of their bond.

Edward (“Teddy”) Todd Quotes in Life After Life

The Life After Life quotes below are all either spoken by Edward (“Teddy”) Todd or refer to Edward (“Teddy”) Todd. For each quote, you can also see the other characters and themes related to it (each theme is indicated by its own dot and icon, like this one:
Life, Reincarnation, and Alternate Possibilities Theme Icon
). Note: all page numbers and citation info for the quotes below refer to the Hachette edition of Life After Life published in 2013.
War (I), Jul 1914 Quotes

Motherhood was her responsibility, her destiny. It was, lacking anything else (and what else could there be?), her life.

Page Number: 41
Explanation and Analysis:
A Lovely Day Tomorrow (I), Nov 1940 Quotes

“Could you do that? Could you kill a baby? With a gun? Or what if you had no gun, how about with your bare hands? In cold blood.”

If I thought it would save Teddy, Ursula thought. Not just Teddy, of course, the rest of the world, too.

Related Characters: Ursula Todd (speaker), Ralph (speaker), Edward (“Teddy”) Todd, Adolf Hitler
Page Number: 277
Explanation and Analysis:
A Long Hard War, May 1941 Quotes

“We only have one after all, we should try and do our best. We can never get it right, but we must try.” (The transformation was complete.)

“What if we had a chance to do it again and again,” Teddy said, “until we finally did get it right? Wouldn’t that be wonderful?”

“I think it would be exhausting.”

Related Characters: Ursula Todd (speaker), Edward (“Teddy”) Todd (speaker), Jürgen Fuchs, Adolf Hitler
Page Number: 446
Explanation and Analysis:
The Broad Sunlit Uplands, May 1945 Quotes

Ursula stayed where she was, worried suddenly that if she moved it would all disappear, the whole happy scene break into pieces before her eyes. But then she thought, no, this was real, this was true, and she laughed with uncomplicated joy as Teddy let go of Nancy long enough to stand to attention and give Ursula a smart salute.

Page Number: 525
Explanation and Analysis:
Get the entire Life After Life LitChart as a printable PDF.
Life After Life PDF

Edward (“Teddy”) Todd Character Timeline in Life After Life

The timeline below shows where the character Edward (“Teddy”) Todd appears in Life After Life. The colored dots and icons indicate which themes are associated with that appearance.
Four Seasons Fill the Measure of the Year, June 1914
Gender Roles and Expectations Theme Icon
...Sylvie’s relief. In June, Sylvie and the four children (they have a new addition named Teddy) rent a house in Cornwall for the month to vacation by the beach. Hugh stays... (full context)
War (I), July 1914
Family and Love Theme Icon
Later that evening, Sylvie ushers her children to bed and then feeds Teddy. She thinks how she likes her children best as babies, and that Teddy is particularly... (full context)
Family and Love Theme Icon
Later, as Sylvie and Hugh read in bed, they concur that Teddy is their best baby yet, joking and agreeing that they should keep him. They laugh,... (full context)
Gender Roles and Expectations Theme Icon
...stops to have their lunch, and Sylvie goes to find a discreet spot to feed Teddy. Just as he settles at her breast, George Glover comes out of the trees at... (full context)
War (II), 20 January 1915
Life, Reincarnation, and Alternate Possibilities Theme Icon
Fate vs. Choice Theme Icon
Bridget comes into the nursery with Teddy, telling Ursula to get down from the window. Ursula had been about to jump onto... (full context)
Armistice (I), June 1918
War and Death Theme Icon
Gender Roles and Expectations Theme Icon
Three years later, it is Teddy’s fourth birthday, and Sylvie has prepared a surprise party. Bridget, Pamela, Ursula, and Teddy go... (full context)
Family and Love Theme Icon
...his bicycle to spend the day with friends, completely uninterested in Pamela’s and Ursula’s lives. Teddy, on the other hand, is loyal and affectionate like a dog. Clarence meets them at... (full context)
War and Death Theme Icon
The Todds return home, and Ursula is nearly as surprised as Teddy by the party, having forgotten all about it. The hallway is decorated with flags and... (full context)
Armistice (I), 11 November 1918
Family and Love Theme Icon
War and Death Theme Icon
...neighbors, Major Shawcross and Mrs. Shawcross. They have five daughters, which excites Pamela, Ursula, and Teddy, as there are no other girls their age in the neighborhood. (full context)
Armistice (II), 12 November 1918
Family and Love Theme Icon
It is only after the hare is stripped when anyone notices Teddy’s absence. Teddy doesn’t respond to his name being called, and Ursula looks in his favorite... (full context)
Family and Love Theme Icon
Ursula, despite all instinct, enters Bridget’s room and finds Teddy on Bridget’s bed. He says that he thought his airplane might make Bridget feel better—he... (full context)
Armistice (V), 11 November 1918
Gender Roles and Expectations Theme Icon
At that moment, there is a great commotion at the front door. Teddy runs to see, reporting back to Ursula that Sylvie is kissing a man, and they’re... (full context)
Peace, February 1947
War and Death Theme Icon
Gender Roles and Expectations Theme Icon
...Day (Victory in Europe Day), swallowing a bottle of sleeping pills and laying down on Teddy’s childhood bed. She had not left a note, but to her family, her intentions had... (full context)
War and Death Theme Icon
...Pamela and puts it on the mantlepiece next a clock that belonged to Sylvie, and Teddy’s photo and his Distinguished Flying Cross medal. Teddy and his crew sat in chairs with... (full context)
Like a Fox in a Hole, September 1923
Family and Love Theme Icon
War and Death Theme Icon
...the waiting room sob on the shoulder of the receptionist. Ursula thought then that when Teddy cried when he was younger, she couldn’t bear it. All she wanted to do was... (full context)
Like a Fox in a Hole, December 1923
Fate vs. Choice Theme Icon
The children are decorating the house for Christmas, and Ursula and Teddy go outside in search of holly. Their dog Trixie (Bosun had died a few years... (full context)
Like a Fox in a Hole, 11 February 1926 (I)
Gender Roles and Expectations Theme Icon
...women in his family. The boys decide to go outside to play a game with Teddy’s ball. (full context)
Family and Love Theme Icon
Gender Roles and Expectations Theme Icon
...she spent a weekend in Fox Corner when she had essentially ignored everyone except for Teddy, whom she had quizzed relentlessly on his life, his school, his hobbies, and his friends.... (full context)
Gender Roles and Expectations Theme Icon
Izzie has one final gift, but for Teddy: a book called The Adventures of Augustus, by Delphie Fox. Izzie reveals that she has... (full context)
Gender Roles and Expectations Theme Icon
On the way back, Ursula trips over Howie, digging through the bushes trying to find Teddy’s ball. Howie offers to warm her up in the cold and pushes his lips against... (full context)
Family and Love Theme Icon
Ursula returns to the house and finds Teddy, gloomy because the boys lost his ball. He opens Izzie’s book and scowls. Ursula picks... (full context)
Like a Fox in a Hole, August 1926 (I)
Life, Reincarnation, and Alternate Possibilities Theme Icon
Fate vs. Choice Theme Icon
...door, asking if they’ve seen Nancy—they haven’t. He looks sick, saying she’s missed her dinner. Teddy offers to help look for her; of the Shawcross girls, he is closest to Nancy.... (full context)
Like a Fox in a Hole, June 1932
Gender Roles and Expectations Theme Icon
...marry in a registrar’s office, witnessed only by Hugh, Sylvie, and Derek’s mother. Pamela and Teddy are both upset not to have been invited, but Ursula is just happy to belong... (full context)
Family and Love Theme Icon
Ursula tells her family that she’d gone away for the summer, but Teddy is able to find her at Izzie’s. His presence cheers Ursula up immediately. He asks... (full context)
Gender Roles and Expectations Theme Icon
Ursula dozes off with her head on Teddy’s shoulder, still tremendously tired, until the doorbell rings. She answers it, presuming that it is... (full context)
Family and Love Theme Icon
Ursula cannot see because of the blood in her eyes, but she can hear Teddy and Derek fighting. She thinks that she doesn’t mind dying, as long as Teddy is... (full context)
Like a Fox in a Hole, 11 February 1926 (II)
Life, Reincarnation, and Alternate Possibilities Theme Icon
Fate vs. Choice Theme Icon
Gender Roles and Expectations Theme Icon
...off. Ursula thinks that this is “a small triumph for her new womanhood.” She finds Teddy’s ball and returns it to him. (full context)
A Lovely Day Tomorrow (I), November 1940
Fate vs. Choice Theme Icon
War and Death Theme Icon
...baby to prevent it from happening. She thinks that she would, if it would save Teddy. (full context)
Family and Love Theme Icon
Teddy had been working on a small farm and wrote poetry, but had applied to the... (full context)
A Lovely Day Tomorrow (II), April 1940
Family and Love Theme Icon
Gender Roles and Expectations Theme Icon
...she doesn’t feel “on the shelf,” and wishes that Crighton were there at the table. Teddy supports her, saying she does all right on her own. Izzie defends her as well,... (full context)
Life, Reincarnation, and Alternate Possibilities Theme Icon
...Pamela, for whom the journey was too challenging. Jimmy has a few days’ leave and Teddy has brought Nancy along as well. Hugh asks Teddy when he’s going to pop the... (full context)
Life, Reincarnation, and Alternate Possibilities Theme Icon
War and Death Theme Icon
...and toast, and announces that Norway has fallen. Ursula is simply relieved that she knows Teddy and Jimmy are safe in Fox Corner for the morning. (full context)
A Lovely Day Tomorrow (III), August 1926
Family and Love Theme Icon
...desserts and returns home, dejected, bringing a large piece of cake home for her and Teddy to share. (full context)
The Land of Begin Again, April 1945
Family and Love Theme Icon
War and Death Theme Icon
Ursula wonders if it is Teddy bombing her. She hopes it is—it would mean that he is alive. Two years earlier... (full context)
A Long Hard War, October 1940 (II)
Family and Love Theme Icon
...been needlessly unkind to Hugh in the few months prior. Jimmy couldn’t get leave, but Teddy had shown up at the last minute. He and Nancy hold each other. Izzie had... (full context)
A Long Hard War, May 1941
Family and Love Theme Icon
Teddy returns from training, and he and Ursula visit a World War I war memorial together.... (full context)
Life, Reincarnation, and Alternate Possibilities Theme Icon
Teddy gazes at the monument, looking at all of the names (and all of the lives... (full context)
Family and Love Theme Icon
Teddy takes Ursula for a drink. He doesn’t want to talk about flying, about the war,... (full context)
Fate vs. Choice Theme Icon
Family and Love Theme Icon
Teddy is going up to Fox Corner the next morning, and Ursula insists that he take... (full context)
A Long Hard War, November 1943
Family and Love Theme Icon
War and Death Theme Icon
...has no idea what he could possibly be there for, until he tells her that Teddy’s plane had gone down in Berlin a few nights ago. He is officially “missing in... (full context)
Family and Love Theme Icon
War and Death Theme Icon
...is shocked that he almost sounds “bemused by [her] grief. He had never cared for Teddy the way they all did.” On his way out, he pats her on the shoulder... (full context)
Life, Reincarnation, and Alternate Possibilities Theme Icon
Family and Love Theme Icon
War and Death Theme Icon
The family gathers at Fox Corner, but there is no body for a funeral. Teddy’s status has since changed from “missing in action” to “missing, presumed dead.” Nancy is there... (full context)
Family and Love Theme Icon
War and Death Theme Icon
Nancy asks Ursula to find out if there’s even a chance Teddy could still be alive, so Izzie and Ursula seek out the pilot who saw Teddy’s... (full context)
Family and Love Theme Icon
War and Death Theme Icon
...dog. On VE day, Sylvie takes an overdose of sleeping pills and lays down on Teddy’s childhood bed. In the will she left, Sylvie had divided the remainder of her and... (full context)
A Long Hard War, February 1947
Life, Reincarnation, and Alternate Possibilities Theme Icon
Fate vs. Choice Theme Icon
Family and Love Theme Icon
War and Death Theme Icon
...her for the food from Fox Corner. She sets it next to Sylvie’s clock and Teddy’s photograph. Ursula clears her plate to the sink, and the electricity goes out. She takes... (full context)
A Long Hard War, June 1967
Life, Reincarnation, and Alternate Possibilities Theme Icon
War and Death Theme Icon
...already forgotten so many names, so many young lives lost. Ursula had also thought of Teddy. (full context)
Gender Roles and Expectations Theme Icon
...wanted, born in 1949. For Ursula, Sarah fills a hole in her heart left by Teddy’s loss. (full context)
The End of the Beginning
Life, Reincarnation, and Alternate Possibilities Theme Icon
Fate vs. Choice Theme Icon
Family and Love Theme Icon
...her destiny: “Become such as you are, having learned what that is.” She thinks of Teddy and Miss Woolf and others who have died. “This is love,” she thinks. “And the... (full context)
The Broad Sunlit Uplands, May 1945
Life, Reincarnation, and Alternate Possibilities Theme Icon
War and Death Theme Icon
Teddy and a friend, Vic, are at a pub in London, having hitchhiked with an American... (full context)
Life, Reincarnation, and Alternate Possibilities Theme Icon
Fate vs. Choice Theme Icon
Family and Love Theme Icon
War and Death Theme Icon
Teddy phones Nancy from the pub. A half hour later, Nancy arrives with Ursula. Nancy runs... (full context)