Life After Life

Life After Life

by

Kate Atkinson

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Ursula’s father and Sylvie’s husband. Hugh and Sylvie get married relatively young and have five children: Maurice, Pamela, Ursula, Teddy, and Jimmy. Hugh is a banker and the head of the household, but he also fights in World War I as a soldier. When he returns, he doesn’t talk about the war much and continues to be a supportive father to his five children and a supportive husband to Sylvie. In contrast to Sylvie, he is particularly fond of Ursula, he continues to care for and encourage her no matter the circumstances. When Ursula winds up in the hospital following her abortion, he goes to the hospital and holds her hand, which Ursula says is what keeps her tethered to this world. Hugh dies at home during World War II of a heart attack, and Ursula is devastated by his loss, as he was always there to support her.

Hugh Todd Quotes in Life After Life

The Life After Life quotes below are all either spoken by Hugh Todd or refer to Hugh 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.
Like a Fox in a Hole, Aug 1926 (I) Quotes

“But he forced himself on you,” she fumed, “how can you think it was your fault?”

“But the consequences...” Ursula murmured.

Sylvie blamed her entirely, of course. “You’ve thrown away your virtue, your character, everyone’s good opinion of you.”

Related Characters: Ursula Todd (speaker), Sylvie Todd (speaker), Pamela Todd (speaker), Hugh Todd, Howie
Page Number: 199
Explanation and Analysis:
Like a Fox in a Hole, Jun 1932 Quotes

“Intact?” Ursula echoed, staring at Sylvie in the mirror. What did that mean, that she was flawed? Or broken?

“One’s maidenhood,” Sylvie said. “Deflowering,” she added impatiently when she saw Ursula’s blank expression. “For someone who is far from innocent you seem remarkably naive.”

Related Characters: Ursula Todd (speaker), Sylvie Todd (speaker), Hugh Todd, Derek Oliphant, Howie
Page Number: 217
Explanation and Analysis:
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Hugh Todd Character Timeline in Life After Life

The timeline below shows where the character Hugh Todd appears in Life After Life. The colored dots and icons indicate which themes are associated with that appearance.
Be Ye Men of Valor (I), November 1930
Life, Reincarnation, and Alternate Possibilities Theme Icon
Fate vs. Choice Theme Icon
...She wipes her mouth with her handkerchief, and then bends down to retrieve her father Hugh’s old revolver from her handbag with the handkerchief. She pulls it out and levels it... (full context)
Snow (I), 11 February 1910
Life, Reincarnation, and Alternate Possibilities Theme Icon
...are alone in the ordeal. Their other maid, Alice, is visiting her mother, Sylvie’s husband Hugh is chasing down his sister Izzie in Paris, and Sylvie does not want to wake... (full context)
Four Seasons Fill the Measure of the Year, 11 February 1910
Gender Roles and Expectations Theme Icon
...had to be sold, and her mother then got consumption. Seventeen-year-old Sylvie was saved by Hugh, a rising star in the world of banking. (full context)
Gender Roles and Expectations Theme Icon
Lottie had died the next year and Hugh and Sylvie married on her eighteenth birthday. They honeymooned in France before settling in “semirural... (full context)
Four Seasons Fill the Measure of the Year, May 1910
Gender Roles and Expectations Theme Icon
Hugh brings a telegram into the nursery when Sylvie is feeding Ursula a few months later,... (full context)
Family and Love Theme Icon
Gender Roles and Expectations Theme Icon
Izzie had already been noticeably pregnant when Hugh tracked her down in Paris a few months prior. Adelaide, their mother, had barred the... (full context)
Life, Reincarnation, and Alternate Possibilities Theme Icon
Fate vs. Choice Theme Icon
Family and Love Theme Icon
...baby” and buries her underneath a pile of leaves. She starts to fall asleep before Hugh finds her and rescues her. (full context)
Four Seasons Fill the Measure of the Year, June 1914
Gender Roles and Expectations Theme Icon
...named Teddy) rent a house in Cornwall for the month to vacation by the beach. Hugh stays with them for the first week; Bridget remains with them for the remaining three. (full context)
Snow (III), 11 February 1910
Life, Reincarnation, and Alternate Possibilities Theme Icon
Fate vs. Choice Theme Icon
...leave the snowdrop. Sylvie cradles Ursula, thinking what kind of message she will send to Hugh: “Baby has arrived stop all well stop.” But she wonders if they are “all well,”... (full context)
War (I), June 1914
War and Death Theme Icon
Gender Roles and Expectations Theme Icon
When Sylvie and the children return from their holiday, Hugh asks if they are glad to be back. Sylvie returns, “Are you glad to have... (full context)
War (I), July 1914
War and Death Theme Icon
Gender Roles and Expectations Theme Icon
Hugh returns from work and rescues Sylvie from the conversation, offering the women some gin slings.... (full context)
Family and Love Theme Icon
...children best as babies, and that Teddy is particularly special. From the window, she hears Hugh escort Margaret and Lily indoors, offering to show them the electric engine. (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... (full context)
Gender Roles and Expectations Theme Icon
...go play with other nine-year-old boys, collecting things like frogs, worms, or a dead bird. Hugh stays behind to read on the terrace at the back of the house and enjoy... (full context)
Family and Love Theme Icon
War and Death Theme Icon
Gender Roles and Expectations Theme Icon
Hugh greets Sylvie and the children when they walk home, saying they look kissed by the... (full context)
Gender Roles and Expectations Theme Icon
...night, Sylvie abandons her book for “less cerebral pursuits,” but finds that as she and Hugh have sex she thinks only of George Glover. Hugh comments on how lively she is,... (full context)
War (I), January 1915
War and Death Theme Icon
Gender Roles and Expectations Theme Icon
Sylvie reads a letter from Hugh, who is now a captain in the army after leaving for the Front a few... (full context)
War and Death Theme Icon
Gender Roles and Expectations Theme Icon
...Glover, and Bridget spend a good deal of their time knitting for their men—Sylvie for Hugh, Mrs. Glover for George, and Bridget for her new love, Sam Wellington—a groom from Ettringham... (full context)
War and Death Theme Icon
Gender Roles and Expectations Theme Icon
...the table. As she sits down at the table, Pamela tells Sylvie that she misses Hugh. Christmas had come and gone without him, though Izzie had visited and announced that she... (full context)
Armistice (I), 11 November 1918
Family and Love Theme Icon
War and Death Theme Icon
...and Sylvie are toasting the peace—though none of them are in a particularly jubilant mood. Hugh and Izzie are still at the Front, and Sylvie won’t believe that Hugh is safe... (full context)
Armistice (V), 11 November 1918
Gender Roles and Expectations Theme Icon
...they’re both crying. Ursula looks out and says that she thinks the man might be Hugh. (full context)
Like a Fox in a Hole, September 1923
Gender Roles and Expectations Theme Icon
When Izzie had told Hugh and Sylvie of her new job, Sylvie had called her a fool and critiqued her... (full context)
Gender Roles and Expectations Theme Icon
...she comes to the house “in a bit of a jam” having overspent her income. Hugh lends her money, but she is forced to sell her car and move to a... (full context)
Like a Fox in a Hole, 11 February 1926 (I)
Fate vs. Choice Theme Icon
Hugh wishes Ursula happy sixteenth birthday, saying that her future is all ahead of her (even... (full context)
Family and Love Theme Icon
Gender Roles and Expectations Theme Icon
...and a bottle of perfume, which Sylvie pronounces to be far too grown-up for Ursula. Hugh glares at Izzie, wondering how she affords all of it. (full context)
Like a Fox in a Hole, May 1926
Gender Roles and Expectations Theme Icon
Izzie phones Hugh, explaining that Ursula had shown up at her door and would be staying with her... (full context)
Family and Love Theme Icon
That night, Ursula vomits and develops a fever. The world blurs until Hugh appears, smiling at her and saying he will get her to a hospital (though Izzie... (full context)
Like a Fox in a Hole, August 1926 (I)
Life, Reincarnation, and Alternate Possibilities Theme Icon
Fate vs. Choice Theme Icon
...offers to help look for her; of the Shawcross girls, he is closest to Nancy. Hugh also offers to go. They find Nancy strangled in a cattle trough, just like the... (full context)
Like a Fox in a Hole, June 1932
Gender Roles and Expectations Theme Icon
...lives with Ursula for the benefit of her family. Ursula doesn’t mind living alone, though Hugh and Sylvie would have been scandalized. (full context)
Gender Roles and Expectations Theme Icon
Ursula and Derek 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,... (full context)
Gender Roles and Expectations Theme Icon
...if she was really in need of extra money she could always ask Izzie or Hugh, but Derek would be mortified if she did this while they were married because it... (full context)
Family and Love Theme Icon
...cold and tired, and she remembers feeling this way in the hospital after Belgravia, when Hugh’s hand in hers had been the only thing to keep her in this life. The... (full context)
Like a Fox in a Hole, August 1926 (II)
Gender Roles and Expectations Theme Icon
...Sylvie, then, if she might adopt Jimmy. Sylvie is flabbergasted and reveals her shock to Hugh. (full context)
A Lovely Day Tomorrow (II), April 1940
Gender Roles and Expectations Theme Icon
Maurice picks up Ursula at Egerton Gardens to take her to Fox Corner for Hugh’s birthday—though she knows he is only doing this because it would have been awkward to... (full context)
Life, Reincarnation, and Alternate Possibilities Theme Icon
The whole family has gathered for Hugh’s birthday except for Pamela, for whom the journey was too challenging. Jimmy has a few... (full context)
Family and Love Theme Icon
...of the dinner irritated with each other, while Ursula and Jimmy pointedly try to wish Hugh a happy birthday with the wishbone. Amnesty is brought about by the cake, but just... (full context)
A Lovely Day Tomorrow (III), August 1926
Fate vs. Choice Theme Icon
...sets off running, not stopping until she reaches her door. She decides not to tell Hugh, as she thinks he’ll only worry. (full context)
The Land of Begin Again, April 1945
Family and Love Theme Icon
War and Death Theme Icon
...is alive. Two years earlier she had received a letter from Pamela informing her that Hugh had died in 1940 of a heart attack. Ursula had been exceptionally guilty for not... (full context)
Family and Love Theme Icon
War and Death Theme Icon
...to the chemist, but he has no medicine, and she returns completely defeated. She misses Hugh, wishing that she could die in his arms. (full context)
A Long Hard War, September 1940
War and Death Theme Icon
...Corner and shares a nice dinner with Pamela and Sylvie. For most of the dinner, Hugh is investigating an unexploded bomb in a neighboring field. Ursula finds Pamela drained by taking... (full context)
Family and Love Theme Icon
War and Death Theme Icon
Hugh returns, and he and Sylvie start to quarrel, as Sylvie asks whether Hugh still lives... (full context)
War and Death Theme Icon
Later, Hugh and Ursula share a drink as they talk about the worsening conditions in London and... (full context)
Family and Love Theme Icon
At the station, Ursula says goodbye to Hugh, promising to take care of herself. Fred Smith offers Ursula a ride, though he only... (full context)
A Long Hard War, October 1940 (II)
Family and Love Theme Icon
...stand. Ursula thinks that this is somewhat disingenuous, as Sylvie had been needlessly unkind to Hugh in the few months prior. Jimmy couldn’t get leave, but Teddy had shown up at... (full context)
Family and Love Theme Icon
Izzie is the one who found Hugh, who had died of a heart attack while sitting in a deckchair on the lawn.... (full context)
Life, Reincarnation, and Alternate Possibilities Theme Icon
...interrupts her, confessing rather abruptly that she had had a baby when she was sixteen; Hugh had seen to it that he was adopted by a good family. Izzie says she... (full context)
A Long Hard War, November 1940
Family and Love Theme Icon
War and Death Theme Icon
...for them on his violin. The performance is beautiful, and Ursula finds herself thinking about Hugh’s death. She is gripped by melancholy, and Miss Woolf takes her hand, almost vibrating with... (full context)
A Long Hard War, May 1941
Family and Love Theme Icon
...doing some job in the government that she can’t talk about). They instead talk about Hugh, and Ursula feels like they finally give their father the wake he deserved. (full context)
A Long Hard War, June 1967
Life, Reincarnation, and Alternate Possibilities Theme Icon
...through a curtain and she is lifted up. Sylvie says, “I shall call her Ursula.” Hugh remarks that he likes the name, and responds, “Welcome, little bear.” (full context)
The End of the Beginning
Life, Reincarnation, and Alternate Possibilities Theme Icon
“Welcome, little bear,” Hugh says. He had been pacing around the hall, waiting to be invited into the room... (full context)
Family and Love Theme Icon
Gender Roles and Expectations Theme Icon
On the boat ride back, their fellow guests assumed Hugh and Izzie were married. He had sent a telegram to his mother, Adelaide, informing her... (full context)
Family and Love Theme Icon
Gender Roles and Expectations Theme Icon
Sylvie wonders what to do with Izzie and her child; Hugh insists that they should keep the baby and say the child is adopted. The child... (full context)
Family and Love Theme Icon
...all there.” He does not progress in the same way that the other children had. Hugh is fond of him, though: Roland is calm, not like Maurice and Pamela. Ursula is... (full context)
Fate vs. Choice Theme Icon
...want to try to claim Roland. Sylvie and Izzie both call him “my boy,” and Hugh is also greatly affected by his loss. Adelaide, on the other hand, had declared his... (full context)
Gender Roles and Expectations Theme Icon
Ursula then says she is going to meet Hugh at the train station, but really she is going to meet Benjamin Cole in secret.... (full context)
Life, Reincarnation, and Alternate Possibilities Theme Icon
Family and Love Theme Icon
...is nothing. Ursula doesn’t fully understand what he means. When Ursula is ready to go, Hugh picks her up and says he’s glad she’s feeling better—the house isn’t the same without... (full context)
Be Ye Men of Valor (II), December 1930
Life, Reincarnation, and Alternate Possibilities Theme Icon
Fate vs. Choice Theme Icon
Family and Love Theme Icon
War and Death Theme Icon
...so, and comments that it’s raining. She eats a piece of cake and quietly retrieves Hugh’s old revolver from her handbag. She levels it at Hitler’s chest, a move described as... (full context)