Life After Life

Life After Life

by

Kate Atkinson

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Maurice Todd Character Analysis

Ursula’s older brother and Sylvie and Hugh’s son. Maurice is the eldest of the five Todd children, and he is not very close with any of them. As a boy, he is a troublemaker and constantly gets into fights with Pamela because he believes that girls are both weaker and less intelligent than boys. He also does things like throw Ursula’s toy out of the window, which ultimately leads to her trying to climb out onto the roof, resulting in her falling and dying from the roof. Maurice isn’t much better when he is older: he works at the Home Office as Ursula does, but in a much higher-up position. He rarely sees his family except for events like Hugh’s birthday and funeral. When Teddy dies, Maurice is the one to tell Ursula, but he is completely unsympathetic to her grief. He becomes an example of how Ursula’s family members, when they do not love and support her, cause her depression and sometimes even her death.

Maurice Todd Quotes in Life After Life

The Life After Life quotes below are all either spoken by Maurice Todd or refer to Maurice 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, May 1926 Quotes

Ursula had seen her brothers naked, knew what they had between their legs— wrinkled cockles, a little spout—and it seemed to have little to do with this painful piston-driven thing that was now ramming inside her like a weapon of war. Her own body breached. The arch that led to womanhood did not seem so triumphal anymore, merely brutal and completely uncaring.

Related Characters: Ursula Todd, Maurice Todd, Howie
Page Number: 188
Explanation and Analysis:
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Maurice Todd Character Timeline in Life After Life

The timeline below shows where the character Maurice 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, 11 February 1910
Family and Love Theme Icon
Back in Sylvie’s bedroom, Sylvie invites five-year-old Maurice and three-year-old Pamela in to meet their new sister. Maurice pokes Ursula, who wakes up... (full context)
Four Seasons Fill the Measure of the Year, May 1910
Life, Reincarnation, and Alternate Possibilities Theme Icon
Fate vs. Choice Theme Icon
Family and Love Theme Icon
...from her stroller, which is often placed outside, regardless of the weather. One November day, Maurice prods Ursula with a stick. He then calls her a “stupid baby” and buries her... (full context)
Four Seasons Fill the Measure of the Year, June 1914
Gender Roles and Expectations Theme Icon
...beach, the children return from fishing while Sylvie and Bridget lay on the beach, reading. Maurice comes sprinting back and throws himself down into the sand holding a small crab, spraying... (full context)
War (I), July 1914
Gender Roles and Expectations Theme Icon
Sylvie watches Maurice erect a makeshift tennis net, which seems to involve him whacking everything in sight with... (full context)
Gender Roles and Expectations Theme Icon
...to admire the new baby. Ursula and the family dog Bosun sit close by, while Maurice tries to teach Pamela how to play tennis—though he quickly throws his racquet onto the... (full context)
Gender Roles and Expectations Theme Icon
...later, Sylvie, Bridget, and the children go to watch the harvest being brought in, though Maurice had disappeared after breakfast to go play with other nine-year-old boys, collecting things like frogs,... (full context)
Family and Love Theme Icon
War and Death Theme Icon
Gender Roles and Expectations Theme Icon
...Cole, Ursula, and Pamela had found a blackbird’s nest with blue eggs in them, when Maurice had come upon them and cracked the eggs on a stone. Pamela had responded by... (full context)
War (I), January 1915
War and Death Theme Icon
Gender Roles and Expectations Theme Icon
...interrupts Sylvie’s knitting to announce that bombs have been dropped on Norfolk, before shouting to Maurice and Ursula upstairs that their tea is on the table. As she sits down at... (full context)
Family and Love Theme Icon
...tea but ignores her, since she is in the middle of knitting with her doll. Maurice is pacing around the room like a caged lion, still sick with the chicken pox.... (full context)
War (II), 20 January 1915
Life, Reincarnation, and Alternate Possibilities Theme Icon
Fate vs. Choice Theme Icon
...about to jump onto the roof when a small doubt “made her hesitate.” Bridget scolds Maurice for throwing Queen Solange out of the window, while Pamela uses a lacrosse net tied... (full context)
War and Death Theme Icon
Maurice asks if they’re eating Henrietta, a chicken of theirs that was very old. This question... (full context)
Armistice (I), June 1918
Family and Love Theme Icon
The group sets off for Mrs. Dodds’ house with the jam. Maurice has gone off on his bicycle to spend the day with friends, completely uninterested in... (full context)
Armistice (II), 12 November 1918
Gender Roles and Expectations Theme Icon
...Fred Smith, arrives with a hare. The children all like Fred—Pamela had once declared that Maurice had a crush on Fred, and Mrs. Glover had slapped her with a whisk. (full context)
Snow (VIII), 11 February 1910
Life, Reincarnation, and Alternate Possibilities Theme Icon
Fate vs. Choice Theme Icon
Mrs. Glover tells Maurice and Pamela that their younger sister’s name is “Ursula” as she gives them breakfast. Bridget... (full context)
Like a Fox in a Hole, 11 February 1926 (I)
Gender Roles and Expectations Theme Icon
Maurice is also home from school for the weekend, though he has forgotten Ursula’s birthday. He... (full context)
Gender Roles and Expectations Theme Icon
...against hers, prodding his tongue into her mouth. Ursula is debating what to do when Maurice calls for Howie, and he leaves without a word. Ursula is exhilarated, thinking that she... (full context)
Like a Fox in a Hole, May 1926
Gender Roles and Expectations Theme Icon
...found a few questions that she couldn’t answer. She is particularly upset to learn that Maurice is going to get the highest honors, even though she thinks he’s an idiot. Sylvie... (full context)
Gender Roles and Expectations Theme Icon
Maurice turns up again with Howie in tow, stopping at the house on their way to... (full context)
Gender Roles and Expectations Theme Icon
Maurice had gained his expected first and returns home for a few weeks before going off... (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
...that he only wanted a kiss, saying he wasn’t trying to “rape her or anything.” Maurice calls Howie and he runs off. Ursula thinks that this is “a small triumph for... (full context)
A Lovely Day Tomorrow (I), 2 September 1939
War and Death Theme Icon
...for a girl. She and Ursula chat about Pamela and Harold’s most recent visit to Maurice’s house, when Maurice had said that the war would only last a few months. Ursula... (full context)
A Lovely Day Tomorrow (I), November 1940
Family and Love Theme Icon
One day when Ursula ran into Maurice at her job, he told her with distaste that it might not look good for... (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... (full context)
Family and Love Theme Icon
Gender Roles and Expectations Theme Icon
At dinner, Izzie asks Ursula if she’s met any nice men. Maurice makes fun of Ursula saying she’s been “left on the shelf,” until Maurice’s wife Edwina... (full context)
A Lovely Day Tomorrow (III), August 1926
Life, Reincarnation, and Alternate Possibilities Theme Icon
Fate vs. Choice Theme Icon
...Die Marquise von O. She notices a rabbit  next to her and is surprised that Maurice hasn’t shot it by now. Maurice has been teaching her to shoot, though she refuses... (full context)
A Long Hard War, November 1943
Family and Love Theme Icon
War and Death Theme Icon
Maurice visits Ursula at her office. She has no idea what he could possibly be there... (full context)
Family and Love Theme Icon
War and Death Theme Icon
...to faint, and her assistant promptly brings her a glass of water and a chair. Maurice says that Sylvie took the news very hard as well. She is shocked that he... (full context)
Family and Love Theme Icon
Maurice is livid at Sylvie’s will. Jimmy is indifferent, and Ursula is somewhat upset but is... (full context)
A Long Hard War, June 1967
Gender Roles and Expectations Theme Icon
...service. Ursula had thought that she wasn’t that senior—she still wasn’t in charge, like the Maurices of the world. Maurice had recently been knighted. (full context)
The End of the Beginning
Family and Love Theme Icon
...the other children had. Hugh is fond of him, though: Roland is calm, not like Maurice and Pamela. Ursula is completely different, watching everything around her. (full context)
Life, Reincarnation, and Alternate Possibilities Theme Icon
Ursula constantly gets premonitions of events. Once, years earlier, when she had heard Maurice approaching her bedroom, she had placed her doll beneath her pillow. Maurice had then taken... (full context)
Family and Love Theme Icon
Gender Roles and Expectations Theme Icon
...Languages. Ursula and Sylvie then fall silent; a fox has appeared next to them, which Maurice is always trying to shoot and which Sylvie has a great fondness for. (full context)
Family and Love Theme Icon
Gender Roles and Expectations Theme Icon
Maurice appears, completely bored. Ursula asks him to teach her to shoot, to which he replies... (full context)