Life After Life

Life After Life

by

Kate Atkinson

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The senior warden of the rescue squad that Ursula is a part of during World War II. She is a retired hospital matron and is exceptionally calm and cheerful when treating people and responding to incidents. Ursula admires her a great deal. She often serves as a kind of mother figure for Ursula and comforts her in times of crisis during the war, like when Ursula hears the news of Teddy’s death. Miss Woolf dies in one of the raids in 1944.

Miss Woolf Quotes in Life After Life

The Life After Life quotes below are all either spoken by Miss Woolf or refer to Miss Woolf. 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.
A Long Hard War, Sep 1940 Quotes

Of course, even Miss Woolf had not imagined how distressing these sights would be when they involved civilians rather than battlefield soldiers, when they involved shoveling up unidentifiable lumps of flesh or picking out the heartbreakingly small limbs of a child from the rubble.

Related Characters: Ursula Todd, Miss Woolf, Emil
Page Number: 390
Explanation and Analysis:
A Long Hard War, Oct 1940 (I) Quotes

“Yet we must hold fast to what is good and true. But it all seems so random. One wonders about the divine plan and so on.”

“More of a shambles than a plan,” Ursula agreed.

Related Characters: Ursula Todd (speaker), Miss Woolf (speaker), Adolf Hitler, Dr. Kellet
Page Number: 413
Explanation and Analysis:
Get the entire Life After Life LitChart as a printable PDF.
Life After Life PDF

Miss Woolf Character Timeline in Life After Life

The timeline below shows where the character Miss Woolf appears in Life After Life. The colored dots and icons indicate which themes are associated with that appearance.
A Long Hard War, September 1940
War and Death Theme Icon
Ursula’s fellow ARP wardens are “a mixed bunch”: the senior warden, Miss Woolf , is a retired hospital matron. Her deputy, Mr. Durkin, is a retired English teacher.... (full context)
War and Death Theme Icon
...a small stove, and an assortment of chairs. They are all part-time volunteers except for Miss Woolf . They have to know the occupants of every building in their sector and where... (full context)
War and Death Theme Icon
In the present, Miss Woolf calls Ursula over to a hole in another mound of rubble, where someone small can... (full context)
War and Death Theme Icon
Ursula starts to walk home and discovers Miss Woolf giving commands to people, still cheerful—even though Ursula has no idea when she last slept.... (full context)
A Long Hard War, October 1940 (I)
War and Death Theme Icon
A full-scale raid is in progress, bombers droning overhead and shells whistling by. Ursula, Miss Woolf , and Mr. Simms are sitting on the roof of a house, watching green, blue,... (full context)
Fate vs. Choice Theme Icon
War and Death Theme Icon
The rescue squad returns to their own sector, and Ursula keeps watch with Miss Woolf in Ursula’s apartment. Miss Woolf believes in the war, but her religious faith and her... (full context)
War and Death Theme Icon
Miss Woolf and Ursula are both terribly depressed, as Mr. Palmer has recently been killed by a... (full context)
A Long Hard War, November 1940
Family and Love Theme Icon
War and Death Theme Icon
...who had been bombed out of his house, and Stella, a striptease artist. One evening, Miss Woolf treats the squad to a piano recital. Mr. Armitage sings along with her accompaniment, and... (full context)
Fate vs. Choice Theme Icon
War and Death Theme Icon
Mr. Emslie is in the cellar of a house, and Miss Woolf instructs Ursula to bring him a morphia tablet for a girl who is screaming. When... (full context)
Fate vs. Choice Theme Icon
...behind her had fallen. She discovers that Mr. Emslie has been crushed by the wall. Miss Woolf starts to cry, and Ursula comforts her. (full context)
A Long Hard War, November 1943
Life, Reincarnation, and Alternate Possibilities Theme Icon
Family and Love Theme Icon
War and Death Theme Icon
...wept continuously for days, and had to be comforted like a child by Crighton and Miss Woolf . Now she feels nothing. (full context)
A Long Hard War, June 1967
Life, Reincarnation, and Alternate Possibilities Theme Icon
War and Death Theme Icon
...her with a set of tickets to a performance of Beethoven’s Choral. She thinks that Miss Woolf would have loved attending it, but she was killed in 1944. At Miss Woolf’s funeral,... (full context)
The End of the Beginning
Life, Reincarnation, and Alternate Possibilities Theme Icon
Fate vs. Choice Theme Icon
Family and Love Theme Icon
...“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 practice of it... (full context)