Life After Life

Life After Life

by

Kate Atkinson

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Ralph Character Analysis

One of Ursula’s lovers during World War II. Ralph, like Ursula, works in the Home Office (Britain’s home security department), and they meet in a German class. In the timelines in which she is with Crighton, however, she pushes back on his advances. Ralph is in love with her, and while Ursula is very fond of Ralph, she doesn’t feel the need to marry him.

Ralph Quotes in Life After Life

The Life After Life quotes below are all either spoken by Ralph or refer to Ralph. 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 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, Nov 1940 Quotes

Some hours later they had both woken up at the same time and made love. It was the kind of love (lust, to be honest about it) that survivors of disasters must practice—or people who are anticipating disaster—free of all restraint, savage at times and yet strangely tender and affectionate.

Related Characters: Ursula Todd, Crighton, Ralph, Fred Smith
Page Number: 441
Explanation and Analysis:
Get the entire Life After Life LitChart as a printable PDF.
Life After Life PDF

Ralph Character Timeline in Life After Life

The timeline below shows where the character Ralph appears in Life After Life. The colored dots and icons indicate which themes are associated with that appearance.
A Lovely Day Tomorrow (I), November 1940
Gender Roles and Expectations Theme Icon
Instead, Ursula had begun a relationship with a fellow student from her German class—Ralph. Ralph had fought at Dunkirk (and was shot in the leg, resulting in a permanent... (full context)
Gender Roles and Expectations Theme Icon
...a few days after he left her. That evening she had done the crossword with Ralph stretched across her lap in the sofa. There was an easy camaraderie and respect between... (full context)
Fate vs. Choice Theme Icon
War and Death Theme Icon
Ursula is very fond of Ralph—not in love with him, but finds him very dependable. Sitting on the couch with him,... (full context)
War and Death Theme Icon
Ursula had told Ralph abruptly that the raids would be starting soon, and that he’d better leave. She pushed... (full context)
A Lovely Day Tomorrow (II), November 1940
Life, Reincarnation, and Alternate Possibilities Theme Icon
Gender Roles and Expectations Theme Icon
...how many were killed or injured. Sometimes she sees bomb-damaged maps drawn by a friend, Ralph—who had made it clear that he wanted them to mean more to each other. Crighton... (full context)
A Long Hard War, September 1940
Family and Love Theme Icon
War and Death Theme Icon
...Ursula changes the subject by blurting out that she is dating a young man named Ralph. Ursula tells them about Ralph, and when Sylvie and Hugh leave the table to do... (full context)
A Long Hard War, October 1940 (I)
Gender Roles and Expectations Theme Icon
Ralph lives in Holborn, but Ursula knows he is on the night watch at St. Paul’s... (full context)
A Long Hard War, May 1941
War and Death Theme Icon
...winter is freezing; there is a terrible raid on London at the end of 1940; Ralph helps save St. Paul’s from a fire. The rest of the time, Ursula and Ralph... (full context)
Gender Roles and Expectations Theme Icon
...appreciative, and Ursula asks to “go somewhere.” They resume their affair—Crighton is so different from Ralph that it doesn’t seem like cheating to Ursula. Besides, Ursula thinks, she hardly sees Ralph... (full context)