My Family and Other Animals

by

Gerald Durrell

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My Family and Other Animals: Part 2: Conversation Summary & Analysis

Summary
Analysis
Spring arrives with lambs, tortoises, and butterflies. The family spends one day every week on the veranda together, poring over their mail. Everyone receives correspondence and catalogues according to their interests. One day, Mother reads a letter from Great-Aunt Hermione out loud. It tells of her medical woes and Larry laments that she's never going to die. The entire family is distraught when Mother reads that Hermione wants to come visit. Larry in particular is beside himself and calls Hermione an "evil old camel."
The way that Larry talks about Great-Aunt Hermione is, incidentally, very similar to the way he talks about Lugaretzia. Both are hypochondriacs, and Larry has little time to spare for other people's ailments. This shows again that just because someone is technically an adult, they don't necessarily have to give up on childish beliefs or thought patterns such as this.
Themes
Childhood, Adulthood, and Education Theme Icon
Larry, Mother, Leslie, and Margo argue over what to do about Hermione's request. They suggest outlandish ideas such as writing to say that Mother is ill or claiming that Margo's acne is actually smallpox, all of which Mother shoots down. Finally, Larry insists there's only one thing to do: move to a smaller villa so they won't be able to accommodate her. Mother insists that moving again would be eccentric but nonetheless, the family moves.
When the children override Mother's desire to stay, it indicates that they have a very different idea of what constitutes eccentricity than Mother does. This suggests too that they all are far more adjusted to life on Corfu, if only because they don't care much at all about what others will think.
Themes
Absurdity and Storytelling Theme Icon