The Birds

by

Daphne du Maurier

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Mrs. Hocken / Nat’s Wife Character Analysis

Nat’s wife is never named, and is highly dependent upon her husband throughout the story. She relies on Nat to clear their children’s bedroom of dead birds, secure their home, and repeatedly tell her what to do next. Her actions often emphasize the mundanity and futility of human-imposed order the face of catastrophe; as it had not yet been her designated shopping day before the attacks, the family is ill-equipped to survive the siege. A generally ineffectual character, she repeatedly expresses faith that someone else will come save the family.

Mrs. Hocken / Nat’s Wife Quotes in The Birds

The The Birds quotes below are all either spoken by Mrs. Hocken / Nat’s Wife or refer to Mrs. Hocken / Nat’s Wife. 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:
Man vs. Nature Theme Icon
). Note: all page numbers and citation info for the quotes below refer to the New York Review Books edition of The Birds published in 2008.
The Birds Quotes

Nat thought to himself that “they” were no doubt considering the problem at that very moment, but whatever “they” decided to do in London and the big cities would not help the people here, three hundred miles away. Each householder must look after his own.

Related Characters: Nat Hocken, Mrs. Hocken / Nat’s Wife
Page Number: 73-74
Explanation and Analysis:

That was the line. Keep her busy, and the children too. Move about, eat, drink; always best to be on the go.

Page Number: 90
Explanation and Analysis:
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Mrs. Hocken / Nat’s Wife Character Timeline in The Birds

The timeline below shows where the character Mrs. Hocken / Nat’s Wife appears in The Birds. The colored dots and icons indicate which themes are associated with that appearance.
The Birds
Man vs. Nature Theme Icon
Hubris and Humility Theme Icon
...is sleeping, but his face is bloodied from the birds. Though Nat tries to reassure his wife that the sudden cold snap and east wind are to blame for the birds’ behavior,... (full context)
Man vs. Nature Theme Icon
Hubris and Humility Theme Icon
Nat returns home and, at the urging of his wife , clears the children’s bedroom of dead birds. The ground is frozen solid, so he... (full context)
Man vs. Nature Theme Icon
Hubris and Humility Theme Icon
The Inhumanity of War Theme Icon
Reason vs. Chaos Theme Icon
Nat’s wife insists that the army should do something about the birds, though Nat believes they would... (full context)
Man vs. Nature Theme Icon
Hubris and Humility Theme Icon
The Inhumanity of War Theme Icon
Reason vs. Chaos Theme Icon
Nat’s wife dresses his wounds and wonders why the army is not involved. Nat says it is... (full context)
Man vs. Nature Theme Icon
Hubris and Humility Theme Icon
The Inhumanity of War Theme Icon
Reason vs. Chaos Theme Icon
...The Hockens then hear the drone of planes and gunfire heading toward the sea. Though Nat’s wife and children are heartened at the thought of military aid, Nat understands subsequent crashing noises... (full context)
Man vs. Nature Theme Icon
Reason vs. Chaos Theme Icon
...of his cottage, and are in great danger. As Jill starts to cry, he instructs his wife to make tea and cocoa, thinking, “Keep her busy, and the children too. Move about,... (full context)
Man vs. Nature Theme Icon
Hubris and Humility Theme Icon
Reason vs. Chaos Theme Icon
...countryside between tides. The family anxiously awaits a promised 7:00 a.m. news bulletin, but when Nat’s wife turns on the radio nothing comes through but static. Nat wonders how much longer the... (full context)
Man vs. Nature Theme Icon
The Inhumanity of War Theme Icon
Reason vs. Chaos Theme Icon
...even on foreign stations. This leads Nat to suggest the attacks are happening across Europe. Nat’s wife then pours “out a plateful of the Triggs’ soup, cut him a large slice of... (full context)
Man vs. Nature Theme Icon
The Inhumanity of War Theme Icon
Reason vs. Chaos Theme Icon
...to hammer at the cottage door. The door begins to splinter and tear. Nat tells his wife he will smoke his final cigarette. He tosses the empty packet onto the fire. (full context)