The Sense of an Ending

by

Julian Barnes

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Veronica’s mother, Sarah Ford is a housewife in Kent where she lives with her family. Tony remembers her as a carefree, easily laughing woman, who warns him not to let her daughter take advantage of him. She turns out to be far more enigmatic than that: Sarah Ford ends up sleeping with her daughter’s new boyfriend, Adrian, and has a child by him. Her motives and mental state remain hidden throughout the novel, as well as the real reasons she left Adrian’s diary and five hundred pounds to Tony. Perhaps, it’s implied, she felt trapped by her situation; perhaps she wanted Tony to know the truth and to feel responsibility; it’s possible that she is also the greatest manipulator and deceiver in the novel.

Mrs. Sarah Ford Quotes in The Sense of an Ending

The The Sense of an Ending quotes below are all either spoken by Mrs. Sarah Ford or refer to Mrs. Sarah Ford . 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:
Memory, Manipulation, and Self-Deception Theme Icon
). Note: all page numbers and citation info for the quotes below refer to the Vintage edition of The Sense of an Ending published in 2012.
Two Quotes

I looked at the chain of responsibility. I saw my initial in there. I remembered that in my ugly letter I had urged Adrian to consult Veronica’s mother. I replayed the words that would forever haunt me. As would Adrian’s unfinished sentence, “So, for instance, if Tony…”

Related Symbols: Adrian’s Diary
Page Number: 162-163
Explanation and Analysis:
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Mrs. Sarah Ford Character Timeline in The Sense of an Ending

The timeline below shows where the character Mrs. Sarah Ford appears in The Sense of an Ending. The colored dots and icons indicate which themes are associated with that appearance.
One
Memory, Manipulation, and Self-Deception Theme Icon
Sex, Class, and Power Theme Icon
On Saturday, Tony descended for breakfast to find that everyone but Mrs. Ford had gone for a walk. Ill at ease, Tony eventually asked if they’d lived here... (full context)
Memory, Manipulation, and Self-Deception Theme Icon
Responsibility, Agency, and Guilt Theme Icon
Sex, Class, and Power Theme Icon
Jack didn’t show up to say goodbye when Tony left. He remembers Mrs. Ford leaning against the porch, waving not with a raised palm but a horizontal, waist-level gesture.... (full context)
History, Narrative, and Truth Theme Icon
Responsibility, Agency, and Guilt Theme Icon
Sex, Class, and Power Theme Icon
During summer vacation, a letter arrived from Chislehurst. It was Veronica’s mother , who said she was sorry to hear they’d broken up and hoped Tony would... (full context)
History, Narrative, and Truth Theme Icon
Responsibility, Agency, and Guilt Theme Icon
Sex, Class, and Power Theme Icon
...of Tony, and between her and Jack—though a certain distance between Veronica and her mother Sarah, who obviously saw Veronica for what she really was. Veronica had gone on a walk... (full context)
Memory, Manipulation, and Self-Deception Theme Icon
History, Narrative, and Truth Theme Icon
Responsibility, Agency, and Guilt Theme Icon
...that the Fords were a normal family subject to his “theories” about damage, and that Mrs. Ford was strangely jealous of her daughter rather than concerned on Tony’s behalf. His reader might... (full context)
Two
Memory, Manipulation, and Self-Deception Theme Icon
Responsibility, Agency, and Guilt Theme Icon
...from a legal firm: they are writing “in the matter of the estate of Mrs. Sarah Ford (deceased).” He has been left 500 pounds and two documents. After responding with the... (full context)
History, Narrative, and Truth Theme Icon
Tony opens the first document to read a letter from Mrs. Ford . She says she thinks he should have what is attached, since Adrian always spoke... (full context)
Responsibility, Agency, and Guilt Theme Icon
Sex, Class, and Power Theme Icon
...receives a one-line reply: “Blood money?” He can’t understand it, other than the idea that Sarah Ford has offered money in exchange for the pain her daughter caused him. At least... (full context)
Memory, Manipulation, and Self-Deception Theme Icon
History, Narrative, and Truth Theme Icon
Responsibility, Agency, and Guilt Theme Icon
Sex, Class, and Power Theme Icon
...up with her, and then she’ll be ready and willing. He tells him to ask Veronica’s mother about “damage” that’s probably been done to her in the past. Addressing Veronica, he says... (full context)
Memory, Manipulation, and Self-Deception Theme Icon
History, Narrative, and Truth Theme Icon
...than his, and imagines the painful things about him, Adrian, and Veronica they might say. Mrs. Ford is dead, and Jack abroad: Veronica is the only one remaining. (full context)
Memory, Manipulation, and Self-Deception Theme Icon
Responsibility, Agency, and Guilt Theme Icon
...Tony pauses, remembering his flippant remarks about alcoholics on the Wobbly Bridge. After his death, Sarah Ford moved to London. About a year ago her memory had begun to fail, and... (full context)
Memory, Manipulation, and Self-Deception Theme Icon
History, Narrative, and Truth Theme Icon
Sex, Class, and Power Theme Icon
...begin to resurface: the view from his attic room to a wood; Jack referring to Mrs. Ford as “the Mother”; Veronica’s sultry good-night kiss to him, after which he masturbated into the... (full context)
Memory, Manipulation, and Self-Deception Theme Icon
History, Narrative, and Truth Theme Icon
Responsibility, Agency, and Guilt Theme Icon
Sex, Class, and Power Theme Icon
Later, at home, Tony “gets it all”: why Mrs. Ford had Adrian’s diary, why she said his last months were happy, what Veronica meant by... (full context)