Study Guide

Other Aurora House Staff and Residents in Cloud Atlas

By David Mitchell

Other Aurora House Staff and Residents

These Cuckoos Fell Out of the Nest

Most of the other staff and residents of Aurora House are flat, incidental characters. Mrs. Judd plays good cop to her sister Nurse Noakes's bad cop. Mr. Withers is the muscle of the group, infantilizing Cavendish by spanking him in front of everyone (as if being in a nursing home weren't humiliating enough). Then there are Rev. Rooney and Dr. Upward, two people who visit Aurora House occasionally but don't actually do anything to help the residents. What does that say about how people are treated in nursing homes today?

Then we have the two residents on the Welcome Committee, Gwendolyn Bendincks and Gordon Warlock-Williams. Their names sound fitting for prize-winning show dogs—which is appropriate, since they do everything at Nurse Noakes's beck and call. When Veronica says, "Once any tyranny becomes accepted as ordinary [...] its victory is assured" (8.1.56), she might as well be talking about these two.

Finally, we have Mr. Meeks, who lives up to his name. He barely utters two words throughout the entire story—though at the very end, it's his Scottish-accented shout in the bar that starts a fight between the bar patrons and Cavendish's pursuers. It's not that he can't speak, just that he rarely has a reason to. He speaks up when he needs to, and that's a lot more than some characters in this book ever do.