Study Guide

Major Pettigrew's Last Stand Setting

By Helen Simonson

Setting

Edgecombe St. Mary, England, Present Day

Home Bittersweet Home

The Major loves his village. The people in it, not so much.

At the beginning of the book, the Major goes for a few walks and soaks in the quaint country atmosphere. "The village never ceased to give him pleasure" (3.35), he thinks, looking at beech trees, clover, Eunice the sheep, and "improbably colored petunias" (3.25). It's charming, the kind of place where all the homes have names. The Major's house is "Rose Lodge."

But you'll notice he doesn't mention the people there at all. In fact, by the end of his book, he remarks about the country club in town, "'The club and its members can go to hell,' said the Major, spluttering in anger" (20.111). If a plague wiped out everyone in Edgecombe St. Mary except the Major, Mrs. Ali, Grace, and Alec (and maybe Alice) we think the Major would feel just fine about that.

Super Super Duper

With his fondness of the traditional countryside, the Major shouldn't like the store in town. It has a garish orange plastic sign. It's called Supersaver SuperMart. Two supers. But he does like it, only because it's run by Mrs. Ali, whom he likes.

The store itself is a lot like her. It's a little more modern than the rest of the town, and it doesn't quite fit in. The other townspeople don't like it, or her, but they tolerate it, and her. They barely notice its existence, but they probably wouldn't be able to survive if the store was gone.

When Mrs. Ali does leave, the whole mood of the store changes. Not only does the Major miss her, but the crazy old woman who replaces her is well, crazy and mean. Thankfully, almost everything is restored to normal at the end.