Study Guide

Major Pettigrew's Last Stand Chapter 1

By Helen Simonson

Chapter 1

  • Major Pettigrew is "upset about the call from his brother's wife" (1.1), but we don't know why yet. Maybe she's a telemarketer or a political pollster.
  • Someone comes to the door, and the Major answers it.
  • The Major's visitor is Mrs. Ali, the village shopkeeper, and she's collecting newspaper money because the paperboy is sick. That's what happens when you dance in your underwear in the rain with Nicole Kidman.
  • In shock, the Major blurts out "my brother died" (1.8). Okay, that's worse than a telemarketing call.
  • Mrs. Ali comes inside to get the Major a glass of water and make some tea. If there's one thing the British know, it's that tea cures everything.
  • The Major and Mrs. Ali two chat over tea. Major Pettigrew's wife, Nancy, died six years ago, and Mrs. Ali's husband, Mr. Ali, also died within the last two years.
  • After the Major has calmed a bit, Mrs. Ali takes her leave, and the Major calls his son, Roger.
  • Roger already heard the news from his cousin, Jemima, and he doesn't know if he can make it to the funeral.
  • Tuesday arrives, and the Major gets in his car to drive to the funeral. But he starts to panic, and he sits at the steering wheel, frozen.
  • Mrs. Ali notices, and she knocks on the window. She offers to drive the Major to avoid something like this from happening.
  • Mrs. Ali's a good driver, and the Major calms down a bit during the drive. She drops him off at the service. He's made it.
  • But Roger hasn't…

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