Study Guide

Major Pettigrew's Last Stand Chapter 17

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Chapter 17

  • Roger shows up with Ferguson, who, again, is in a ridiculously extravagant outfit, this time dressed like Lord Mountbatten.
  • Roger is also in uniform to play Colonel Arthur Pettigrew, his grandfather.
  • Ferguson chats with the Major about the guns some more and insinuates that he might buy them one at a time, purchasing Marjorie's directly from her.
  • The Major's friend, Alec, asks Mrs. Ali to dance, and she accepts, even though she told the Major in the last chapter that she never dances in public.
  • Alone, the Major hears Daisy and Alma, Alec's wife, gossiping some nasty things about himself and Mrs. Ali.
  • The Major asks Mrs. Ali to dance when she sits back down. Clearly his idol is Bonnie Raitt, and he's going to give those ladies something to talk about.
  • Eventually it's time for the big ceremony, a reenactment of an attack upon the Maharajah's wife—with Colonel Pettigrew, played by Roger, saving the day.
  • The reenactment doesn't go well.
  • Mr. Rasool Senior, Mrs. Rasool's father-in-law, gets up and tells them all they're making "a mock of people's suffering" (17.113).
  • Things escalate fast, and eventually drunken guests start fist fighting and food fighting.
  • Finally, someone tells the band to stop playing. Without background music, everyone realizes what idiots they're being.
  • Daisy blames Mr. Rasool Senior, of course, and Lord Dagenham just suggests that everyone go home.
  • But Daisy wants to have the award presentation first, even though the Major couldn't care less.
  • The racial discussion heats up at table six among Daisy, Roger, Mrs. Ali, and Abdul Wahid.
  • Daisy, of course, resorts to insulting Mrs. Ali, saying that Grace should never have invited her to the party, thereby implying that Mrs. Ali doesn't belong there because of her race and class.
  • The Major steps in, saying: "Grace is entitled to have anyone she likes for tea" (17.173). Even though his intentions are honorable, he immediately realizes he should have been defending Mrs. Ali first and foremost—not Grace.
  • Mrs. Ali wants to leave. Not just the party, but the entire village.
  • Mrs. Ali has the Major take her outside, and she reveals that she's planning on giving the shop away and moving out with her family. That was fast.

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