Kindertransport

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Discuss the role of the Ratcatcher in this extract and elsewhere in the play. The play ‘Kindertransport’ written by Diane Samuels rotates immensely around the Ratcatcher. The Ratcatcher’s role in this extract and the whole play can be interpreted in many ways. The given extract begins with Helga reluctantly agreeing to read ‘The Ratcatcher’ as a bedtime story to Eva. The reasons for Helga’s reluctance remain ambiguous as the play proceeds with Helga reading the book simultaneous to Faith who is in a different setting also reading the same book. The following scene is of Eva frantically leaving in a train. Helga’s hesitancy in this extract as Eva requests The Ratcatcher books suggests an underlying implication that the tale is similar to that of Helga where her “jewels” and “happiness” i.e. Eva is taken away from her. Helga’s repeated words of persuasion “Not that one, Eva” and “Choose something else” shows that The Ratcatcher is a tale with minimal hope. The Ratcatcher book in the given extract can be seen as the only tangible link between the past and the present as well as Eva and Evelyn who are the same characters. The given extract presents two different character from past (Helga and Eva) and present (Faith) both reading the same book. The tangible link between two different time periods perhaps reflects an unseen link between the characters and their relationship. The mother figures in both settings are reluctant to let go of their children despite the knowledge that separation is inevitable. Likewise the book represents parents’ fear of releasing their children into an unprotected and unknown world. The Ratcatcher in this extract could be interpreted as a reflection of Eva’s key fear of isolation. Her journey to a foreign place against her will, stimulate anxieties as a result of immense fear. Similarly the tale of the Ratcatcher is of a dark and threatening character who promises to “take the heart of your happiness away.” To Evelyn, this could...
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