‘…with her friend Helen Midgeley, who was older still, and they began to talk to me because both of them were at an art
school in Prahran, studying fashion design…’ 84
‘Helen Midgeley was a tall, fair-haired girl with very pretty legs and she was wearing a straight, plain-colored…’ 85
‘The way in which Helen Midgeley came back into my life was…’ 173
Pages 175-186 is him reuniting with Helen, in which she reveals the martyrs around her neck
‘Helen was standing just inside the parting of the curtain, with one and on her hip and the other holding back the drape,
and she had taken all her clothes off!’ 181
‘…like Helen with her clichés about the down-trodden masses and her childish belief in the symbolic magic of the
martyrs in her locket;’ 190
Page 192 (bottom paragraph posses and interesting point on her views)
‘…to have Helen find the answers for me.’ 193
‘It is impossible to say precisely when Helen Midgeley decided to make me her husband.’ 194
‘We had been lovers for nearly four years, yet this was the first time I had ever called for her.’ 210
Page 212-213, the discussion in the car between Helen and Davy about meeting his family.
‘I suppose it was that u was instinctively scrutinizing the for the faults or merits that I felt Helen might find in them.’ 215
‘Helen gave a considered amount of attention to the two Steiner temperas I had stolen…’ 220
‘…I could see the repugnance run like an electric charge al through Helen’s body…’ 221
‘Helen and I probably began it out of some intuitive nervous desperation to re-establish our own rapport…’ 222
‘We have to have causes, and objects, and beliefs. And I don’t think we should just stand back and allow people to be
trampled on. I mean, what’s democracy for, after all?’ 223
‘He can do more for causes here, more than he could by going over there and perhaps sacrificing himself in a physical
sense. But that doesn’t mean the others shouldn’t have gone, those friends of his…well, it doesn’t matter about one of
‘…I knew Helen was trying to catch my eye but I wouldn’t look at her.’ 231
‘Helen sat in silence, still rubbing at the damp patch on her skirt.’ 233
‘…that led me to entrust so much of the material construction of our new lives to Helen’s decisions.’ 237
‘Helen calculated, bargained and shunned excessive extravagances-for she was, in fact, a dedicated home-builder in the
best practical sense-but she had set her heart on precisely the sort of home she wanted…’ 239
240-241 summary of how she loved to entertain etc
‘With Helen, there was no commingling of the old life and the new.’ 242
245 the onions which are colour coded!
‘…they were impressed by the new surroundings Helen had set out…’ 250
‘But Helen must have been struck by much the same feeling, and perhaps felt an uneasiness about it, because this was
one of the few occasions I remember when her cool poise seemed o be shaken by a disturbing breath of something, like
superstition or an almost atavistic fear.’ 253
‘It had been Helene who had decided on what she called the ‘motif’-flattering to me, she had reasoned, because of my
interest in the ‘old days of sail’-‘263
267 the study renovation scene
‘Well, if you want to know, darling, I personally think they’re rather ordinary.’ 277
281 first tree argument
305 description of how Helen was adjusting to the war
307 Helen had not changed as a house wife
‘Helen, as might be expected, had a party to celebrate my return…’ 321
343 welcome back to Helen, she continues to show open affection to him yet seems to be cheating on him
345 description of an older looking Helen
1. The main views of Helen are that we should sacrifice poepelf or good causes, though the people we sacrifice can
not be of any importance to herself. That would just cause her harm. Believeing that anyone other than Davy sould
go to war I a clear example of this. Values, repuitation is a major one, trying to keep the perfec home and throwing
the perfect parts, she a the most vein character in the whole text. Going to weekly hair and pamper appointments.
Which show she doesn’t really care about all the political down flls that are going on, just as long as she’s okay.
We must have casues and goals in life but if they somehow interfear with how I am aseen as a person then they
are nhto worth fihting for. That pretty much sums up Helen for me.
3. Refer to above notes.
4. The idea of selfish and vein views are evident in the character Helen Midgeley, a self absorbed martyr who
contributes to a small minority of conspiracy theorists. Leaving responsibilities in appearance to fall on her
shoulders, secretly directed them onto others to save time and effort which is better spent cleaning. Patriotic
enough to wear pictures of those murder around her cold neck, her values contradict the mere air she preaches in.
valuing herself and herself only, viewing nothing but what is inside of her social calendar and outside of
contemptuous Beverly grove. Helen is a martyr in all forms a walking contradiction trying to live up to everyone
else’s expectation, in her reality.
5. Helen changes constantly throughout the text. When she is first reconginise she is seen as being fun, free willed
and not afraid to step ou of her comfort zone even if it is at the misfortune of some. When she grows uo and gets
married we see a robot version who now has conrticted and naïve views on how life should, ‘apparent;y be lived.
Leaving no room for error yet her values don’t faultier as much, though she will no longer ut herself out to hel
ther, that is hwy I referred to her as a walking contradiction.
6. For Helen there is no such thing as black and white, in her word everything lust have colour. The issues that are
presented to her throughout the novel have always got more than one persoective. Making it therefore hard to
desipher what is the majority opion and what is the right action to be taken. Having lost her mother at a young age
would have impacted her dramtically but we only here about the event twice int eh whole novel, just the thought
of married life and moving into such a ‘perfect; neighbourhood may have casued her to change so dramatically.
Initially davy is beyond her control and when he is in her control issues start to arise and fiths happen between the
two. This is when we see heelens tart to break down her smart exterior and show who she really is.
7. For the first part fo the novel we don’t see a major gap between Helens internal and external reality though when
she starts to differ towards the end we start to see what she is truly like as a person and as wfe. This behavior
shows thtunder pressuere she cannot physically keep her ghuard up and remain as perfect as she may seem.
Whenever Helen is mentioned as a character by the toehrs she is beautiful and educated, on the inside though she
is fighting her own war. Prbabobly the reason she neglects to elt day help fiht shte worlds.
8. Whenever we here about Helens desire it is always very satisfactory and what davy likes, well all he knkows. But
we never here of it being even slightly passionate, therefore this leads us to believe sex had no ride over her
conscience. Her desire to please and be perfect however is what rules her completely. The reader can go both
ways with heelen, she is either love or ahte character. IN my case I originally did not like her, though I feel very
spry for her. Her desire to be perfect makes my empathise with her and see the struggle she goes through to try
and keep the perfect life,e ven whne it is constantly ont eh rbonkl of flling to pieces.
9. In helenes view and balues, we see that she believes any other ultimate views or value are not acceptable,
however the text does not directly suggest this, the way her character is played out does. This character is more
of a relative moral postion, because it is what she believes and no-one else.
10. Helen I believe in spathetically portrayed in parts of the textm touh in tohter parts Davy does not go easy on her
and makes her out to be a really bad manipulative erson. Which no doubt she most lielly ios, though this makes
the reader want to get to know her more, rather that judge her off Davy’s biased opion. Helen approaches widely
viewed values though she does not approach them with an oen mind,s he is very decisive in her speeh and she is
clear about what she does and sodesnt like, the only person she is afraiod to spleak her full mind to is Davy, hat is
only when she relisees he is not longer uner her control. Hleen is prone to etreme everything in the text, her
character in general was made to be slightly etreme and overwhelming.
11. The text like I said makes her look good in parts and bad in other, when she is speaking for the good of someone or
is geniuenly hurt by an issue that has arrised we feel sympathetic towards her. When she is being manipulative na
dunbearble however in her naie times, be don’t feel anyhign for her toher than remorse. It uis in tehse times we
see the two sides of her and not until the end we see the full Helen Midgeley. That same girl from the book shopo
who doesn’t care anymore but still strice for perfection.
12. This character is ambivalanet but aso portrayerd in a uncertain light. The reader can only be influenced by the
circumstance we are iven in the et, naurally we critique them and judge the character. The view and values though
are what we a s a reader make of the character because we somehow incorporate our own views and values ot try
and relate better to the character, therefore understanding them. The auhtour leaves Helen up to the reader, love
her or hate her, it just a matter of personal opinion. There is never one answer though, there are always multiple
colours behnd every balck and white circumstance.