Major Pettigrew's Last Stand Summary & Study Guide

Helen Simonson
This Study Guide consists of approximately 33 pages of chapter summaries, quotes, character analysis, themes, and more - everything you need to sharpen your knowledge of Major Pettigrew's Last Stand.
This section contains 519 words
(approx. 2 pages at 400 words per page)
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Major Pettigrew's Last Stand Summary & Study Guide Description

Major Pettigrew's Last Stand Summary & Study Guide includes comprehensive information and analysis to help you understand the book. This study guide contains the following sections:

This detailed literature summary also contains Topics for Discussion and a Free Quiz on Major Pettigrew's Last Stand by Helen Simonson.

"Major Pettigrew's Last Stand: A Novel" by Helen Simonson is a work of fiction and the author's debut novel. The story details the life of Major Ernest Pettigrew, a 68 year old widower living in Edgecomb St. Mary, a rural village located in Sussex, England.

Major Pettigrew had been happily married to his wife, Nancy, who died six years earlier. The couple has one son, Roger, who came to them late in life. Nancy sought to spoil Roger while the Major preferred discipline. Roger has grown up to be self-important, self-indulgent, often thoughtless and disrespectful, particularly when it comes to the Major.

The Major regrets that the manners and social niceties of England seem to be sorely lacking in modern times. The Major, raised in a certain, proper way, becomes easily upset when others do not abide by his idea of what is right or how things should be done. This regret transfers directly to the Major's only son, Roger, who works as a banker in London. Roger is obsessed with career advancement and, consciously or unconsciously, shuns his father's Britain.

The book begins with Major Pettigrew answering the door to his house in somewhat of a bad state. "Major Pettigrew was still upset by the phone call from his brother's wife and so he answered the doorbell without thinking," (Chap. 1, p. 3). The Major's sister-in-law called to say that his brother, Bertie, has died from a massive heart attack. The Major is in shock. It is obvious that the Major is in shock because he is unsteady on his feet and does not realize at first that he is wearing his wife's favorite housecoat. The woman at the door, Mrs. Ali, makes no comment on the coat. Mrs. Ali invites herself inside the house when the Major appears ready to faint. The Major takes a seat in the parlor while Mrs. Ali fetches a glass of water from the kitchen. Mrs. Ali learns about the Major's distress and offers to make tea, understanding that the man should not be alone at this moment.

Mrs. Jasmina Ali is a 58 year old widow and the proprietress of the SuperSaver SuperMart. Mrs. Ali is a small, attractive woman of Pakistani heritage. Many people in the story refer to Mrs. Ali as the Pakistani woman and act as if she is completely foreign to England even though she was born in Cambridge. Despite the ill treatment thrust upon Mrs. Ali by the villagers, she remains pleasant and cordial to all, perhaps in part because of her need for their return business at the shop.

Mrs. Ali talks about how her life has changed since her nephew has moved to the area. The Major sympathizes and tells Mrs. Ali about Roger's ideas about how he should live his life now that he has aged.

The book details the blossoming relationship between the Major and Mrs. Ali despite racial and social prejudice. The story also focuses on how each is affected by the demands of family and society. In the end, the Major makes his last stand and marries Mrs. Ali.

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This section contains 519 words
(approx. 2 pages at 400 words per page)
Buy the Major Pettigrew's Last Stand Study Guide
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