The Birds Summary & Study Guide

This Study Guide consists of approximately 25 pages of chapter summaries, quotes, character analysis, themes, and more - everything you need to sharpen your knowledge of The Birds.
This section contains 618 words
(approx. 2 pages at 400 words per page)
Buy The Birds Study Guide

The Birds Summary & Study Guide Description

The Birds 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 on The Birds by Daphne Du Maurier.

The Birds opens on the third day of December, when the seaside weather has changed overnight. Nat Hocken, a wounded war veteran who now supports his family by working part-time at the local farm, has noticed that all the birds in the village seem uncharacteristically restless. He thinks the weather has affected the birds’ behavior. Perhaps, they think winter has come early. That evening in bed, Nat hears a strange tapping on his roof. When the tapping moves to his window, Nat rises to drive the bird away. When he opens the window, half a dozen birds fly in attacking him. He hears his children screaming in their bedrooms. Batting the birds away from him, Nat rushes to their rescue. The next morning, Nat cleans up fifty dead birds in his house, but none of his neighbors believe his story of the attack.

Soon, however, word of the attack spreads. Reports of bird attacks across the world are reported on the wireless radio. Nat gathers all the dead birds from around his home and takes them to the beach to bury them. There, he notices thousands of seagulls riding the waves as if patiently waiting for something. Rushing home, Nat quickly boards up his doors, windows, and chimneys from what he is sure is another impending attack. While he works, Nat becomes aware that there are many in his village who don’t understand the severity of the impending attack, but he knows he cannot save them. He can only save himself and his family. By 3 o’clock in the afternoon, the sun is already blocked out by the gathering birds, and the sky is dark. Seeing the birds, Nat rushes from the house to pick up his young daughter, Jill, from the school bus. On the way home, a neighbor, Mr. Trigg, offers Nat a gun and Jill a ride home in his truck, which will be much faster than walking. Nat declines the gun, but manages to shove Jill safely into the car before the birds set upon him. The birds hurl themselves into the sidewalk, claiming their own lives in their pursuit of Nat’s blood. He rushes home and into the house, suffering only minor, yet bloody, injuries during the attack.

After the second attack, Nat realizes that the birds move with the tides and that he would have roughly six hours between attacks to plan counter-attacks. The army sends reconnaissance planes to defend against the birds, but the next attack clogs the planes’ propellers. They crash almost immediately. The birds once again set upon Nat’s home, nearly managing to crash through the boarded-up windows and doors. The next morning, Nat quickly repairs the damage to his home and stacks bird bodies around the windows as an extra layer of protection. He sets a fire in one furnace in the hopes of keeping the birds away, but they hurl themselves into the fire in their desperate attack against humanity. During the next lull, Nat rushes to Mr. Trigg’s house in search of more supplies. He is devastated and disgusted to see that the birds have killed Trigg’s entire family. Without a moment for remorse, Nat ransacks Trigg’s home, taking every usable supply to help protect his own family. Driving home, Nat sees the hundreds of thousands of birds lying in wait for the tide to turn. He hurriedly unpacks his car, locks up doors and windows, lights a fire, and waits. The story ends with the birds smashing through the splintering wood at Nat’s windows, and Nat smoking his last cigarette: “He threw the empty packet into the fire and watched it burn” (Page 19).

Read more from the Study Guide

This section contains 618 words
(approx. 2 pages at 400 words per page)
Buy The Birds Study Guide
Copyrights
BookRags
The Birds from BookRags. (c)2015 BookRags, Inc. All rights reserved.