Boekverslag : Nevil Shute - On The Beach
De taal ervan is Engels en het aantal woorden bedraagt 2260 woorden.

Notes on author: Nevil Shute (1899-1960) was born in Middlesex, England. His first ambition was to be a Royal Flying corps gunnery officer but he was unsuccessful in his medical tests. He was in 1918, for a short time, in the British Infantry prior to studying at Oxford University. He was employed as an engineer by the de Havilland Aircraft Company in 1923. In 1926, using the pseudonym 'Nevil Shute', he produced his first novel. 'Shute' resigned from de Havilland in 1924 and eventually became managing director of another company which manufactured aircraft, Airspeed Ltd. He held this position until 1938 when the popularity of his two novels persuaded him to become a full-time author.

When the Second world War began, 'Shute' became a member of the Royal Navy Volunteer Reserve where he was employed on arms advancement. In 1944 he went with the combat naval force to Normandy as correspondent for the Ministry of Information.

'Shute' left the navy in 1945. He arrived in Australia in 1948-49, after flying his own plane, to explore the opportunity for fresh ideas for his work, a journey which produced two of his best-known works, A town like Alice (1950) and Round the Bend (1951). He decided to take up permanent residence in Australia in 1950's. Many of his books have been successfully filmed, for example, Scotland Yard Commands (1937) a version of Lonely Road; No Highway [in the Sky] (1951); On the Beach (1959, in Australia); and A town like Alice has been filmed twice. Shute was married to a successful Medical Practitioner and has a daughter, Shirley Norway.

Edition published by: Lijsters, Wolters Noordhof Groningen

Year of publication: 1957

Number of pages: 285


¨ Part of matching novels > no

¨ Novel

¨ Division into Chapters

Social settings: The story take place in the Southern of Australia near Melbourne. Australia is a land on the Southern hemisphere. The place is the only place without radioactivity

Geographical setting: Australia, America

Historical setting: 1962

Initial incident: The cold war between Russia and America has become a real war I think.

Climax: The moment they decide to commit sueside because they aren’t safe from the Nuclear radiation after all.

Account for the titles and/or subtitles, and their relevance to the work:

The beach, the meeting point of land and water, is often associated

with beginnings and endings. Here it refers to the end of human life on earth, as in the poem by T.S. Eliot. But the beach is also the last place where Moira sees Dwight. That's also the place that is all over, so she takes the pill, which kills her.

Main characters:

Dwight Towers: Dwight Towers is the captain of a nuclear powered submarine, called the

Scorpion. The Scorpion is one of the two ships left of the USA Navy. Dwight is an American, but his ship is now under the command of the Royal Australian Navy, because the USA Navy doesn't exist any more. Dwight lives in Mystic, Connecticut, a little town close to the sea. He has a wife, Sharon, and two kids, a boy and a girl. The boy's called Dwight Junior and is 10 years old. The girls name is Helen and she is six years old. He's is very loyal to his wife and

the Navy. He doesn't do things the Navy wouldn't permit, even during the last days, he

lives by the rules. He knows that his wife and children are dead, but he acts like they

are still alive. For instance he buys them presents, when he and his crew go on a mission

to the USA. He doesn't like to have nothing to do. Maybe because when he has nothing to do

he starting to think about the things that have happened or the things that are going to

happen. At the end, he takes his submarine and his crew to sink his ship of shore. He

believes that is the way 'Uncle Sam' wanted him to do it.

Peter Holmes: Peter Holmes is an officer of the Royal Australian Navy. He is married to Mary and he has a baby, named Jennifer. He is a nice guy, who wants the best for everyone. He likes it when things are taken care of. Like when he went on a mission with the Scorpion, he told Mary what to do if he wasn't coming back. At the end he is one of few who still feel good, but he takes a pill at the same time as Mary and his child, because he doesn't want to live without them.

Moira Davidson: Moira Davidson has an eye on Dwight. She's a young girl. Before she met Dwight she only went to parties and drank a lot. The idea that life is over in a couple of months frightens her. She never thought about getting married and getting children, but after

meeting Dwight she wants to marry him. But she knows that he is a 'married' man, so she

accepts that this never will be reality. She pretends to understand the decision of

Dwight, but actually she doesn't. She helps Dwight with his illusion that his wife and

children are still alive. She makes Dwight's life much nicer, although he still wants to

go back to his family. She takes the pill on the beach, while she is watching Dwight and

his submarine, going on their last cruise.

Mary Holmes: Mary Holmes is Peter's wife. She is the daughter of an officer from the Royal

Australian Navy, so se understands why Peter has to do the things he does, although she

doesn't always like it. She always calls Peter a bad father for his child. She lives in

some sort of dream world. She doesn't want to talk about the things that are going to

happen. She pretends they aren't there. She works most of the time in the garden. She is

always talking about how beautiful the garden is going to be next year. Probably this is

the way, she deals with the problems, she simply denies them or pretends they aren't

there. She got very sick at the end, and also took the pill, because she didn't want to go

on like this.

John Seymour Osborne: John Osborne is a scientist, specialised in radio-active radiation. This is the reason that the Royal Australian Navy puts him on the Scorpion. He has to investigate the radiation during the missions of this submarine. He has a Ferrari, with which he likes to ride. It even becomes an obsession. He competes in races. The reason for him to do this,

is the fact that he likes the feeling after he almost got killed. For him getting killed

during a race is a much nicer death, than to die of radiation decease. He is family of

Moira Davidson, he is her nephew. At the end he takes his pill in his Ferrari, that's the

way he wanted to die; behind the steering wheel of his car..

Moira Davidson's Parents: Moira's father has trouble dealing with the coming end.

Admiral Grimwade: The Second Naval Member, an officer in the Australian navy.

Sir David Hartman: First Naval Member, an admiral in the Australian Navy.

The way the story is told: Third person narrowation

Type of language used: Everyday language

My opinion of the book: I think it was a pretty boring story, I more like books with more action in it…

Summary: The story begins on the day after Christmas1962. We’re in Australia. A year before there was a short nuclear war, which destroyed the northern hemisphere. The radioactivity is steadily coming south. They expect that Australia will be down within a year due the radiation. That war was a kind of accident. Albania dropped an A-bomb on Naples (I don’t know why). After that an A-bomb was dropped on Tel Aviv, they didn’t know who did it, but Egypt was a suspect. Therefore the U.S. and Great Britain tried to impress Egypt by flying over that country with jet fighters. The next day Egypt sent out bombers (Russian bombers) and nuked Washington and London. As a result all statesmen were dead. The Egyptian bombers were identified as Russian bombers by the west, so NATO nuked Russia and Russia nuked back. Eventually China attacked Russia. This war stopped when all nuclear weapons were gone. Now the rest who survived could wait for the end.

In this world, in the vicinity of Melbourne, lives Lieutenant Commander Peter Holmes of the Royal Australian Navy. He has a wife, Mary, and a little baby girl, Jennifer. Of course life has changed. Everything is slowing down, because there is hardly any petrol left, except for the army and government.

Peter gets a new job aboard U.S.S. Scorpion, a submarine, as liaison officer. Commander of Scorpion is Commander Dwight Towers. They’re firs assignment will be to go to Cairns, Port Moresby and Port Darwin. Before that Dwight will spend the weekend at Peters home. Mary wants to distract Dwight, because she thinks he must be thinking a lot about home, maybe he will start crying if he sees the baby. Therefore she invites Moira Davidson. She has to amuse Dwight. Moira is a nice young woman, but she drinks to much.

Dwight arrives on Saturday, Moira and he have a great time racing in a sailing competition. At night there is a little party at Peter’s home. Everyone is heaving a great time, they can forget the misery.

When Towers comes back he hears that John Osborne will also join the ships crew. He’s a scientific officer from CSIRO. Before the ship will leave Moira pays a visit to Scorpion. There she sees photos of Dwights family.

Just before the cruise Peter and Dwight have a meeting with the Prime Minister, they also get a report from the U.S.S. Swordfish. Swordfish is also a submarine who survived the war. This ship is stationed in Rio de Janeiro and made a trip to the north Atlantic.

On the cruise they find out little more than they already knew. They only saw totally dead and abandoned cities. They only saw one dog.

When they come back they report this. The crew also got the measles.

Dwight is coming over to Peter’s home again. Moira is there again. Dwight and Moira have a good time again. This time they also talk about how it was at Dwight’s home. Dwight is talking about his family as they would still be alive, but they must be dead.

The officers are resting. They also talk about they’re future. John tells that someone of CSIRO is preserving the history about what is happening to them.

Dwight and Moira grow closer. Dwight even visits her house (a pharm on which she lives with her parents). Dwight likes Moira very much, but he will never ‘cheat’ his wife, also she’s dead. Moira repaires Dwight’s clothes and Dwight helps on the pharm.

When Dwight comes back he gets his next orders. He has to make a trip to the U.S. There they will investigate a mysterious radio signal from somewhere near Seattle. They will also visit several other harbours.

When Peter hears the orders he becomes a little afraid. He thinks he won’t be back in time for the end, or that will not return at all. Therefore he talks to a chemist. The chemist tells him about free pills to commit suicide, if you don’t want to day in pain and misery.

When he tells Mary about it she first gets very upset, later she starts accepting the reality of the danger of radiation and the misery of radiation sickness.

John Osborn has bought a real Ferrari, because he wants to start racing. He can’t drive to much, because he hasn’t got a lot of fuel. He needs a special sort of alcohol.

Dwight buys some presents for his (dead) family. For his son a fishing rod, for his wife an expensive neckles and for his daughter he wants a pogo stick, but he can’t find one. Moira promises to get one for him.

Scorpion makes his last cruise. In the U.S. they discover that the radio signal was nothing. Whole the U.S. is dead. They also had to investigate if the radiation up north was decreasing, that was not the case. One of the sailors jumps ship. They’re at his hometown and he wants to die there, so they leave him. When they go back Dwight becomes commanding officer of the U.S. Navy. The former commander died when Brisbane went out.

After this Scorpion won’t get a seagoing job anymore. Peter goes home and Dwight goes to Moira’s home to rest. He has got the flue. There Moira gives him the pogo stick as she promised. Moira also arranges the trout fishing season will open earlier, on the tenth of August. Dwight wants tom go trout fishing, but he refuses to break the law.

John wants to drive the last grand prix ever. Therefore he has to qualify himself, and he does.

By now people are doing the things they always wanted to. They’re even making plans for the next couple of years, but they only have a few weeks left.

On the tenth of August Moira and Dwight go fishing, they have a great time. That day John wins the grand prix.

By now everything is coming to an end. Life stocks as people get ill. In the end a lot of people refuse to go on any longer and take the pill. John takes it in his Ferrari. Peter and Mary take it in bed, after they gave Jennifer one.

Dwight will take Scorpion outside the twelve mile zone and sink it. He thinks that’s the

Way Uncle Sam would have liked it. Moira takes a pill after she watched Dwight sail away.
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