All The Right Words – John Wyndham’s The Day Of The Triffids

The following blog has spoilers

Chapter One – The End Begins
“When a day that you happen to know is Wednesday starts off by sounding like Sunday…”

So begins the first chapter of the book, as William Masen wakes up in St Merryn’s hospital his whole head wreathed in bandages after a  accident at work. Hospital he wakes up in has gone silent, but not only that the world outside to. He can’t hear anyone and no one comes to aid when he calls
Feeling isolated and helpless he just sits in bed and thinks back to the last 24 hours and the earth passing through a cloud of comet debris, and how it felt not to be able to see it.
So summoning up the courage he removes his own bandages slowly regaining his sight, he makes his around the hospital meets a doctor crouching against the wall.
It soon becomes clear that the other man is now blind, following the man’s instructions they both end up the blind doctor’s office on the third floor, were he tries to make a phone call, when this fails the doctor stands up asks were the window is then without another crashes through it.

After a few minutes Masen leaves the office and goes to explore the rest of the hospital only to find a room of male patients who just want the curtains open so they can see, but the truth is that they are all blind.
Masen explores the hospital only to find the rest of the place in chaos as the blind and helpless mob all try get out by the main entrance.
Leaving the nightmare of the hospital still only half believing, Masen goes in search of drink, finding ‘The Alamein Arms’ he finds a drunk man who’s looking to get more drunk, who explains that everybody’s blind, Masen tries to pay for his drink but the landlord
‘what’s the good of money to a dead man’
He says his wife had turn on the gas on herself and there children and he would do it to when he gets more drunk he would do the same. With that Masen walks out into the silent street.

Chapter Two – The Coming Of The Triffids 
“This a personal record. It involves a great deal that has vanished for ever.”

In flashback Masen talks about his mother and father and there life in a southern suburb of London and his father working for the Inland Revenue Department and how he would read the young Masen school reports with gloom, but they both failed notice Masen future lay in biology.

We then hear him talk about the twenty-five million new mouths which need food and about the first few satellites into space, which later lead to speculation that they were linked to the Triffids so how.

But the real truth was a man Umberto Christoforo Palanguez gave a company called Arctic and European Fish-Oil a small bottle of pale pink oil and for a price would give the seeds from which oil is made from and it would give them a head start before the market takes off.
Umberto goes off in his aeroplane with his advance and is never seen again, but so years later a simple Russian man named Fedor turns up at Arctic and European Oils, with a story about simply removing a box of fertile seeds leaving them at a certain place at a certain time. At the request of one Tovarich Nikolai Alexandrovich Baltinoff.
The act done Comrade Baltinoff goes missing and so do the seeds so Fedor waits for a year before coming to the west.

What happened to Umberto himself will never be know but what Masen thinks is that was killed flying back and the seeds he was carrying were blown around the world.

Masen then goes back to his childhood and talks about the first Triffid which is growing his own back garden and how like the rest of the world just neglects them, until news reports talk about ‘walking plant’, So he tries to make the one he has walk but gets stung, he father wreaked stern vengeance on the triffid and kills it.
Slowly the world learns how to deal with the triffid someone kill them and other people have safely docked ones.
Now an adult Masen gets a job Arctic and European Oil, and meets Walter Lucknor who really understands the triffids and says that they talk and that he starting to see a pattern, but soon the undocked triffid out numbered the others.
Masen is stung a second time and ends up in the hospital.

What I think.
After reading the first two chapters, I can feel the 1950 Mr Wyndham writes about the world as it really was, how he saw it then he talks about newspaper and radio in the same way we talk about internet.
He makes Masen real things he feels are the things all of us would feel if first lost our sight, and then lost the world around us bit by bit.
The deaths in the first chapter are there to underline how helpless people feel, how closes off one person really is at the lost of there sight.
And for Masen the feeling helpless both to stop the deaths and doing a simple thing like opening curtain so others can
The only problem I have is that chapter two is a bit long, I not saying taking things out but if we had all the childhood stuff in one chapter and the seed history in third that would have been better.



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