The following blog has spoilers
Chapter Three- The Groping City
” I left the pub door swinging behind me as I made my way to the corner of the main road. There I hesitated.”
Now feeling some what restored by the alcohol, Masen makes he way towards London but he’s beginning to feel detached from the new world around him, knowing now that the catastrophe is more that just a local one only adds to this, Plus the lack of any sound only serves to deep his isolation, and need for familiar places drives him into the west end of London.
Hunger kicks more that once as he walks the streets but he can’t bring himself to smash a window and take what he needs, after nearly thirty year of being a law-abiding citizen its a hard shake the feeling of leaving the old order behind, to perform such an act.
He’s moral dilemma does resolve its self when he comes across a taxi which has broke the shop front of a delicatessen, which is a lot different from breaking in himself, yet even he leave money for the things he has taken.
But the feeling of helpless forlorn hart brake it still with him when he hears a girl singing then the sound of weeping, as he starts he walk again he comes cross a blind man who gives a short bitter laugh and set off with an exaggerated air of independence once Masen has told him what is going on.
As he get closer toward Piccadilly Circus he witness a odd thing a young blind man use a woman’s seeing child to get food, the woman like Masen knows that a line has now been cross.
Reaching Piccadilly Circus Masen sees a group of twenty five people walking single file being lead by one sighted man, who is giving them guided tour, everyone is very drunk.
“The Centre of the World…Were all the nobs had their wine, woman and song”
Then one of the men in the group calls for a woman the rest of the group laugh but the sighted man drags a woman from group and throw her at the blind man.
Masen heroics kicks in and he tries to stop it from happing but the sighted man is too quick and Masen ends up on the ground.
Comming to after a few minutes and heading in the other direction the realisation finally hits Masen that the old world with all the problems he once faced is now gone will never come back, but there are new problems to face in this strange world.
Chapter Four – Shadows Before
“In order to give a reasonable berth to the Café Royal mob I struck up a side street into Soho, intending to cut back to Regent Street higher up.”
Masen makes his way though the city of London, once again comming across yet more blinded people, and begins to question were or not should he become a leader of small group, helping them find food. But how long would he be able to help them for.
One after another the groups he see are slowly becoming one huge mob, each fight between there own, but when he see one group weeping in frustration over a sighted child, who is to young to understand what they want from it, he begins to be uneasy with a sense of guilt.
Then as he watches a smaller group head around Golden Square a piercing scream is heard, so much so everyone in the group turn around to see were its comming from.
Masen goes towards the danger, and a ally is a girl tied to a blind man who is beating her.
After a quick fight Masen is able to free the girl and together they head for a small pub.
The girls name Josella Playton and she can see, she goes on the tell Masen that on the Monday night she was at a party “I reckon…must have been fooling with the drinks”
Because the hangover the next made her take a sleeping-draught which knocked her out and so miss the light show, in the morning however her father wakes and tells her his now blind and the servants the only thing she can do is to go and fetch a doctor.
She drives off in a car but slowly she realizes want has happened so with waning hope she drives on, but the car stop and she gets out.
As she leaves the car a blind man ask her were he his but when she comes close he pulls both her wrists together and ties them together, then with a smack across her face he makes her his eyes, first he makes her hunt for food at a cafe and there next call was to a bar.
Inside the bar another group of people use Josella to get them the bottles of drink after this they all turn on the man trying to take Josella for themselves.
Joella and the man get away, he didn’t thank her just give her directions to another bar, but when she wouldn’t go into a house with the man that’s when he started to beat her.
After telling Masen all this Josella resolve to go back to home and to her father.
Masen see only two choices one of lonely existence or became a leader or prisoner role, so he goes with her but they equip themselves with a couple of useful looking sheath knives, also take a car.
Traveling though Oxford Street and then Circus more people are about and all turn to see were the noise is comming from but they don’t stop, reaching the open spaces Masen notices the triffids are now moving around.
Pulling up at Josella home they are attacked by a triffid after finding the body of ‘Old Pearson’ the gardener in the driveway, Masen is hit by the triffid but somehow survives, they go though the house and find not only her father but a called Annie both killed by triffids
Josella thinks it better her father was killed that to live as a blind man, Masen thinks that Josella would wish to bury her father, but he would just drop the idea a move on, then he thinks back to his friend Walter.
‘Take away our sight and our superiority to them is gone’
But before he can take any action the triffids move towards them and they make a run for it back to the car, Josella just wants to get away.
What I think
I have no problem with Masen wandering around London watching the world he once knew falling into chaos or playing hero to try and keep some sense of order, the problem I have is with Josella or more how Wyndham has written her first she has be rescued by Masen second he talks about her hands having long finger nails more decorative than practical after the rescue she remarks
‘God, I must look awful’
Not anything about the cuts and bruises she got from her attacker,
Third when she tells Masen her tail about being able to see she talks about ‘fooling’ with her drinks, as if that was everyday thing for a girl of the 1950 to put with.
And then when her attacker tries to take her in a house she feels ashamed.
‘But I am pretty ashamed of myself. Shows you what a modern young woman can come to after all, doesn’t it? screaming and collapsing with the vapours’
So being almost raped twice, calling for help the second time is bad thing, yet before she was able to rescue her attacker from the mod in the pub.
I not sure Wyndham can write woman or that woman of the 1950 still needed to beholden to the men in there lives.