Analysis of Mary Postgate
By Katherine Kimbrough
The author describes Mary Postgate as the main character in the story and she is thoroughly conscientious, tidy, companionable and ladylike. She is 44 years old, and has worked for Miss Fowler for eleven years. Miss Fowler is her boss and a supporting character in the story. She is 60 years old, and she takes in her orphaned nephew Wyndham Fowler when he was eleven years old. She spoils Wynn because she never had kids.
Wyndham Fowler always liked to insult Mary Postgate with rude nicknames like “Gatepost”, “Postey”, or “Packthread”. He mistreats her by hitting her and chasing her around the yard. When he was old enough to join the army at the war starts and he joins the Flying Corps. He begs his aunt for an allowance and she gives it to him. He asks her for a new cardigan before he left for training. Every time he came home for a visit, he would be really mean to Mary Postgate and made her to memorize a chart of the different airplanes that are in the war and when he would test her on that, she failed every time. He would call Mary Postgate even meaner names and descriptions of her. He was in the service for a short time then he got killed in a trial flight.
Mary Postgate and Miss Fowler gets the news that Wynn is dead and they don’t mourn for him. Miss Fowler doesn’t go to the funeral, but sends Mary in her place. Mary is angry at Wynn because he had mistreated her all those years but she is relieved that his punishment is death. The women decide to burn his things but only keep his army outfit. When Mary goes out to put his things in the incinerator, she finds a French injured man lying on the ground. He tells her that he is hurt and he needs a doctor. She refuses because she somehow believes maybe the man may have killed Wynn. She goes back to the incinerator and ignores the man who keeps calling her to get a doctor. She realizes that she is glad that Wynn is dead and it is her way of “mourning” is to burn his stuff, because the fire she used to burn his stuff represents her anger. She keeps the fire going because she still is mad at him until the last piece of his stuff is burned out.