Monday, March 1, 2010


"The Demon Lover" by Elizabeth Bowen is a story about World War I and World War II in London during the bombings. Our protagonist, Katherine Drover, has returned to retrieve some things and recognizes her old lover.

There are many interpretations on the story of "The Demon Lover." Katherine has returned to her house to discover a letter on the table. Believing the caretaker to be away that week, she is unsure as to how it had made its way to the table, and even more worried when she sees that the date is today. Aside from this letter, Mrs. Drover returns to discover that her home is just as she left it, a ring in the place she had left it, stains and marks of long use remain on the walls and stairway. It is almost as if her home was a timeless place, unchanged.

Heading upstairs to find the items she had originally come to retrieve, Kathrine finally decides to open the letter and discovers that it states that she had left but that she was expected back and that they should meet at the hour set aside. The letter is signed with the letter K, the same initial as Kathrine. Some believe that the letter is signed by herself, a Kathrine who had been left behind during the World War I bombings, and that she had awaited for her return. Upon reading the note Kathrine recalls a lover she once had; a soldier who had to leave for war, one that did not treat her well. In fact, rather than any normal goodbye, he simply had pressed her hand into his button as if to leave a mark of remembrance, but Kathrine had forgotten. She had forgotten his face, and could not remember what he was like or how he had been. She remembered having been engaged, but she had married another believing that he had been missing.

She believes he has come back and is frightened out of her mind. To escape her past lover, she gathers her things and quickly runs out of the house to catch a taxi, but upon sitting in the taxi, she realizes that she has found the designated meeting spot. She is last seen screaming as the car drives off quickly at hellish speeds. Is it her lover who is driving? Has she been found by him again? Or is it simply someone she has mistaken for him? The lover was World War I, and this new lover is World War II. She may have been caught in the bombings, but he had found her.

Just like the house, the war had awaited her return; waiting in the pause of time. She had escaped and moved on in her life, but in returning, she had given him another chance. She had returned to her old self and married herself away to the war, and to her end.