How should I feel about Kitty?

Kitty is definitely another example of a character that is neither totally monstrous but not totally virtuous either. Kitty is presented as this worrying wife of a soldier at war. She is at the mercy of the effects of the war on her and her husband. Kitty Baldry is very classical in her outlook on life. Instead of the romantic optimism which Chris exhibits throughout the novel, Kitty’s life revolves around the “proper forms” of an upperclass performance. I am, however, compelled to sympathize with her because she is a woman who just married this man who is then sent off to war. War would be tough on anyone and to have to lament over whether or not your husband is going to return would drive anyone crazy. On top of that she also just lost her child at a very young age. This coupled with Chris’ return in which he doesn’t even remember her represents a loss of Chris as well. To have hope upon Chris’ return only to find out that you are not a part of his memories anymore gives me a reason to sympathize with her.

On the other hand, she is not totally blameless either. She is obsessed with self-control, good breeding, manners and making life tidy and comfortable. She even goes as far as to create a facade of happiness which she projects on Baldry Court. Baldry Court, is a mirror of Kitty, a woman of delicacy and refinement removed from the world and the war that had rocked it. She will do anything to keep her perfect little life intact even if it means not facing reality. Facing realty is a big theme in this book and eventually Kitty must be told about Margaret’s place in Chris’s life because she must understand that she was neither his first lover nor his most important one.  She must accept this in order to move on and help Chris.

In the end, I believe I sympathize with Kitty because she has been placed in a very hard situation and is simply trying to keep hope and her life intact. For example, Margaret receives a letter from Chris about his return, however, Kitty receives no such message about her husband’s imminent return, hearing about it secondhand from Jenny. Not receiving a letter, combined with Kitty’s discovery that Chris has experienced a partial memory loss, causes her great psychological stress and pain. It is almost as if she has lost her husband twice. Once upon his leave for war and again when he comes back a different man. This roller coaster of emotions would be taxing on anyone.

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