There is always that tendency by people to say that the lucky ones are those who don’t have to live through the conflict. It is usually applied to major conflicts like the major world wars but McEwan makes you wonder about that with the war on terror. Henry goes to visit his mother and the rest of chapter III is taken up with him driving out to see her and then having to sit through her not knowing who he is and where she is.
With the TV in the lounge of the old people’s home broadcasting pictures without sounds of the anti-war march maybe it is better not to know what is going on. Maybe it is preferable to be in a state of childhood where all that matters is getting home in time for tea with your mother?
It is an interesting idea and there is also the spin that here is a brain surgeon dealing with some one with advanced dementia who not only knows what processes have happened in her brain to get her to that state but also knows that it could well happen to him as well at some point in the future. Again the question would be – would it not be better not to have a clue about what might happen to your brain?
Lets see what other questions come next. More tomorrow…