On Thursday, May 23, 2019, the author Judith Kerr went to her eternal rest.
A survivor of Nazi Germany, she was best known for her children’s book, The Tiger Who Came to Tea, a modern classic in Britain and the Commonwealth:
I am unfamiliar with the book and Ms Kerr’s other works. However, from reading and hearing about The Tiger Who Came to Tea, I had the mistaken impression it was for adults. People have been saying it is about the sexual revolution of the 1960s, or feminism, or an unhappy marriage, or alcoholism or depression.
So it was interesting to run across a tweet from the BBC’s Emily Maitlis:
Her colleague Nick Robinson tweeted this reply:
She told me that some told her the tiger was really the Gestapo. Even when she said “No, he’s just a tiger” they said “Ah, you may think that but it’s your subconscious conjuring up the Gestapo”
Sometimes, a Story is just a story.
Writers and playwrights have had to deal with readers’ deep introspection for years. Arthur Miller was one of them:
Sometimes a name is just that: a name. Nothing more. No deep symbolism.
In closing, here is Emily Maitlis’s interview with Judith Kerr, who was 92 at the time. She describes her happy childhood in Paris, then London. Her parents, who were going through endless difficulties during the war in Paris, protected her from it all. She did not know that her mother was suicidal for a time. She found out only when she read a collection of family papers as an adult:
Kerr, a former screenwriter for the BBC, told Maitlis that she came to writing books ‘late’, as a wife and mother. Her husband, Tom (Quatermass) Kneale — a fellow BBC screenwriter — strongly encouraged her. She said that, had she not started writing books, she would have become religious.
As it turned out, she said she never was religious. She said near the end of the video that she strongly supported euthanasia.
Maitlis says she was ‘inspired’ by meeting her idol. Oh, well.
I should think it would be impossible not to embrace religion after what she and her family went through. Personally, I would be giving hearty thanks to God daily. Then again, perhaps her parents were not religious in the first place, so she never had the example.
More’s the pity.
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