Nancy Wake, who has died in London just before her 99th birthday, was a New Zealander brought up in Australia. She became a nurse, a journalist who interviewed Adolf Hitler, a wealthy French socialite, a British agent and a French resistance leader. She led 7,000 guerrilla fighters in battles against the Nazis in the northern Auvergne, just before the D-Day landings in 1944. On one occasion, she strangled an SS sentry with her bare hands. On another, she cycled 500 miles to replace lost codes. In June 1944, she led her fighters in an attack on the Gestapo headquarters at Montlucon in central France.
Ms Wake was furious the TV series [later made about her life] suggested she had had a love affair with one of her fellow fighters. She was too busy killing Nazis for amorous entanglements, she said.
Nancy recalled later in life that her parachute had snagged in a tree. The French resistance fighter who freed her said he wished all trees bore “such beautiful fruit.” Nancy retorted: “Don’t give me that French shit.”
Golding does seek to provide a lesson in morality, but the lesson lacks the straightforward and decisive tone of the proverb that concludes most fables. At the end of Golding’s fable, the reader has learned not that evil is confined to the militaristic portion of the population as epitomized by Jack; the pacifist Ralph participated in some of the brutal tribal activities. Neither has the reader learned that science or even simple common sense will save humanity from itself; Piggy is ridiculed throughout and then killed. Mystical revelations or visionary insight into the human condition will not save us; consider the fate of the saintly Simon. Instead the reader learns that evil lives in us all, and there is no proverb to remedy that situation. By invoking the complexity that underlies human nature, Golding’s tale brings depth to the fable structure and presents a complex moral lesson as well.
"I just got out of a thirteen year marriage, and he’s really helped me gain back my independence."
“So what have you learned during this transition?”
“I’ve realized that everyone has a certain amount of power. You can give it away, or you can keep it for yourself. For awhile there I’d given it all away, and now I’m learning how to claim it back.”
"I’m going to be an inventor. I already have some good ideas."
"Oh yeah? What are they?"
"I had an idea for an electronic cigarette with a whatchamacallit in it that makes mist so you feel like you’re smoking but you really aren’t. And also a toothbrush where you put the toothpaste in the bottom and it comes out the top when you’re brushing."
"Those are some solid ideas. Anything else?"
"A fart gun."