On the beach – book report English – Anneke Wigboldus (5Vb)General data The authorof ‘On the beach’ is Nevil Shute.
He was an English novelist and aeronauticalengineer. He is born is London in 1899 and he died at the age of 60 in 1960. Inthe Second World War, Nevil Shute was involved in developing various armamentsystems for the air force. Nevil Shute based most of his novels on his own warexperiences (he fought in both world wars).
The publisher of ‘On the beach’ isHeinemann and the year of the first publication is 1957.GenreThe genre of the bookis post-apocalyptic fiction, a subgenre of science fiction. The entire book isabout the end of the world. I’ll illustrated by the following quote of thebook: “It’snot the end of the world at all,” he said. “It’s only the end for us.The world will go on just the same, only we shan’t be in it. I dare say it willget along all right without us.” ~ John OsborneIt’sclear that this quote is about the end of the world and that’s why this is apost-apocalyptic fiction book.
SummaryAyear before the story begins, there was a nuclear war. The whole northernhemisphere is destroyed and uninhabitable. Only in Australia still livepeople. Peter Holmes and his wife Marylive in Melbourne. The radioactivity will also slowly come to southern hemisphere,the radiation reaches Melbourne in circa six months. Peter Holmes is going to work on a submarine,the Scorpion, which is captained by Dwight Towers.
They are going to see whatthe situation is in the rest of the world. There he meets Moira Davidson. Peter,Moira and John Osborne (a scientist) investigate the radioactivity in differentplaces. On their first trip, the only living creature they see is a dog. Theydon’t see living people. Nobody knows how the war has started.
Probably, thenuclear war began between China and Russia. Moira is in love with Dwight, butDwight has a wife in the USA and he don’t know if his wife and children arestill alive. That’s why they don’t have a relationship.
There are radio signalsfrom New York caught and Dwight and Peter next mission is to investigate theradio signals. The radio signals seem to come from San Francisco. They go withthe submarine to San Francisco, because there is a let of radiation they wearprotective clothing. They don’t see live in San Francisco and the radio signalsmeans nothing. A man of the crew goes to his family without protecting clothes.He sees his family dead in their house. He can no longer join the submarine,because he would infect the rest of the crew. The man dies in the USA.
Theradiation will come soon and everyone do things they want to do in their lastdays. John Osborne drives with his Ferrari in the Australian Grand Prix. Muchdrivers takes a lot of risks and crash in the race.
John wins the race. At theend of August, everyone is ill. Many people take a suicide pill. John takes thepill while he is sitting in his Ferrari.
Peter kills Jennifer and Peter andMary take the pill together in their bed. Dwight and other crew members letthemselves sink in the submarine. Moira takes the pill when she sees that thesubmarine is sinking. Themes & messageThemain theme is the end of the world.
What will the main characters do when theyknow they know they have only a few months to live? How are they dealing withtheir thoughts and what are they going to do in the last few months? A relatedtheme with the end of the world is dreams. What are their dreams? What want theyto do in the last months of their live? An example are Peter and Mary, who areplanning their garden. They want to change their garden next year, despite theyknow they won’t be there next year. TitleThebook is called ‘on the beach’.
The beach is a place where water and earth meeteach other. The beach is often associated with the begin and the end. The bookis also about the end.
So that’s why the book is called on the beach. It alsorefers to the end of the book, when Moira takes a pill on the beach and died. Characters- Peter HolmesPeter is a hard-working man on the submarine and when he doesn’t have towork at the submarine, he is helping his wife Mary. He is strong enough to kill his daughter withthe pill. Peter is a friendly man and he always wants the best for everyone. – MaryMary is the wife of Peter. She likes gardening and do things around theworld. She takes care of her daughter Jennifer.
Mary wants to think as littleas possible of the world’s perishing. – Dwight TowersDwight is the captain of a submarine which is called Scorpion. He is aloyal man and continues to believe that his family is still alive, despite thenuclear war in America. That makes him optimistic. He remains nice even thoughhis family is probably dead.
– Moira DavidsonMoira is a friend of Peter and Mary. She tries to escape the realitywith dancing and drinking. Moira is also good friends with Dwight, but theydon’t have a relationship, because Dwight doesn’t know whether his wife isstill alive. – John OsborneJohn is a scientist on the submarine. He likes to drive with his Ferrariand traveling with the submarine.
At the least months of his live, he would tofulfil his dreams. He tries to hide his fears and he is easily nervous. Place and timeThestory takes about six months.
It takes place after a nuclear war. The book isset in Australia, especially Melbourne. Twice, people make a trip with asubmarine if there’s somewhere life in the world outside of Australia. Thestory is told in the third person. It switches from person to person, so yousee know the whole story.
It’s inchronological order and there’re a few flashbacks. There are also a lot ofdialogs in the story.