by Graham
Presentation by Hayden Seibert
Tom Crick
Henry Crick
Dick Crick
Marry Metcalf
Lewis Scott
Martha Clay
Ernest Atkinson
Helen Atkinson
• The Fens wetlands in England
Historical analysis
Means of coping with reality
• Tom Crick (primarily)
• Lewis Scott (primarily)
• Man vs. Man- Tom vs. Lewis, Dick Vs. Tom
• Man vs. self/ reality- telling stories to help
forget reality
• Man vs. Nature- Land reclamation
• The following is a plot analysis up to the
ending, do not read if you plan on reading the
Plot overview
• Tom Crick Is a history teacher
• He’s getting fired because the Lewis Scott has decided
that the school no longer needs a history department
• The true reasoning behind him getting fired is that his
wife Marry Metcalf kidnapped a child recently and
Lewis doesn’t want to face the negative publicity the
school might get if Tom stays a teacher
• Knowing that he will soon have to leave, Tom starts
telling stories from his childhood during class
Plot continued
• During childhood, Tom lives with his father Henry
Crick, his mother Helen Atkinson, and his brother
Dick Crick in a lock keeper’s cottage on the river
• Dick is somewhat mentally retarded but is
talented at working with machines
• When Tom’s mother Helen is on her death bed,
she gives Dick a key to a strange chest in the attic
• This causes Tom to start spying on Dick
Plot continued
• Tom discovers the contents of the chest one
day when Dick sneaks off to the river after
taking something from the chest
• Tom watches from a distance as dick opens a
strange looking bottle of beer and drinks it all
in seconds
• Tom’s curiosity leads him to research the
family history
Plot continued
• He discovers that his mother’s side of the family,
the Atkinsons used to be major brewers of
Atkinson beer, and they built an empire around
their early success
• With time, their business began to fail after a
series of disasters and blunders
• Tom’s grandfather Ernest Atkinson attempts to
restore the business's success by making a new
ale called coronation ale for the coronation
celebration of George V
Plot continued
• The coronation ale is extremely intoxicating
and results in lots of drunkenness and
confusion on the day of the coronation
• In the confusion the Atkinson brewery burns
• Ernest becomes wracked with madness and
sorrow and looks to his daughter Helen for
Plot continued
• Ernest and his daughter Helen develop a
relationship that results in the birth of Dick
• Helen becomes a nurse in world war I and falls
in love with Henry Crick after nursing him back
to health
• They get married and Helen gives birth to Tom
• Helen and Henry never tell Dick or tom that
Dick was born out of incest, and that that is
the cause of his mental retardation
Plot continued
• In the attic of the cottage where they live
there is a chest that contains bottles of
coronation ale, and journal entries from
Ernest’s journal that explain Dick’s birth
• The key that Helen gave dick before she died
was the key to that chest
• Since Dick has no reading ability he is unable
to read the journal entries
Plot continued
• During his youth, Tom falls in love with a girl named
Mary Metcalf
• They develop a relationship and Mary soon becomes
• At the same time, Mary attempts to have a relationship
with tom’s brother Dick which results in Dick having
feelings for her
• When Mary tells dick that she is pregnant he asks if it is
his baby
• To protect Tom from his brother’s anger she tells dick
that it is Freddie Parr’s baby
• Freddie Parr is one of Tom’s friends
Plot continued
• In his anger, Dick Murders Freddie Parr by
convincing him to drink one of the bottles of
coronation ale, then hitting him on the head with
the bottle and pushing him into the river
• Freddie’s body gets stuck on the lock where The
Cricks live
• Henry Crick must fish Freddie’s body out of the
lock with a boat hook
• The hook slips and cuts into Freddie’s head
• The wound from the boat hook masks the bruise
left from Dick hitting him with the bottle
Plot continued
• The coroner’s find Freddie’s death as
• Tom begins to peace together Freddie’s death
and realizes that he and Mary could be
considered accomplices
• Under a lot of stress, Mary attempts to kill the
baby that she is pregnant with
• Tom finds her jumping up and down violently
to try and kill the baby
Plot continued
• Tom takes Marry and rushes her to the cottage of
Martha clay, a well known master of old
medicines and conductor of emergency abortions
• Martha removes Mary’s baby, but causes damage
that will result in Mary not being able to have
children in the future
• Tom finds the bottle that Dick used to hit Freddie
and decides to investigate the chest in the attic
• He manages to find the key that Helen gave Dick
and he goes to the chest and reads all of Ernest’s
Plot continued
• Tom decides that the right thing to do is to tell
Dick about how he was born
• After Tom explains the situation to dick as best
he can, dick rides away from the cottage on
his motorcycle
• Henry and Tom try to follow him and find him
on the dredger where he works
• Dick had taken the bottles of coronation ale,
and was very drunk at this point
Plot continued
• Henry and Tom head out after the dredger on
a small boat
• The call to Dick to come back, but before they
can get to him Dick dives off the side of the
dredger into the water
• Tom and Henry search for Dick for a long time,
but he never surfaces
Plot continued
• Later in Tom’s life he becomes a history teacher and maries
• Mary is in a good mental state, but eventually goes mad
because of emotional scars from her early life with Tom
• Since her and Tom are unable to have children, Mary steals
a child from a store one day, and claims that god told her to
• Tom realizes that his wife has gone mad, and drives her
back to where she took the baby
• They return the child but are still at the mercy of the law
• Mary is then sent to live at a mental hospital, and Tom
faces getting fired
Really good
Complex writing style
Characters you can really connect to
5 stars
• Read it.

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