The epilogical final chapter returns to the present of 1946 resuming the story about five years after the Japanese attack on Broome. The narrator sums up past events and gives us information about the fate of the central characters. Shortly after the Japanese attack on Broome its "residents were told by the American military authorities that they should evacuate the town, as previous experience had shown that Japanese air raids were usually followed by troop landings, and such could be expected shortly in Broome. As a result of this advice, Mr. A. Male, the Broome Road Board Chairman, sent the following telegram to State Premier Wilicocks in Perth -
'We demand that aerial transport be sent to Broome to evacuate civil population who desire to leave. Alternatively adequate Australian fighter protection afforded to avoid repetition of this morning's occurrence. Roads impassable. ' Many of the residents did not wait for a response to the telegram, and Bell Bros. (who were the contractors working on the airstrip) placed their vehicles at the disposal of the townspeople. A convoy was formed, and many of the residents headed south. Because of floodwaters ( it was the 'wet' season in the North), they could not proceed passed Anna Plains Station, and many in the convoy turned back, returning to Broome on March 5th. For some time after the raid, it was the practice of the civil population to leave town early each morning and 'go bush', returning in the afternoon when it was thought the danger from possible air raids would be passed. Perhaps this was a sound practice as another raid was launched on the 4th March, but had to turn back, when only 80 km from Broome, due to bad weather!" 1)
Hartley relates that in the meantime his father has "regained most of his speech and mobility" ... and that Alice has returned from Japanese captivity. Her bad condition casts light on the cruel treatment she had to suffer as a Japanese prisoner of war. She is "just skin and bone ... Many of her teeth had fallen out and tropical ulcers had left craters in her legs and her eyes were wide and ravaged-looking in a pinched face".
Ironically Tatura in Victoria, an internment camp for the Japanese, has become "the only safe place" for Mitsy and Sadako. Three years ago in a generous gesture approved of by her mother, Mitsy had written a first letter to Hart. In this letter she tells him that they are well and treated kindly 2). Moreover, Mitsy discloses her true feelings when she writes: "I told him [Jamie] that it was you I loved. What I didnīt tell him was that I was waiting for you to feel better about me".
It does not escape the readerīs notice that in the move of the novelīs action the characters spend a lot of their time in waiting. And that is not at all surprising for it is a matter of fact that in times of crisis, great stress and uncertainty we are dominated by fearful expectation of the future. We hope for the best but fear the worst.
Now at the end of the novel Hart is waiting again. ...
By way of conclusion one can rightly say that Disherīs 'The Divine Wind' is "a thrilling novel which meticulously analyses the destructive power of war and its devastating effect on people torn between the strong emotions they have always held dear in their life". (Lollipops, September/October 1998) _____________________
from : Prime, Mervyn W., Broomeīs one day war: the story of the Japanese
raid on Broome, 3rd March 1942, Broome, W.A.: Shire of Broome [for Broome
Historical Society], 1992, p. 11 -
Garry Disher, The Divine Wind, Teacher's Guide
victims of war
meaning of 'waiting'