In Mrs. Miniver, a novel of about 300 pages, Jan Struther writes about the simple and fulfilling life of Kay Miniver and her family as they go through the struggles of WWII. Struther shows Mrs. Miniver’s optimism and vitality despite the effects of the war on her family. A narrator, who watches the family through dialogue between the family and other characters, tells the novel. Mrs. Miniver is often alone admiring something and commenting to herself. Her spirit and good will are shown in events with her family before the war, during the war when her family is separated, and after the war when they reunite again.
Struther shows Mrs. Miniver’s gaiety and liveliness in light that she is oblivious to the impending war that will deeply affect her life. Mrs. Miniver and her family have the same troubles and pleasures like many other families. One of these pleasures is the day that their new car is scheduled to arrive. The family is excited and is anticipating the beautiful color and design of the car. Christmas shopping is the next event for Mrs. Miniver. Like most other mothers in Oxford, she has waited until the week before Christmas to do her shopping thus getting stuck in long lines with aggressive people. Realizing she will have yet another busy year, Mrs. Miniver decides it is time to invest in an expensive engagement book. This precious diary will hold all of her memories and events for an entire year. “To give it away is impossible, to lose it is disastrous, and to scrap it and start a new one entails a laborious copying out of all the entries that have already been made,” thought Mrs. Miniver about the process of buying one. These three ordinary and simple events lead into the first day of spring. “Here, she would find herself thinking, is where I end and the outside world begins. It was exciting, but divisive: it made for loneliness.” Her spirit and vitality remain even as the war becomes closer to reality.
Even though Mrs. Miniver and her family are separated during the war, her hopefulness and merriment are established. The war has come, and the family must go and pick up their gas masks. “We ought to have got one for Teddy,” Toby replies as they receive their masks. The family is now separate. Clem has gone off with his AAB, and Vin has been sent up to Quern.