1. This play, written in the 1950s, is a humorous and satirical depiction of the status of the mother in the family.
(a) What are the issues it raises?
Ans. The play ‘Mother’s Day’ is a humorous but realistic presentation of the status of the mother in the family. She plays the dual role of a wife and a mother. She has to serve every member of the family and care for them. The play raises that vital issues of how to better a lot of women in the family. Mrs Fitzgerald is a liberated and strong woman who lives life on her own terms. But Mrs Pearson only sulks silently. She is neglected and treated as a maid. Mrs Fitzgerald suggests a solution and even sets Mrs Pearson’s family right.
(b) Do you think it caricatures these issues or do you think that the problem it raises is genuine? How does the play resolve the issues? Do you agree with the resolution?
Ans. The problem of the pitiable status of women in most of the families is genuine. For ages, a woman has been enslaved, exploited and tortured. She gets no change and no recognition for her tireless services. Mrs Pearson represents the entire class of such unhappy women. She reveals her problem to her neighbour. Mrs Fitzgerald offers her services to set the spoilt family right by interchanging their personalities. Now Mrs Pearson has become a confident and strong woman like Mrs Fitzgerald and vice-versa. The new Mrs Pearson is very stern with her son, daughter and husband. She makes them realise that evening as to how mean and selfish they all are towards her. She smokes, drinks stout and declares her intention to do no housework on weekends. She humiliates, ridicules and even proceeds to slap George. She makes Doris cry. But in totality, she creates a wholesome effect. She declares herself as the boss, the mistress of her house. Rights have to be snatched. Too much of humility hurts. Her plan to set things right is a little bit harsh but was badly needed here. The true realisation of one’s hurt feelings can bring about any reform.
2. If you were to write about these issues today what are some of the incidents, examples and problems that you would think of as relevant?
Ans. The problems are aplenty in every age and every country. For all his life man struggles against odds and woman suffers endlessly. But apart from domestic problems. there are major problems of corruption, cruelty, war and violence. Terrorists are active in almost every country. At home front, bride burning by dowry seekers is a common practice in India. Children go astray and young men take to crimes for good life and easy money. The condition of today’s working woman is not better. She is still a slave of the wheel. She is being denied her due on one pretext or the other.
3. Is drama a good medium for conveying a social message? Discuss.
Ans. Literature imitates life. Drama is a slice of life itself. It presents episodes from real life with a touch of imagination. And next to films, the stage attracts large crowds. It is proof of the popularity of plays. Every drama deals with social, political or religious problems. It also conveys a message directly or indirectly. It highlights the evils and suggests a solution. It is a different matter, however, that people rarely learn a lesson from the stories of the horrors of war, superstitions and physical torture. Drama through visible action puts forward the pros and cons of a problem. It brings us face to face with the problems and the suggested solutions. It leaves a lasting effect on us. Drama is certainly a good medium for conveying a social message.
4. Read the play out in parts. Enact the play on a suitable occasion.
Ans. A classroom activity.
5. Discuss in groups plays or films with a strong message of social reform.
Ans. A classroom activity.