By- J.B. Priestley
Important Long/ Detailed Answer Type Questions- to be answered in about 100 -150 words each Value-based questions-
1. Narrate the story of the play Mother’s Day in about 100 words.
Ans. The play ‘Mother’s Day’ depicts the status of the woman in a family. She is treated as a domestic slave, taking orders from her husband as well as children. Mrs Pearson and Mrs Fitzgerald are neighbours. They stand in sharp contrast to each other.
Mrs Pearson is a submissive wife and mother. She is unhappy with the treatment she gets from her family. She discusses her problem with her neighbour. Mrs Fitzgerald is bold, liberated and an aggressive woman. She knows the art of casting magic spells as well. She changes her personality with that of Mrs Pearson. Then she stays on in Mrs Pearson’s house to deal with George. Doris and Cyril. She sets them right and makes them see reason. She cuts them to size. They agree to do as Mrs Pearson desires. The two women again become their old normal selves. The play ends on a happy note.
2. Write a note on the theme of the play Mother’s Day. Do you approve of the method adopted by Mrs Fitzgerald? Elucidate.
Ans. The theme of Mother’s Day is the low status of a woman in her family, and how she deserves to be the boss of the house. This issue is common in every country. She is the weaker sex. She is neglected. Her services are neither acknowledged nor paid for. Mrs Fitzgerald, the liberated and strong neighbour of Mrs Pearson, shows the way. She enters her spirit into Mrs Pearson’s body and spends a couple of hours in the neighbour’s house. She deals very harshly with all the family members. George. Cyril and Doris—all of them are shocked and surprised at the changed behaviour of Mrs Pearson. They give in at last to her wishes. Mrs Fitzgerald’s method proves very successful in solving the problem.
3. Give your brief comments on the five main characters in the play Mother’s Day.
Ans. Mother’s Day is a humorous and satirical presentation of a grim little family drama. It discusses the issue of the status of a mother and wife in the family. The play has five characters in all. Mrs Fitzgerald is a strong woman, aggressive and demanding. Her neighbour Mrs Pearson is just her opposite. She is given to serving her husband and children. She makes no demands: she does not dare to displease anybody, but she resents their behaviour inwardly. Her husband George is pompous, selfish and the centre of jokes at the club. Her son Cyril is a young man and her daughter is Doris. Both are working in offices. They come home in the evening, demand tea and ironed clothes so that they can go out again. All the three are self-centred. They neglect Mrs Pearson who is all docile, motherly and submissive.
4. How does Mrs Fitzgerald passing for Mrs Pearson put Mr George, Doris and Cyril in their places?
Ans. Mrs Fitzgerald comes to the rescue of Mrs Pearson. She transfers her spirit into Mrs Pearson’s body and gets ready to show all the three members their places. Her first target is Doris. She comes home demands tea and orders the mother to iron her yellow silk. But she is astonished when her mother goes on smoking and is planning to eat out at a restaurant. She gets such a rough treatment that she is all in tears. The next target is Cyril. He also finds his mother cold and defiant. Both suspect that she has hit her head against something. Mother chides them for whispering and laughing. George, as he enters the room, finds his wife smoking, drinking stout and playing cards. He objects to all that but is told curtly to shut up. He is told how the club members make fun of him behind his back. Thus, they all are made to realise how mean and selfish they have been towards Mrs Pearson.
5. Compare and contrast the characters of Mrs Fitzgerald and Mrs Pearson. Who do you admire and why?
Ans. Mrs Fitzgerald and Mrs Pearson make an interesting study in contrast. Mrs Fitzgerald is strong, aggressive, liberated and domineering. She lives life on her own terms. She smokes, plays cards and drinks stout. She can challenge anybody. She even jumps up to slap George. She runs down Doris’ fiance. She takes Cyril to task for wasting time and money on dog races and ice shows. Mrs Pearson, on the other hand, is weakminded and docile. She does not dare to displease any member of her family. She agrees with the way suggested by Mrs Fitzgerald but she is afraid of hurting the feelings of the members of her family. Mrs Fitzgerald has a domineering personality while Mrs Pearson has pleasing looks and nature and she is rather nervous. We certainly need more women like Mrs Fitzgerald, who can stand up for their rights.
6. How do you look at Mrs Pearson’s genuine problems and Mrs Fitzgerald’s suggestion? Is it practicable, imaginative and realistic?
Ans. The resentment of Mrs Pearson is genuine and realistic. Hers is a miserable life. That is the experience of most of the women. She is sensitive and servile. That is why she is neglected by her family members. The solution suggested by Mrs Fitzgerald is quite effective. But it is not practical as everyone does not have magic skills. Mrs Fitzgerald commands a drastic action. Any woman, who is in Mrs Pearson’s place, would have to deal with the situation in a tactful manner. The matter would have to be resolved by discussing things with each other rather than the dramatic way shown by Mrs Fitzgerald.
7. We talk of women’s liberation movement but it is a grim and sad reality that our women, except some, are slaves of the wheel as they were in the past. What place do women have in Indian society? Discuss.
Ans. India has been and is still a male-dominated society. Boys are definitely preferred to girls. In reality, the man still governs unquestioned. It will not be wrong to say that employed women in general work at home like drudges. In our society a wife depends upon her husband; a daughter remains under her parents; a mother depends on her husband and son. The condition of a widow is worse. A woman finds it difficult to move freely. All social taboos are meant for her.
Some women today are free to choose their career, but the majority of them are still oppressed. Strangely enough women in ancient India enjoyed honour and respect and were true better halves of men. They enjoyed equal rights to men. They were at liberty to get an education and choose their life partners.
Nowadays, due to education, the condition of women is improving. All important services are thrown open to them. We see women occupying high posts. They have excelled men in many fields. In the social, economic and political sphere, they have earned name and fame. Due to education, views and old thinking of the Indian society is changing. Today women have earned a place for themselves in every field and the future of Indian women is brighter still.
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