By- J.B. Priestley
Short Answer Questions
1.What do you think is Mrs Pearson’s grouse or complaint against her husband and children?
Ans. Mrs Pearson’s complaint against her husband and children is that they are so thoughtless and selfish. That they treat her almost like a domestic servant. They come home in the evening and leave soon for their club or outing and enjoy themselves. She takes their orders and runs after them. She has no break, no holiday, no recreation.
2. How do Mrs Pearson and Mrs Fitzgerald come together?
Ans. Mrs Pearson and Mrs Fitzgerald are neighbours. Mrs Fitzgerald is a fortune-teller. She is a bold and domineering woman. The two women often meet. Mrs Pearson shares her problems with her neighbour. Mrs Fitzgerald suggests some radical ways to deal with the family.
3. Bring out the distinctive traits of the two ladies in “Mother’s Day”.
Ans. The two ladies in the play are Mrs Pearson and Mrs Fitzgerald. They are neighbours. They are totally different in their outlook, temperament and habits. Mrs Fitzgerald drinks, smokes and plays cards. She lives life on her own terms. Mrs Pearson is a submissive wife and mother. Although she suffers, she does not have the guts to check or correct her family members. So, she does all the household chores for her family without a word of appreciation from them.
4. How had Mrs Fitzgerald mastered some basics of magic spell?
Ans. Mrs Fitzgerald was a bold, talented and strong woman. She learnt some basics of magic in Asia where her husband was posted for twelve years. She takes Mrs Pearson’s hands and utters some words. The personalities of the two women change bodies.
5. How do Mrs Fitzgerald and Mrs Pearson exchange personalities and what for?
Ans. Mrs Fitzgerald holds Mrs Pearson’s hand. They look at each other. She mutters the spell—arshtatt dum arshtatta lum. Then both the women go lax. They come to life soon but with the personality of the other. They do so in order to teach a lesson to Mrs Pearson’s family.
6. What impression does George leave on you? Does Mrs Fitzgerald’s treatment meted out to him serve the purpose?
Ans. George Pearson is about fifty. He is selfish and pompous. He also neglects his wife. Mrs Fitzgerald cuts him to size. She tells him how the club members call him Pompy-company Pearson at his back. He feels small and cowed down. The treatment does serve the purpose.
7. What sane advice does Mrs Fitzgerald give to her neighbour in the art of managing her family?
Ans. Mrs Fitzgerald’s approach is harsh and unforgiving. She tells Mrs Pearson to stop running after her family all the time and taking their orders. Her family should learn to care for her and value her. She should show them their places and refuse to serve them.
8. It’s more than hints your family needs, Mrs Pearson. Why can’t Mrs Pearson heed and act upon Mrs Fitzgerald’s advice?
Ans. Mrs Pearson does not dare to displease her husband or children. She can’t take a hard step and also does not know how to begin. She agrees with Mrs Fitzgerald’s views but she doesn’t want to annoy them. Her motherly heart does not allow her to be harsh towards her husband and children.
9. Describe the little but a very effective episode of change of the places or personalities at Mrs Pearson’s house.
Ans. Mrs Fitzgerald is a strong and aggressive woman. She has mastered the art of casting a magic spell. She learnt that art in an Asian country. She mutters the spell—three words in all, holds Mrs Pearson’s hands and they change personalities.
10. How does Mrs Fitzgerald remove Mrs Pearson’s apprehensions about the reaction of her family and the issue of changing back?
Ans. Mrs Fitzgerald is sure that her spell will work. But the change of personalities/places would not last long. She offers to deal with the self-centered members of the family with a heavy hand. She assures that changing back is quite easy for her, any time.
11. Describe how Mrs Pearson, with the personality of Mrs Fitzgerald, deal with Doris.
Ans. Doris is the first target of her changed mother. After returning from office, she demands tea and asks her mother whether she has ironed her yellow dress. But the mother refuses point blank to serve her any more. She even makes fun of Doris’s boyfriend, Charlie. Thus, the mother makes her cry. She makes her realise that she is not her servant.
12. How does the changed Mrs Pearson give a rude shock to George?
Ans. George questions his wife why she is drinking stout at that odd hour. He disapproves of it but sets a curt reply from her. She points out how he is the laughing stock at the club, where they called him names behind his back. She even threatens to slap his big, fat, silly face, when he insults Mrs Fitzgerald. He accepts defeat and becomes normal.
13. Describe how the new Mrs Pearson deals with Cyril.
Ans. Cyril is another person whom the changed mother sets right. She tells him to help himself in the kitchen and prepare tea. She declares she would take a holiday on weekends. She points out how he has been wasting much money and time at dog races and ice shows. She calls him a silly, spoilt, young brat.
14. What do Doris and Cyril presume about the changed behaviour of the mother?
Ans. Both Doris and Cyril are taken aback at the sudden change in their mother’s tone and behaviour. They think that she must have hit her head against something, which has made her light-headed. They are shocked to hear that she would enjoy free-of-work weekends for a change.
15. How does Mrs Pearson (acting as Mrs Fitzgerald) silence her neighbour as she comes back to see the little drama?
Ans. Real Mrs Pearson returns to her house to see that everything is all right. But she is shocked to see the painful drama of tears and scolding. When she tries to intervene, Mrs Fitzgerald tells her severely to let her manage her family in her own way. She says she is putting them all in their places and cutting them to size.
16. Why does George react when the neighbour calls him George? What does he complain of?
Ans. George objects strongly when the neighbour addresses him as George. But the new Mrs Pearson sees no reason to feel offended. She tells him that he is not Duke of Edinburgh. Ile further complains that no tea has been served to him, that poor Doris is crying upstairs because her mother has hurt her feelings.
17. When and why does Mrs Fitzgerald (in Mrs Pearson’s body) threaten to slap George?
Ans. George feels offended and insulted. At that moment the next door neighbour Mrs Fitzgerald comes to visit them and addresses him as George. He objects to her presence in the house and insults her. He asks angrily it she (his wife) has gone eccentric. At this, his wife jumps up and threatens to slap his big, in the silly face.
18. What does Mrs Pearson finally ask her family to do?
Ans. When Mrs Fitzgerald has gone. the real Mrs Pearson asks her family to do as she wants them to do. She wants them all to stay at home that evening and perhaps play a game of rummy with her. She asks her son and daughter to get the supper ready. In the meantime, she will have a talk with her husband George. No one dares to challenge her demand.
19. What is Mrs Fitzgerald’s parting advice to Mrs Pearson?
Ans. Mrs Fitzgerald is a liberated woman, bold and empowered woman in the real sense. She warns Mrs Pearson to he tough and demanding for a couple of hours with her family. She forbids her to feel sorry for the drama, and offer no explanation or apology. If she stays firm, they will all change for the better very soon.
20. How is the tense little drama at Mrs Pearson’s house filially resolved?
Ans. The little drama is staged chiefly by Mrs Fitzgerald by interchanging her personality with Mrs Pearson. She takes all the spoilt and self-centred members of the Pearson family to task. After she succeeds in making all the family members realise how mean and selfish they have been towards Mrs Pearson, she changes back their personalities. When they see their mother behaving normally but firmly, they agree at once to play a game of rummy at home and to work in the kitchen. George also is pleased to have a talk with her. The members of the family are to respect Pearson’s sentiments. The play ends on a happy note.