The Browning Version Summary | in English | Easy Language

By | September 9, 2023
The Browning Version Summary

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The Browning Version Summary

This one-act play has only four characters.

Frank: a young teacher of science

Mr Crocker-harris: an elderly, middle-aged teacher

Taplow: a student, 16 years old

Mrs Harris: The wife of Mr Crocker-Harris, in her late thirties

The scene is set in a school. It is the last day of school. Taplow, a 16-year-old boy has come to do extra work for Mr Crocker-Harris. He is still in the lower fifth. He is waiting for his promotion to the next higher form. All depends on the whim of his teacher. Mr Crocker-Harris, who has not yet arrived.
As a rule, the class final results should be announced only by the headmaster on the last day of the term or session. But Taplow complains that the rule is followed strictly only by Mr Crocker-harris. So, he will have to wait until the next day to know his fate. He is greatly afraid of his teacher. He had missed a day the previous week owing to Illness, so now he is there to do the extra work.
The weather is fine. It is ideal for playing golf. But Taplow does not dare to cut his teacher. He did ask him the previous day if he had declared him fit for promotion. He imitates Mr Crocker-Harris’s voice and repeats what he said. He only said that he had given him exactly what he deserved, no less, and certainly no more. Taplow can’t help saying that Mr Crocker-Harris is hardly human. Suddenly, Taplow realises that he has been rude towards his teacher. He suddenly feels sorry for his audacity. He admits that he got carried away.
Taplow is a boy with strong likes and dislikes. He is outspoken too. He plans to take up science. He considers this subject more exciting than the Greek play the Agamemnon. He calls the play hopeless because of a lot of Greek words used in it and also because it wasn’t taught in an interesting manner. He admits candidly that he is bitter. Frank, the science teacher has a grouse that mostly dullards opt for his subject. He encourages Taplow to speak out his mind frankly and fearlessly. Mr Crocker-Harris had promised to reach school by six-thirty. He is ten minutes late already. Frank asks the boy to get away and play golf. But Taplow does not dare to do so. He cannot displease his master although Mr Crocker-Harris never beats any boy. Frank envies him for the effect Mr Crocker-Harris produces on the boys of his class. He wonders why the boys are scared to death of Mr Crocker-Harris.
Taplow has some positive things also to say about his master. Mr Crocker-Harris, he says is not a sadist, not a person who gets pleasure out of giving pain to others. Taplow says that he is better than some other teachers. But he refuses to name them. He tries to please Frank also by excluding him from the list of sadists because he is young and also a science teacher.
But Mr Crocker-Harris is not a pleasant person. Inside, he is all shrivelled up like a nut. He seems to hate people who try to like him. In spite of all the faults, Taplow likes Crocker-Harris. He gives an example. The other day Mr Crocker-Harris related an old, poor joke in the class, inLatin. Nobody understood it and nobody laughed. Only Taplow, out of common politeness, laughed even though he was no better than others. Mr Crocker-Harris said that he was pleased with Taplow’s improvement in the understanding of Latin. He asked the boy to explain the joke to the class so that they, too, might share his pleasure. Poor Taplow was cornered and he could not say anything.
Just as Taplow was relating this incident to Mr Frank, Mrs Millie Crocker-Harris enters the staff room. Millie, a thin woman in her late thirties, is smartly dressed. She carries a shopping basket which she puts on the sideboard. Taplow gets nervous. He fears she must have overheard his comments on her husband. If she complains against him. Crocker-Harris won’t promote him to the next class.
Millie reports that her husband is at the Bursar’s and may come late. She suggests to Taplow to go and enjoy himself at least for fifteen minutes. To dispel Taplow’s fears she tells him to go to the chemist and bring some medicines for her. She promises to take the blame on herself if Crocker-Harris gets angry.

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