Give a Character Sketch of John Hallock, Helen, Jenkins, Lavinia and Gladolia from class 10 Communicative English chapter 4 A Shady Plot

Character Sketch of John Hallock

John Hallock is a simple middle-class person who works as a bookkeeper for a lumber company and somehow pays for the grocery bills and his wife’s shopping habits who seems to enjoy spending money on every new fad or fashion. He also writes some ghost stories to supplement his meager income. Whenever his publisher asks him for a new story, he is able to write one. Usually, he has no idea where the plot will come from; he suddenly gets inspiration and is able to produce a new story. This makes him cocky and overconfident. His encounter with the ghost of Helen is a new and shocking thing as he is told that ghosts inspire him and give him all the ideas for his stories. He is witty, creative, caring and in moral dread of his wife Lavinia.

The Shady Plot Overview – ‘A Shady Plot’ is an amusing story about a writer John Hallock. His supernatural stories about ghosts are quite popular with the public. When he is thinking hard for a plot of a new story, a ghost appears. She tells him that the ghosts were on strike because too many people use Ouija Boards. John’s wife, Lavinia too, buys an Ouija board and arranges an Ouija board party with her friends. A misunderstanding is created when the ghost calls John a traitor through the Ouija board. In the end Lavinia sees Helen, the ghost. Her misunderstanding is cleared and she reconciles with her husband.

 

Related: A Shady Plot Summary, Explanation

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Some Questions on Character Sketch of John Hallock

Q1. How does the writer react when ghost appears before him?
Q2. John writes ghost stories but gets scared on seeing a ghost in his room. Why?

 

Character Sketch of Helen (Ghost)

She is a ghost who helps struggling writers in writing ghost stories. While she was alive, she was a writer too, but failed miserably. Now, along with her fellow ghosts, she founded ‘Writers’ Inspiration Bureau’ which give extended help to those writers who have no ideas. She is angry because the ghosts have to be at the beck and call of the Ouija board fanatics to answer their questions. This does not leave them with any time for their amusement or haunting others. So, she orders John to stop these things in his house.

 

Some Questions on Character Sketch of Helen

Q1. Why does the ghost appear before the writer?
Q2. Why does the ghost want the writer to stop his guests from using the Ouija Board?
Q3. Why do Helen and other ghosts organize the writer’s inspiration bureau?

 

Character Sketch of Jenkins

Jenkins published magazines and he bought the ghost stories written by John. The readers loved the stuff. Whenever Jenkins wanted a ghost, he would call upon John. Whenever John was in need of money for the house rent or the grocery, Jenkins would call up for a new ghost story.

 

Character Sketch of Lavinia

Lavinia is John’s wife and is a domineering person. At the same time, she is interested in fashions and fads. She is a spendthrift as she has an alarming tendency to spend money. Her latest craze is Ouija board. She buys one and calls her friends for an Ouija party. John describes his wife as a very sensitive little lady. Lavinia also gets easily influenced by people. Lavinia suspects that her husband maintains a secret relationship with a girl and she says this with surety as she has seen him talking with her alone. She decides to break her relationship with him. Luckily she comes to know from the ghost itself that it is helping him write a ghost story.

 

Some Questions on Character Sketch of Lavinia

Q1. Describe how Lavinia faced Helen, the ghost?
Q2. What made Lavinia buy a Ouija board?

 

Related: The Shady Plot Important Questions 

 

Character Sketch of Gladolia

Gladiolus was the cook at the house of narrator John Hallock. She was an African woman and was afraid of hoodoos and magical acts involving spirits. So she decided to leave the job after the incident that happened at the Ouija board party. It is Gladolia’s ultimatum that makes Lavinia give up her new fad of using Ouija boards.

 

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