By Vaishnavi Tyagi
CBSE Class 11 English Snapshots Book Chapter 5 Mother’s Day Summary, Explanation with video and Question Answers
Mother’s Day – CBSE Class 11 English Snapshots Book Lesson 5 Mother’s Day Summary and Detailed explanation of the lesson along with meanings of difficult words.
Also, the explanation is followed by a Summary of the Lesson. All the exercises along with Question and Answers are given at the back of the lessons that have been covered. Also, Take Free Online MCQs Test for Class 11
Class 11 English (Snapshots book) Chapter 5 Mother’s Day By J.B. Priestly
|Mother’s day Introduction||Mother’s day Video Explanation|
|Mother’s day Summary||Mother’s day Lesson Explanation|
|Mother’s day Question Answers|
Mother’s Day Introduction
The play written by J.B. Priestly reveals how a mother’s efforts are ignored by her family. It narrates how the family members who work eight hour shifts a day look upon her although she works for the whole day and all week. After all she does for them, they take her for granted. They make her feel obligated to provide for them and do not even appreciate her efforts. It revolves around how her friend Mrs Fitzgerald who is a fortune teller helps her earn the place and respect she deserves as the woman of the house.
Mother’s Day Part 1 Video Explanation
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Mother’s Day Part 2 Video Explanation
Mother’s Day Summary
The play begins with two friends having a candid conversation at Mrs Pearson’s house. Mrs Fitzgerald is telling Mrs Pearson’s fortune and advises her on it. Mrs Pearson goes about telling how her family members don’t value her and don’t appreciate whatever she does for them. She is available for them 24*7 and all they do is come in, throw orders around at her and leave without even saying thank you. Mrs Fitzgerald tells her to take her stand as the woman of the house but Mrs Pearson, being the sweet and innocent lady doesn’t want to bring her family any sort of discomfort. She continues to handle their tantrums because she doesn’t know where to begin when it comes to making them disciplined. Mrs Fitzgerald proposes a plan to switch their bodies so that Mrs Fitzgerald takes her place without her family knowing. Mrs Pearson is hesitant at first but then Mrs Fitzgerald convinces her for it. Mrs Fitzgerald performs her magic that she’d learned from the East and their personalities are changed. Now, Mrs Fitzgerald is actually in Mrs Pearson’s body and vice-versa. Now, new Mrs Pearson tells Mrs Fitzgerald to go to her house for the time being. At this moment in the play, Doris Pearson, daughter of Mrs Pearson enters the scene asking for tea and ordering Mrs Pearson to iron her yellow silk. She gets shocked at the sight of her mother smoking and from there, the argument begins where Mrs Pearson insults Charlie Spence, the guy she is about to go out with. Doris leaves crying and Cyril, her brother enters asking for tea and something to eat. He too, is amazed at having come home to see that there is nothing to eat and no tea to drink. Upon asking if anything is wrong, Mrs Pearson tells him that she had never felt better. Cyril gets annoyed and Doris joins him where they are told that Mrs Pearson might even take the weekend off. Next, George Pearson enters the scene, shocked to see his wife day-drinking. He announces that he has some special match at the club and that he won’t be requiring any tea this afternoon.On being told there is no tea, he gets annoyed again. Mrs Pearson mocks him for getting annoyed at not getting something he didn’t actually want. She tells him about the names they call him at the club. She further taunts him that this would not have happened had he stayed at home once in a while. After a while, Mrs Fitzgerald enters. She interferes in their family matters. George gets annoyed when Mrs Fitzgerald calls him by his name. But just like it had been happening all day, Mrs Pearson barges in to bring George on track. Doris enters the scene and she too, is not very pleasant to Mrs Fitzgerald. Mrs Pearson brings her on track too.
At this point, Mrs Fitzgerald (actually Mrs Pearson) loses her cool and asks the family members to excuse the two friends for a moment. She promises them that she knows how to make the situation better. Mrs Fitzgerald asks Mrs Pearson to switch their bodies and while Mrs Fitzgerald resists at first, but later she agrees to do it. They repeat the process they did in the first place. The real Mrs Fitzgerald now explains Mrs Pearson how important it is for her to be a bit dominating once in a while to establish her control and respect. The family enters and Mrs Pearson suggests that they play rummy and the kids make supper. Everyone instantly agrees and they are a bit relieved too. Mrs Fitzgerald exits and the play ends.
Mother’s Day Part 3 Video Explanation
Mother’s Day Lesson Explanation
The following play is a humorous portrayal of the status of the mother in a family. Let’s read on to see how Mrs Pearson’s family reacts when she tries to stand up for her own rights.
MRS ANNIE PEARSON
The action takes place in the living-room of the Pearsons’ house in a London suburb.
Time: The Present
Scene: The living-room of the Pearson family. Afternoon. It is a comfortably furnished, much lived-in room in a small suburban semi-detached villa. If necessary only one door need be used, but it is better with two — one up left leading to the front door and the stairs and the other in the right wall leading to the kitchen and the back door. There can be a muslin-covered window in the left wall and possibly one in the right wall, too. The fireplace is assumed to be in the fourth wall. There is a settee up right, an armchair down left and one down right. A small table with two chairs on either side of it stands at the centre. When the curtain rises it is an afternoon in early autumn and the stage can be well lit. Mrs Pearson at right, and Mrs Fitzgerald at left, are sitting opposite each other at the small table, on which are two tea-cups and saucers and the cards with which Mrs Fitzgerald has been telling Mrs Pearson’s fortune. Mrs Pearson is a pleasant but worried-looking woman in her forties. Mrs Fitzgerald is older, heavier and a strong and sinister personality. She is smoking. It is very important that these two should have sharply contrasting voices —Mrs Pearson speaking in a light, flurried sort of tone, with a touch of suburban Cockney perhaps; and Mrs Fitzgerald with a deep voice, rather Irish perhaps.
MRS FITZGERALD: [collecting up the cards] And that’s all I can tell you, Mrs Pearson. Could be a good fortune. Could be a bad one. All depends on yourself now. Make up your mind—and there it is.
The story begins with both Mrs Pearson and Mrs Fitzgerald sitting opposite each other at Mrs Pearson’s place. Mrs Fitzgerald is a fortune-teller and she has supposedly seen Mrs Pearson’s fortune, thus, she continues to say that she has told her all that is within her capacity to tell. The same reading can work in a positive way if Mrs Pearson’s actions are in sync with it or it could turn out to be bad too.
MRS PEARSON: Yes, thank you, Mrs Fitzgerald. I’m much obliged, I’m sure. It’s wonderful having a real fortune-teller living next door. Did you learn that out East, too?
Mrs Pearson expresses her gratitude towards Mrs Fitzgerald for having seen her fortune and shares how great it is to have someone like her around. She then asks her if she (Mrs Fitzgerald) has learned the art of fortune-telling from the East?
MRS FITZGERALD: I did. Twelve years I had of it, with my old man rising to be Lieutenant Quartermaster. He learnt a lot, and I learnt a lot more. But will you make up your mind now, Mrs Pearson dear? Put your foot down, once an’ for all, an’ be the mistress of your own house an’ the boss of your own family.
Mrs Fitzgerald answers that she did learn the art from East for at least twelve years. While her father was climbing the ladder to becoming Lieutenant Quartermaster, she was learning this. She then motivates Mrs Pearson to stand for herself and get the respect she deserves at her home.
MRS PEARSON: [smiling apologetically] That’s easier said than done. Besides I’m so fond of them even if they are so thoughtless and selfish. They don’t mean to be…
Thoughtless- (of a person or their behaviour) not showing consideration for the needs of other people
Here Mrs Pearson replies to Mrs Fitzgerald’s advice by telling her it’s far more difficult than it sounds. This is because she loves her family even if they ignore her needs. She loves to provide for them even if they are self-centered.
MRS FITZGERALD: [cutting in] Maybe not. But it’ud be better for them if they learnt to treat you properly…
Mrs Fitzgerald wants Mrs Pearson to realise that it is not that difficult if she really tries. Moreover, she thinks it would add to their well-being as well if they behaved with love and respect with her
MRS PEARSON: Yes, I suppose it would, in a way.
Mrs Pearson agrees with what Mrs Fitzgerald has to say
MRS FITZGERALD: No doubt about it at all. Who’s the better for being spoilt—grown man, lad or girl? Nobody. You think it does ’em good when you run after them all the time, take their orders as if you were the servant in the house, stay at home every night while they go out enjoying themselves? Never in all your life. It’s the ruin of them as well as you. Husbands, sons, daughters should be taking notice of wives an’ mothers, not giving ’em orders an’ treating ’em like dirt. An’ don’t tell me you don’t know what I mean, for I know more than you’ve told me.
Mrs Fitzgerald says they need to learn to treat Mrs Pearson certainly. She further adds that none of them (husband, daughter and son) have turned out positively as a result of being spoiled by Mrs Pearson. She enables her to see how running after them, handling their tantrums, doing all their tasks for them and staying home while they enjoy every night is harmful for Mrs Pearson as well as her family. She explains how it should be the other way round; the family must treat wives and mothers with full respect and be after them instead of throwing orders. Mrs Fitzgerald blatantly tells Mrs Pearson not to act unknown as she is completely aware of the situation.
MRS PEARSON: [dubiously] I—keep dropping a hint…
Dubiously- with hesitation or doubt
Mrs Pearson hesitantly says that she often tries to give her and the family clues in between conversations
MRS FITZGERALD: Hint? It’s more than hints your family needs, Mrs Pearson.
Mrs Fitzegerald is trying to make her understand that it’s high time and Mrs Pearson’s family should respect her now and that would require more than just clues. They need to be brought on track.
MRS PEARSON: [dubiously] I suppose it is. But I do hate any unpleasantness. And it’s so hard to know where to start. I keep making up my mind to have it out with them but somehow I don’t know how to begin. [She glances at her watch or at a clock ] Oh —good gracious! Look at the time. Nothing ready and they’ll be home any minute and probably all in a hurry to go out again.
[As she is about to rise, Mrs Fitzgerald reaches out across the table and pulls her down.]
Mrs Pearson understands what Mrs fitzgerald is trying to say but she can’t stand giving them any discomfort. She wants to clear it out with her family and take her stand but she just doesn’t know how to take the first step. Just as she is saying this, she notices that it’s time for everyone to come back home. Immediately, she gets worried about how nothing is ready for them to come home to and they’ll probably have to rush out again. She tries to get up and make arrangements for her family, Mrs Fitzgerald stops her from doing so.
MRS FITZGERALD: Let ’em wait or look after themselves for once. This is where your foot goes down. Start now. [She lights a cigarette from the one she has just finished.]
Very easily, while lighting another cigarette, she asks Mrs Pearson to begin at the very moment. She tells her to stop providing for them all the time and let them experience what it feels like to do things on their own.
MRS PEARSON: [embarrassed] Mrs Fitzgerald —I know you mean well —in fact, I agree with you—but I just can’t—and it’s no use you trying to make me. If I promise you I’d really have it out with them, I know I wouldn’t be able to keep my promise.
Even though in the hearts of hearts Mrs Pearson knows that Mrs Fitzgerald is right, she tells her that it is almost impossible for her to obey it. She feels that there is no point in giving a promise she won’t be able to keep.
MRS FITZGERALD: Then let me do it.
She asks Mrs Pearson to let her do the hard part and teach Mrs Pearson’s family a lesson.
MRS PEARSON: [flustered] Oh no—thank you very much, Mrs Fitzgerald —but that wouldn’t do at all. It couldn’t possibly be somebody else — they’d resent it at once and wouldn’t listen— and really I couldn’t blame them. I know I ought to do it— but you see how it is? [She looks apologetically across the table, smiling rather miserably.]
Flustered- agitated or confused
Resent- feel bitterness or indignation at a circumstance, action or person
Mrs Pearson tells her that she doesn’t think it’s a good idea. She says so because she knows that they might react to her changed behaviour at first but then would ignore it and resort to their old ways. Also, Mrs Pearson doesn’t blame them for this. She feels stuck because she knows it needs to be done but is unable to do it.
MRS FITZGERALD: [coolly] You haven’t got the idea.
She tells Mrs Pearson that she has no idea how successful the idea can be
MRS PEARSON: [bewildered] Oh —I’m sorry—I thought you asked me to let you do it.
She thought that Mrs Fitzgerald wanted to take her place in the house and be strict with her family.
MRS FITZGERALD: I did. But not as me— as you.
She affirms that she meant the same but she will not be taking her place as herself. She will become Mrs Pearson and then do her part.
MRS PEARSON: But—I don’t understand. You couldn’t be me.
As confused as she can be at the moment, Mrs Pearson asks Mrs Fitzgerald to be a bit more elaborate.
MRS FITZGERALD: [coolly] We change places. Or — really — bodies. You look like me. I look like you.
She proposes that they switch their places or in other words, change bodies wherein Mrs Fitzgerald will look like Mrs Pearson and vice-versa.
MRS PEARSON: But that’s impossible.
A bit more confused and now even surprised, Mrs Pearson expresses that this is something not possible.
MRS FITZGERALD: How do you know? Ever tried it?
Mrs Fitzgerald questions her response by asking Mrs Pearson if she has ever tried it.
MRS PEARSON: No, of course not…
Quite obviously, Mrs Pearson had never attempted it
MRS FITZGERALD: [coolly] I have. Not for some time but it still ought to work. Won’t last long, but long enough for what we want to do. Learnt it out East, of course, where they’re up to all these tricks. [She holds her hand out across the table, keeping the cigarette in her mouth] Gimme your hands, dear.
In a very relaxed tone, Mrs Fitzgerald tells her that she has tried it before and even though it’s been long, the trick should work. It’s effect will remain for a short period but enough for them to fulfill their motive. She further added while holding Mrs Pearson’s hands, that she had acquired the trick from the East.
MRS PEARSON: [dubiously] Well —I don’t know —is it right?
Still confused, Mrs Pearson seeks assurance from Mrs Fitzgerald.
MRS FITZGERALD: It’s your only chance. Give me your hands an’ keep quiet a minute. Just don’t think about anything. [Taking her hands] Now look at me. [They stare at each other. Muttering] Arshtatta dum—arshtatta lam—arshtatta lamdumbona… [This little scene should be acted very carefully. We are to assume that the personalities change bodies. After the spell has been spoken, both women, still grasping hands, go lax, as if the life were out of them. Then both come to life, but with the personality of the other. Each must try to adopt the voice and mannerisms of the other. So now Mrs Pearson is bold and dominating and Mrs Fitzgerald is nervous and fluttering.]
Well, Mrs Fitzgerald makes her aware that she has no other option while holding her hands. She gives Mrs Pearson a few simple instructions in the process of transmission and says a few words in her mouth. Once she has whispered the spell, both of their bodies become lifeless for a moment while they are still holding each other’s hands. As they both come back to life, they try to imitate each other. Mrs Fitzgerald is now a bit shy and Mrs Pearson has become unafraid.
MRS PEARSON: [now with Mrs Fitzgerald’s personality] See what I mean, dear? [She notices the cigarette] Here—you don’t want that. [She snatches it and puts it in her own mouth, puffing contentedly.]
The personalities have now been switched and with this, the transmission process is complete. While snatching away the cigarette from Mrs Fitzgerald’s hand (who is now Mrs Pearson), she is confident about the success of her trick.
[Mrs Fitzgerald, now with Mrs Pearson’s personality, looks down at herself and sees that her body has changed and gives a scream of fright.]
Mrs Fitzgerad (who is now Mrs Pearson) looks at herself and she is shocked to see herself in the body of Mrs Fitzgerald. Thus, she screams with fright.
MRS FITZGERALD: [with Mrs Pearson’s personality] Oh —it’s happened.
Mrs Fitzgerald, still in shock, now believes that it is possible and their bodies have actually changed
MRS PEARSON: [complacently] Of course it’s happened. Very neat. Didn’t know I had it in me.
Complacently- showing smug or uncritical satisfaction with oneself or one’s achievements
Very proudly, Mrs Pearson affirms and thinks to herself that she was unsure if she still had the ability to do the magic
MRS FITZGERALD: [alarmed] But whatever shall I do, Mrs Fitzgerald? George and the children can’t see me like this.
Still unclear about her idea, Mrs Pearson (now in the body of Mrs Fitzgerald) is worried that her family can’t see her in the body of Mrs Fitzgerald
MRS PEARSON: [grimly] They aren’t going to — that’s the point. They’ll have me to deal with —only they won’t know it.
Grimly- bitter, hard manner
She very harshly tells worried Mrs Pearson that her family will face Mrs Fitzgerald who is now in her body. The secret is only theirs and the family will not know anything about it.
MRS FITZGERALD: [still alarmed] But what if we can’t change back? It’ud be terrible.
She is still frightened about the consequences and is worried about not being able to reverse the magic.
MRS PEARSON: Here—steady, Mrs Pearson —if you had to live my life it wouldn’t be so bad. You’d have more fun as me than you’ve had as you.
In an attempt to comfort her, she tells the real Mrs Pearson that she would anyway have more privilege and fun being Mrs Fitzgerald while living her life.
MRS FITZGERALD: Yes—but I don’t want to be anybody else…
Still worried, she tells her that she wants to live as herself only and not like somebody else
MRS PEARSON: Now —stop worrying. It’s easier changing back —I can do it any time we want…
She comforts her by telling her that there is nothing to worry about and that she will reverse it whenever Mrs Pearson wants
MRS FITZGERALD: Well—do it now…
MRS PEARSON: Not likely. I’ve got to deal with your family first. That’s the idea, isn’t it? Didn’t know how to begin with ‘em, you said. Well. I’ll show you.
Mrs Pearson wants to get back in her body while Mrs Fitzgerald is strongly of the opinion that she should deal with the family first. Mrs Pearson didn’t know where to begin from, so Mrs Fitzgerald would do it for her.
MRS FITZGERALD: But what am I going to do?
She asks what she should do in the meantime?
MRS PEARSON: Go into my house for a bit—there’s nobody there— then pop back and see how we’re doing. You ought to enjoy it. Better get off now before one of ’em comes.
She instructs her to go to Mrs Fitzgerald’s house which is vacant for now. She could visit in a while to see the progress but till then, she is supposed to take pleasure in the process. She then tells her to go before someone sees her.
MRS FITZGERALD: [nervously rising] Yes —I suppose that’s best. You’re sure it’ll be all right?
Realising that this is happening, the now Mrs Fitzgerald gets up to leave and confirms once again if all is going to work
MRS PEARSON: [chuckling] It’ll be wonderful. Now off you go, dear. [Mrs Fitzgerald crosses and hurries out through the door right. Left to herself, Mrs Pearson smokes away — lighting another cigarette — and begins laying out the cards for patience on the table. After a few moments Doris Pearson comes bursting in left. She is a pretty girl in her early twenties, who would be pleasant enough if she had not been spoilt.]
Chuckling- laugh quietly or inwardly
Mrs Pearson reassures her and tells her to leave. While Mrs Fitzgerald leaves, Mrs Pearson attempts to make herself comfortable by lighting another cigarette and sorting her cards. After a while Doris Pearson, a girl of about twenty or so enters. She is the daughter of Mrs Pearson and had the potential of turning out well hadn’t she been over pampered.
DORIS: [before she has taken anything in] Mum— you’ll have to iron my yellow silk. I must wear it tonight. [She now sees what is happening, and is astounded.] What are you doing? [She moves down left centre.]
Astounded- shock or greatly surprise
Without noticing, Doris instructs her mom to iron her yellow silk dress as she is supposed to go out that night. As soon as she notices her mom, she is left startled and goes towards her.
[Mrs Pearson now uses her ordinary voice, but her manner is not fluttering and apologetic but cool and incisive.]
MRS PEARSON: [not even looking up] What d’you think I’m doing—whitewashing the ceiling?
Incisive- intelligently analytical and clear thinking
As she is about to speak, she uses her normal calm voice instead of the usual regretful and shaky voice. She looks at her and sarcastically asks her what according to her was she doing. Does it look like she is painting the ceiling?
DORIS: [still astounded] But you’re smoking!
She points out that her mother is smoking. The fact that she is so shocked highlights that Mrs Pearson isn’t usually seen smoking.
MRS PEARSON: That’s right, dear. No law against it, is there?
Again in a very calm manner, Mrs Pearson replies that she saw it right and tells her that apparently, there is no law against smoking.
DORIS: But I thought you didn’t smoke.
She is shocked because she thought Mrs Pearson doesn’t smoke.
MRS PEARSON: Then you thought wrong.
She bluntly replies to Doris that she was wrong.
DORIS: Are we having tea in the kitchen?
Doris asks Mrs Pearson if the tea is ready for her in the kitchen.
MRS PEARSON: Have it where you like, dear.
She tells her that she can have it wherever she wants
DORIS: [angrily] Do you mean it isn’t ready?
Annoyed, she asks if Mrs Pearson is indicating that the tea is not ready.
MRS PEARSON: Yours isn’t. I’ve had all I want. Might go out later and get a square meal at the Clarendon.
Mrs Pearson replies that she has had all the tea she wanted and there is none ready for Doris. She then shares that she might go out for a meal at the Clarendon.
DORIS: [hardly believing her ears] Who might?
A bit more shocked, she asks Mrs Pearson , who would go out for a meal?
MRS PEARSON: I might. Who d’you think?
Mrs Pearson again tells her that she might go out for a meal. She is talking about herself only
DORIS: [staring at her] Mum —what’s the matter with you?
Doris senses that there is something wrong and asks Mrs Pearson what’s gotten into her
MRS PEARSON: Don’t be silly.
DORIS: [indignantly] It’s not me that’s being silly— and I must say it’s a bit much when I’ve been working hard all day and you can’t even bother to get my tea ready. Did you hear what I said about my yellow silk?
Indignantly- in a manner indicating anger or annoyance at something perceived as unfair
Thinking that it’s unfair to her, she exclaims that she is not being foolish. She thinks that it is hard to take that she has been working hard and when she comes home tired, she can not even expect a cup of tea. She then asks Mrs Pearson if she heard the instructions about her yellow silk
MRS PEARSON: No. Don’t you like it now? I never did.
Mrs Pearson refuses to have heard anything about her dress. She asks Doris if she now likes being treated like how they have been treating Mrs Pearson.
DORIS: [indignantly] Of course I like it. And I’m going to wear it tonight. So I want it ironed.
Rudely, she tells Mrs Pearson that she has no problem with it and that she wants her yellow dress ironed so that she can wear it
MRS PEARSON: Want it ironed? What d’you think it’s going to do—iron itself?
Mrs Pearson asks Doris what she means when she says she wants the dress “ironed” because the dress isn’t going to get ironed itself.
DORIS: No, you’re going to iron it for me… You always do.
Doris tells her that she wants Mrs Pearson to do it like she always does.
MRS PEARSON: Well, this time I don’t. And don’t talk rubbish to me about working hard. I’ve a good idea how much you do, Doris Pearson. I put in twice the hours you do, and get no wages nor thanks for it. Why are you going to wear your yellow silk? Where are you going?
Mrs Pearson refuses to iron her dress this time and tells her not to brag about the long hours she works for because Mrs Pearson herself works twice the hours as Doris and has never once complained in her life, nor has she been thanked for it. She doesn’t even get paid. She then asks Doris where she is supposed to go that night.
DORIS: [sulkily] Out with Charlie Spence.
Sulkily- a disagreeable mood
She replies that she is supposed to go out for dinner with Charlie Spence.
MRS PEARSON: Why?
She asks Doris on what occasion is she going out with Charlie
DORIS: [wildly] Why? Why? What’s the matter with you? Why shouldn’t I go out with Charlie Spence if he asks me and I want to? Any objections? Go on —you might as well tell me…
She gets further annoyed and tells her that Charlie has asked her out and she wants to go. She irritably asks Mrs Pearson if she objects to that too, if yes, she might as well spit it out. Doris doesn’t understand what has gotten into her mother as she has been acting weirdly.
MRS PEARSON: [severely] Can’t you find anybody better? I wouldn’t be seen dead with Charlie Spence. Buck teeth and half-witted…
Mrs Pearson asks her very seriously if she could find anyone better than Charlie Spence. She thinks he doesn’t look that nice and is also not very intelligent.
DORIS: He isn’t…
She tries to defend Charlie Spence
MRS PEARSON: When I was your age I’d have found somebody better than Charlie Spence—or given myself up as a bad job.
Mrs Pearson brags that she would have done a better job at finding a good boy, someone who must have been better than Charlie Spence. Had she failed at doing so, she would have given up finding anyone declaring that she is bad at it.
DORIS: [nearly in tears] Oh —shut up!
Almost crying, she asks Mrs Pearson to stop picking at her
[Doris runs out left. Mrs Pearson chuckles and begins putting the cards together. After a moment Cyril Pearson enters left. He is the masculine counterpart of Doris.]
CYRIL: [briskly] Hello—Mum. Tea ready?
Briskly- in an active, quick or energetic way
Cyril, Mrs Pearson’s son asks her if the tea is made as soon as he reaches home.
MRS PEARSON: No.
CYRIL: [moving to the table; annoyed] Why not?
Mrs Pearson tells him that the tea is not ready which annoys him and thus, he moves towards the table asking her the reason behind the tea being not made.
MRS PEARSON: [coolly] I couldn’t bother.
CYRIL: Feeling off-colour or something?
Mrs Pearson tells him in a very relaxed way that she didn’t bother making tea for him. Cyril, out of concern asks if all is good with her.
MRS PEARSON: Never felt better in my life.
Being all chilled out, she conveys that she is feeling her best
CYRIL: [aggressively] What’s the idea then?
On hearing her reply, he turns argumentative and asks her to explain
MRS PEARSON: Just a change.
Mrs Pearson says the tea is not ready just to break the monotony
CYRIL: [briskly] Well, snap out of it, Ma—and get cracking. Haven’t too much time. [Cyril is about to go when Mrs Pearson’s voice checks him.]
Briskly- In an active, quick, or energetic way
He tells her to stop resting and make tea for him in a commanding tone. He tells her that he is in a hurry like usual.
MRS PEARSON: I’ve plenty of time.
As Cyril is about to leave, Mrs Pearson stops him and says that he might be in a hurry but she is all relaxed because she has plenty of time.
CYRIL: Yes, but I haven’t. Got a busy night tonight. [moving left to the door] Did you put my things out?
Cyril, being a spoiled child, replies that he is short of time and it is going to be a long night. He asks Mrs Pearson if all his things are ready.
MRS PEARSON: [coolly] Can’t remember. But I doubt it.
In a very chilled out manner, she says she can’t recall taking them out, probably because she didn’t take them out.
CYRIL: [moving to the table; protesting] Now —look. When I asked you this morning, you promised. You said you’d have to look through ‘em first in case there was any mending.
In an attempt to raise an objection, Cyril moves towards Mrs Pearson and reminds her that she promised him to keep them ready. She even committed to fix them in case they needed any repairs.
MRS PEARSON: Yes — well now I’ve decided I don’t like mending.
Mrs Pearson says that she has now changed her mind because she has realised that she doesn’t like sewing (or fixing)
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CYRIL: That’s a nice way to talk — what would happen if we all talked like that?
He objects to Mrs Pearson’s way of speaking and asks her how she would feel if all of them talked to her like that.
MRS PEARSON: You all do talk like that. If there’s something at home you don’t want to do, you don’t do it. If it’s something at your work, you get the Union to bar it. Now all that’s happened is that I’ve joined the movement.
Mrs Pearson clarifies that they already talk to her in an objectionable tone. They do what they want and leave what they don’t. At home, they have been given this privilege and is the situation in the office where if they do not like something, they get the Union to interfere. She mentions that what has now changed is that she has started acting the same way where she won’t do what she doesn’t want to.
CYRIL: [staggered] I don’t get this, Mum. What’s going on?
Staggered- astonish or deeply shock
Deeply shocked by his mom’s reply, he attempts to know what’s the matter
MRS PEARSON: [laconic and sinister] Changes.
Laconic- using very few words
Sinister- giving the impression that something harmful or evil is happening or will happen
Choosing not to speak a lot, she implies that things are going to change from now on
[Doris enters left. She is in the process of dressing and is now wearing a wrap. She looks pale and red-eyed.]
MRS PEARSON: You look terrible. I wouldn’t wear that face even for Charlie Spence.
Doris appears on the scene with her eyes turned red and her face, white. Mrs Pearson asks her what’s wrong and how would she go with Charlie Spence with this face.
DORIS: [moving above the table; angrily] Oh —shut up about Charlie Spence. And anyhow I’m not ready yet—just dressing. And if I do look terrible, it’s your fault—you made me cry.
All steamed up, Doris tells her mom to hold her tongue about Charlie Spence. She further adds that she is not yet ready and the reason behind her awful look is that she has been crying after talking to Mrs Pearson.
CYRIL: [curious] Why— what did she do?
Cyril interrupts and interrogates as to what did their mother do
DORIS: Never you mind.
Doris tells her brother to stay out of it.
MRS PEARSON: [rising and preparing to move to the kitchen] Have we any stout left? I can’t remember.
Stout- a kind of strong, dark beer brewed with roasted malt or barley
Paying as much less attention as one could, Mrs Pearson gets up to go to the kitchen while asking for stout.
CYRIL: Bottle or two, I think. But you don’t want stout now.
Cyril recalls that there might be one or two bottles of it left but tells her in a weird tone that after all this mess, she doesn’t need stout
MRS PEARSON: [moving left slowly] I do.
She makes it clear that she wants stout at the moment
CYRIL: What for?
Cyril asks her why she needs to have stout.
MRS PEARSON: [turning at the door] To drink —you clot!
Clot- a foolish or clumsy person
Mrs Pearson calls Cyril foolish for asking her such a question
[Mrs Pearson exits right. Instantly Cyril and Doris are in a huddle, close together at left centre, rapidly whispering.]
DORIS: Has she been like that with you, too?
As soon as Mrs Pearson leaves, the siblings get together to discuss the matter behind her back. Doris asks her brother if their mom has been behaving weird with him as well.
CYRIL: Yes—no tea ready—couldn’t care less…
Cyril tells Doris that she has been behaving like that with him too. She didn’t even make tea for him.
DORIS: Well, I’m glad it’s both of us. I thought I’d done something wrong.
Doris is relieved to hear that they both are in the same boat because she feared it is her who had hurt Mrs Pearson in some way.
CYRIL: So did I. But it’s her of course…
Cyril expresses that he thought the same but actually, its Mrs Pearson who has been behaving odd.
DORIS: She was smoking and playing cards when I came in. I couldn’t believe my eyes.
Doris tells Cyril how shocked she was on seeing her mom smoking and playing cards when she came home from work .
CYRIL: I asked her if she was feeling off-colour and she said she wasn’t.
Cyril tell her that he even asked her if she was feeling unwell but she said she had never felt better
DORIS: Well, she’s suddenly all different. An’ that’s what made me cry. It wasn’t what she said but the way she said it— an’ the way she looked.
She is amazed by the difference in her. She tells Cyril that it’s not her words that hurt her, but the look in her eyes that made her cry.
CYRIL: Haven’t noticed that. She looks just the same to me.
He mentions that he hadn’t noticed any change in her appearance.
DORIS: She doesn’t to me. Do you think she could have hit her head or something—y’know — an’ got—what is it?—y’know…
Doris suspects that Mrs Pearson might have hit her head somewhere and got herself hurt
CYRIL: [staggered] Do you mean she’s barmy?
Barmy- mad; crazy
Amazed, he asks Doris if she means that their mother has gone crazy.
DORIS: No, you fathead. Y’know —concussion. She might have.
Fathead- a stupid person
Concussion- a violent shock as from a heavy blow
Doris suggests that she might be in a shock after having hit her head somewhere.
CYRIL: Sounds far-fetched.
Far-fetched- unlikely and unconvincing; implausible
Cyril thinks that Doris is not being reasonable.
DORIS: Well, she’s far-fetched, if you ask me. [She suddenly begins to giggle.]
With a light-hearted laughter, Doris comments that she is finding her mother to be irrational at the moment
CYRIL: Now then —what is it?
Cyril asks her what she means.
DORIS: If she’s going to be like this when Dad comes home… [She giggles again.]
Doris indicates what’s going to happen when their father sees Mrs Pearson behave this way
CYRIL: [beginning to guffaw] I’m staying in for that-two front dress circles for the first house…
Guffaw- a loud and hearty laugh
Cyril makes fun of what is going to happen in that case and jokes about it while saying that he is even willing to stay at home for seeing that.
[Mrs Pearson enters right, carrying a bottle of stout and a half-filled glass. Cyril and Doris try to stop their guffawing and giggling, but they are not quick enough. Mrs Pearson regards them with contempt.]
MRS PEARSON [coldly] You two are always talking about being grown-up —why don’t you both try for once to be your age? [She moves to the settee and sits.]
Contempt- the feeling that a person or a thing is worthless or beneath consideration
Settee- long upholstered seat for more than one person, typically with a back and arms
While the siblings were talking, Mrs Pearson enters the room with stout. They failed at controlling their laughter and Mrs Pearson ridicules them. While moving towards a settee, she talks about how both of them regard themselves as mature and asks them to behave and be responsible like people of their age.
CYRIL: Can’t we laugh now?
Cyril asks Mrs Pearson if she now has an objection to their laughing.
MRS PEARSON Yes, if it’s funny. Go on, tell me. Make me laugh. I could do with it.
She replies that she has no problem with them laughing at something which is funny. She asks them to make her laugh as well by telling her what they were talking about
DORIS: Y’know you never understand our jokes, Mum…
Doris undermines Mrs Pearson’s ability to understand their jokes
MRS PEARSON: I was yawning at your jokes before you were born, Doris.
Mrs Pearson replies in an equally mean tone indicating how boring their jokes usually are
DORIS: [almost tearful again] What’s making you talk like this? What have we done?
Doris, who is not used to Mrs Pearson talking to them in such a manner, asks her the reason behind her behaviour. She is just about to cry once again and asks what have they done to deserve this.
MRS PEARSON: [promptly] Nothing but come in, ask for something, go out again, then come back when there’s nowhere else to go.
She mentions that they haven’t done much except barging in whenever they want and going out as per their convenience. In between, all they do is make her work all the time and when they have no other place to go, they come back home.
CYRIL: [aggressively] Look —if you won’t get tea ready, then I’ll find something to eat myself…
Cyril gets angry and hyper while telling Mrs Pearson that if she doesn’t get the tea ready, he will find something to eat by himself
MRS PEARSON: Why not? Help yourself. [She takes a sip of stout.]
Mrs Pearson asks him to go ahead and find something for himself to eat while sipping stout.
CYRIL: [turning on his way to the kitchen] Mind you, I think it’s a bit thick. I’ve been working all day.
While going to the kitchen, he attempts to make Mrs Pearson feel obligated to prepare for him as he had been working all day.
DORIS: Same here.
Doris agrees with Cyril.
MRS PEARSON: (calmly) Eight hour day!
Mrs Pearson (actually Mrs Fitzgerald) did not lose her cool and tells them that they work only an eight hour shift a day.
CYRIL: Yes— eight hour day —an’ don’t forget it.
Cyril exaggerates upon his eight hour shift.
MRS PEARSON: I’ve done my eight hours.
She lets them know that she has also completed her eight hour shift of doing their work and handling their tantrums.
CYRIL: That’s different.
DORIS: Of course it is.
They both argue that Mrs Pearson’s eight hour work is nowhere compared to theirs.
MRS PEARSON: [calmly] It was. Now it isn’t. Forty-hour week for all now. Just watch it at the weekend when I have my two days off. [Doris and Cyril exchange alarmed glances. Then they stare at Mrs Pearson who returns their look calmly.]
Without losing her cool, she warns them that everything is going to change from now. She will only work for forty hours a week just like all of them and tells them to wait and watch when she takes her weekend off. Doris and Cyril gets shocked while Mrs Pearson maintains her calm look.
CYRIL: Must grab something to eat. Looks as if I’ll need to keep my strength up. [Cyril exits to the kitchen.]
Cyril exits to find something to eat in the kitchen. He feels it’s necessary as he would require the strength to face all of this.
DORIS: [moving to the settee; anxiously] Mummy, you don’t mean you’re not going to do anything on Saturday and Sunday?
Doris, still amazed at what Mrs Pearson said before, confirms if she was joking about it or not.
MRS PEARSON: [airily] No, I wouldn’t go that far. I might make a bed or two and do a bit of cooking as a favour. Which means, of course, I’ll have to be asked very nicely and thanked for everything and generally made a fuss of. But any of you forty-hour-a-weekers who expect to be waited on hand and foot on Saturday and Sunday, with no thanks for it, are in for a nasty disappointment. Might go off for the week-end perhaps.
Nasty- very bad or unpleasant
She explains that she might do a few petty tasks if she is pleasantly asked to do so and is duly thanked for performing them as well. She warns her that if any of her family members who work for only 8 hours a day and keep blabbering about it expect her to perform all their tasks, then they are going to be let down this time. She even mentions that she could go for a vacation as well.
DORIS: [aghast] Go off for the week-end?
Aghast- filled with horror or shock
More shocked, she couldn’t believe when Mrs Pearson said that she might go on a vacation this weekend
MRS PEARSON: Why not? I could do with a change. Stuck here day after day, week after week. If I don’t need a change, who does?
Mrs Pearson replies that she out of all, deserves to take a break as she works day and night continuously.
DORIS: But where would you go, who would you go with?
Doris is confused as to where she would go and with whom.
MRS PEARSON: That’s my business. You don’t ask me where you should go and who you should go with, do you?
Mrs Pearson expresses that Doris has no business asking her all this because she never asks Doris the same stuff.
DORIS: That’s different.
Doris tells her that what she does is not the same.
MRS PEARSON: The only difference is that I’m a lot older and better able to look after myself, so it’s you who should do the asking.
Mrs Pearson clarifies that she is older than Doris and is in a better position to take care of herself, so it would make sense if Doris would take permission from Mrs Pearson and not the other way round.
DORIS: Did you fall or hit yourself with something?
Doris finally asks Mrs Pearson if she hit herself and got a concussion or something.
MRS PEARSON: [coldly] No. But I’ll hit you with something, girl, if you don’t stop asking silly questions.
Bluntly, she replies that she is completely fine but if Doris doesn’t stop talking, then she might hit her with something for sure.
[Doris stares at her open-mouthed, ready to cry.]
DORIS: Oh —this is awful… [She begins to cry, not passionately.]
Almost about to cry, she expresses how disheartening it is to go through all this and while she says it, she bursts into tears.
MRS PEARSON: [coldly] Stop blubbering. You’re not a baby. If you’re old enough to go out with Charlie Spence, you’re old enough to behave properly. Now stop it.
Mrs Pearson asks Doris to stop acting like a child. She bluntly says that if she considers herself mature enough to go out with Charlie Spence, she should act properly at home as well.
[George Pearson enters left. He is about fifty, fundamentally decent but solemn, self-important, pompous. Preferably he should be a heavy, slow-moving type. He notices Doris’s tears.]
GEORGE: Hello—what’s this? Can’t be anything to cry about.
Solemn- formal and dignified; characterized by deep sincerity
Pompous- affectedly grand, solemn, or self-important
As they are talking, George Pearson, Mrs Pearson’s husband enters. He is a man in his fifties who is characterized by deep sincerity but is self-assertive. As one can infer, he must be a healthy man who moves at a slow pace. As he enters, he notices that Doris is crying. He asks her what’s the matter and is sure the matter won’t be worthy of crying.
DORIS: [through sobs] You’ll see. [Doris runs out left with a sob or two on the way. George stares after her a moment, then looks at Mrs Pearson.]
Doris tells her father to wait and observe while she is crying and runs out of the scene.
GEORGE: Did she say ‘You’ll see’…?
George Pearson is left amazed at how she ran and what she said.
MRS PEARSON: Yes.
Mrs Pearson replies to George’s rhetorical question.
GEORGE: What did she mean?
He is still confused about what is going on
MRS PEARSON: Better ask her.
Mrs Pearson advises him to ask Doris what she meant.
[George looks slowly again at the door then at Mrs Pearson. Then he notices the stout that Mrs Pearson raises for another sip. His eyes almost bulge.]
As Mrs Pearson raised her glass to sip her stout, George gets even more shocked.
MRS PEARSON: Yes.
Mrs Pearson lets him know that he saw right.
GEORGE: [amazed] What are you drinking stout for?
Still amazed, he asks the reason behind her drinking.
MRS PEARSON: Because I fancied some.
Still maintaining her calm, she simply replies by saying that she is drinking it because she wanted to.
GEORGE: At this time of day?
He is shocked at the sight of Mrs Pearson drinking and that too during the day.
MRS PEARSON: Yes—what’s wrong with it at this time of day?
She counter-questions and asks what is the problem with drinking at this time of the day.
GEORGE: [bewildered] Nothing, I suppose, Annie — but I’ve never seen you do it before…
Bewildered- perplexed and confused; very puzzled
He explains that he is so shocked because Mrs Pearson had never been seen day drinking
MRS PEARSON: Well, you’re seeing me now.
She tells him that there is nothing to be shocked about. If he hadn’t seen her do it till date, he is seeing her do it now.
GEORGE: [with heavy distaste] Yes, an’ I don’t like it. It doesn’t look right. I’m surprised at you.
In contempt, he tells Mrs Pearson that he didn’t like the idea of her drinking at this hour. It blew his mind at once.
MRS PEARSON: Well, that ought to be a nice change for you.
Responding to his reaction, she says that it could be a nice change for him.
GEORGE: What do you mean?
He did not understand what she was trying to say.
MRS PEARSON: It must be some time since you were surprised at me, George.
She explains that it’s been a long time since she amazed him.
GEORGE: I don’t like surprises—I’m all for a steady going on —you ought to know that by this time. By the way, I forgot to tell you this morning I wouldn’t want any tea. Special snooker match night at the club tonight— an’ a bit of supper going. So no tea.
Snooker- a game played with cues on a billiard table in which the players use a cue ball (white) to pocket the other balls (fifteen red and six coloured) in a set order
He tells her how he doesn’t appreciate change or surprises and this is something Mrs Pearson should know by now. He then changes the topic by telling Mrs Pearson that he forgot to tell her about the Special snooker match and the supper. Also, he won’t be needing any tea that afternoon.
MRS PEARSON: That’s all right. There isn’t any.
She tells him that there isn’t any tea made, so it’s fine even if he forgot to convey.
GEORGE: [astonished] You mean you didn’t get any ready?
Shocked at her reply, he asks Mrs Pearson what she just told him.
MRS PEARSON: Yes. And a good thing, too, as it’s turned out.
Mrs Pearson replies and says that it has turned out to be well because he didn’t need any tea.
GEORGE: [aggrieved] That’s all very well, but suppose I’d wanted some?
He asks Mrs Pearson what if he wanted some.
MRS PEARSON: My goodness! Listen to the man! Annoyed because I don’t get a tea for him that he doesn’t even want. Ever tried that at the club?
Mrs Pearson expresses her bafflement at the fact that George Pearson is angry that the tea he didn’t want is not made. She suggests that he should try this behaviour at the club some time.
GEORGE: Tried what at the club?
He is not sure as to what Mrs Pearson is telling him to try at the club.
MRS PEARSON: Going up to the bar and telling ’em you don’t want a glass of beer but you’re annoyed because they haven’t already poured it out. Try that on them and see what you get.
She explains the tea situation in context of the club where he goes to the bar to tell them that he doesn’t want a beer and then he gets mad at them because they hadn’t already poured some for him. She suggests that he try and see their reaction.
GEORGE: I don’t know what you’re talking about.
He pretends to not have understood what Mrs Pearson just said.
MRS PEARSON: They’d laugh at you even more than they do now.
Mrs Pearson says that the people at the club would make fun of him, even more than they did.
GEORGE: [indignantly] Laugh at me? They don’t laugh at me.
Indignantly- in a manner indicating anger or annoyance at something perceived as unfair.
He gets irritated when Mrs Pearson says that and tells her that they don’t make fun of him.
MRS PEARSON: Of course they do. You ought to have found that out by this time. Anybody else would have done. You’re one of their standing jokes. Famous. They call you Pompy-ompy Pearson because they think you’re so slow and pompous.
Pompous- self-important or overbearing
Mrs Pearson tells him that he should have known this by now. If there would have been someone else in his place, they would have known by now. She also tells him that he is famously made fun about at the club and they call him “Pompy-ompy Pearson” because they think he is self-absorbed and overbearing.
GEORGE: [horrified] Never!
George is horrified at her words and denies it.
MRS PEARSON: It’s always beaten me why you should want to spend so much time at a place where they’re always laughing at you behind your back and calling you names. Leaving your wife at home, night after night. Instead of going out with her, who doesn’t make you look a fool…
Mrs Pearson expresses how hurtful it has been for her seeing her husband leaving her and wanting to go to a place where people make fun of him behind his back. She further adds that he does it every night instead of going out with Mrs Pearson who doesn’t at least make him look like a fool.
[Cyril enters right, with a glass of milk in one hand and a thick slice of cake in the other. George, almost dazed, turns to him appealingly.]
Cyril enters tha room holding a glass of milk in one hand and a slice of cake in the other. George is confused and turns to look at Cyril, seeking his help.
GEORGE: Here, Cyril, you’ve been with me to the club once or twice. They don’t laugh at me and call me Pompy-ompy Pearson, do they? [Cyril, embarrassed, hesitates.] [Angrily] Go on —tell me. Do they?
He asks Cyril angrily if he knew this had been going on in the club, leaving Cyril embarrassed and unwilling.
CYRIL: [embarrassed] Well —yes, Dad, I’m afraid they do. [George slowly looks from one to the other, staggered.]
Staggered- astonish or deeply shock
Though uneasily, he told George that they indeed call him names.
GEORGE: [slowly] Well —I’ll be—damned! [George exits left, slowly, almost as if somebody had hit him over the head. Cyril, after watching him go, turns indignantly to Mrs Pearson.]
George curses himself slowly, that if they call him names at the club then he may go to hell. He leaves the scene in shock and despair, as if he has been hit on the head. Cyril sees him go and then turns to talk to Mrs Pearson.
CYRIL: Now you shouldn’t have told him that, Mum. That’s not fair. You’ve hurt his feelings. Mine, too.
Cyril puts forward his point of view and says it was not nice of Mrs Pearson to have done that to his father. She not only hurt his feelings but also Cyril’s.
MRS PEARSON: Sometimes it does people good to have their feelings hurt. The truth oughtn’t to hurt anybody for long. If your father didn’t go to the club so often, perhaps they’d stop laughing at him.
She then imparts some words of wisdom by telling him that truth only hurts for a short while and it is fine to get one’s feelings hurt at times. She further mentions that this would not have happened if his father didn’t go to the club every other day.
CYRIL: [gloomily] I doubt it.
He doesn’t believe in whatever Mrs Pearson has to say at the moment.
MRS PEARSON: [severely] Possibly you do, but what I doubt is whether your opinion’s worth having. What do you know? Nothing. You spend too much time and good money at greyhound races and dirt tracks and ice shows…
Mrs Pearson makes it clear that she didn’t invite Cyril’s opinion on the matter. She mentions that he also doesn’t have enough knowledge to talk about these things because all he knows is spending time and money on greyhound races and ice shows.
CYRIL: [sulkily] Well, what if I do? I’ve got to enjoy myself somehow, haven’t I?
Sulkily- showing a disagreeable mood
He mentions that he doesn’t find any problem in doing so if it brings him joy.
MRS PEARSON: I wouldn’t mind so much if you were really enjoying yourself. But are you? And where’s it getting you? [There is a sharp hurried knocking heard off left.]
Mrs Pearson lets him know that she has no problem with him doing all those things if they are really bringing him joy. She asks him if he is actually getting the enjoyment he claims to have achieved and in addition, it is taking him nowhere good. Suddenly, someone knocks on the door.
CYRIL: Might be for me. I’ll see. [Cyril hurries out left. In a moment he re-enters, closing the door behind him.] It’s that silly old bag from next door —Mrs Fitzgerald. You don’t want her here, do you?
Thinking that someone must have visited him, Cyril goes to check the door and comes back after a while only to tell Mrs Pearson that Mrs Fitzgerald has come to see her. He doesn’t regard her very respectfully and asks Mrs Pearson if she really wants to see her.
MRS PEARSON: [sharply] Certainly I do. Ask her in. And don’t call her a silly old bag either. She’s a very nice woman, with a lot more sense than you’ll ever have. [Cyril exits left. Mrs Pearson finishes her stout, smacking her lips. Cyril re-enters left, ushering in Mrs Fitzgerald, who hesitates in the doorway.] Come in, come in, Mrs Fitzgerald.
Ushering- showing or guide someone somewhere
Very clearly, she replies that she indeed wants to see Mrs Fitzgerald and also tells him to treat her with respect as she is a delightful woman who talks more sense than him. While Cyril guides Mrs Fitzgerald to Mrs Pearson, Mrs Pearson finishes her stout and greets her when she finally sees her.
MRS FITZGERALD: [moving to left centre; anxiously] I — just wondered —if everything’s— all right…
Hesitating, she enters and asks if all is going well.
CYRIL: [sulkily] No, it isn’t.
Cyril instantly disagrees.
MRS PEARSON: [sharply] Of course it is. You be quiet.
Mrs Pearson in an attempt to cover the situation, tells Mrs Fitzgerald (who is actually Mrs Pearson) that everything is alright and instructs Cyril not to speak.
CYRIL: [indignantly and loudly] Why should I be quiet?
Indignantly- in a manner indicating anger or annoyance at something perceived as unfair
Considering Mrs Pearson is being unfair, he bursts out and asks her why shall he not speak.
MRS PEARSON: [shouting] Because I tell you to—you silly, spoilt, young piecan.
Piecan- referring a foolish person
Mrs Pearson shouts at Cyril and tells him to obey what she asked him to.
MRS FITZGERALD: [protesting nervously] Oh —no— surely…
Mrs Fitzgerald tries to interrupt
MRS PEARSON: [severely] Now, Mrs Fitzgerald, just let me manage my family in my own way —please!
Mrs Pearson instantly replies and tells Mrs Fitzgerald to stay out of her personal and family matter
MRS FITZGERALD: Yes—but Cyril…
She tries to mention Cyril and is again interrupted, but this time by Cyril.
CYRIL: [sulky and glowering] Mr Cyril Pearson to you, please, Mrs Fitzgerald. [Cyril stalks off into the kitchen.]
Glowering- have an angry look on one’s face
MRS FITZGERALD: [moving to the settee; whispering] Oh — dear —what’s happening?
Mrs Fitzgerald gets worried and moves to the settee to sit. She then expresses her worries.
MRS PEARSON: [calmly] Nothing much. Just putting ‘em in their places, that’s all. Doing what you ought to have done long since.
Mrs Pearson replies that what she has been doing was long due. She is just getting them to behave nicely.
MRS FITZGERALD: Is George home? [She sits beside Mrs Pearson on the settee.]
Moving closer to Mrs Pearson, Mrs Fitzgerald asks her if George is home.
MRS PEARSON: Yes. I’ve been telling him what they think of him at the club.
Mrs Pearson replies yes and tells her how she told him what they said about him at the club.
MRS FITZGERALD: Well, they think a lot of him, don’t they?
Mrs Fitzgerald, unknowing of the truth and being naturally innocent as she is, thinks they thought highly of him.
MRS PEARSON: No, they don’t. And now he knows it.
Mrs Pearson replies that Mrs Fitzgerald thinks wrong and now George also knows the truth.
MRS FITZGERALD: [nervously] Oh —dear —I wish you hadn’t, Mrs Fitzgerald…
Mrs Fitzgerald being a nice person she is did not want George’s feelings hurt and adds that she wish Mrs Pearson hadn’t done this
MRS PEARSON: Nonsense! Doing ’em all a world of good. And they’ll be eating out of your hand soon— you’ll see…
Eating out of your hand- be submissive
Mrs Pearson tells her that she has done her good and that it’s consequences would soon be visible. Everyone will start respecting and obeying her.
MRS FITZGERALD: I don’t think I want them eating out of my hand…
Mrs Fitzgerald tells Mrs Pearson that she doesn’t want to be manipulative or dominating and them to be submissive.
MRS PEARSON: [impatiently] Well, whatever you want, they’ll be doing it — all three of ’em. Mark my words, Mrs Pearson.
A bit annoyed, she answers that this is happening regardless of whether she wants it to happen or not.
[George enters left glumly. He is unpleasantly surprised when he sees the visitor. He moves to the armchair left, sits down heavily and glumly lights his pipe. Then he looks from Mrs Pearson to Mrs Fitzgerald, who is regarding him anxiously.]
George enters the room with a sad face. He is not happy to see Mrs Fitzgerald. He sits on the armchair, sits on it and lights his pipe to smoke. He looks at the two women, Mrs Fitzgerald is looking at him curiously.
GEORGE: Just looked in for a minute, I suppose, Mrs Fitzgerald?
Glumly- moody or unsociable attitude
George enters the scene in not a very pleasant mood. He is also a bit shocked at the sight of Mrs Fitzgerald in his house. While lighting his pipe, he notices Mrs Fitzgerald who is awkwardly regarding him. A bit confused, he asks if she is Mrs Fitzgerald.
MRS FITZGERALD: [who doesn’t know what she is saying] Well —yes—I suppose so, George.
Mrs Fitzgerald, not very sure of what she should say, replies awkwardly while greeting him by his name.
GEORGE: [aghast] George!
He gets shocked at hearing Mrs Fitzgerald calling him by his name.
MRS FITZGERALD: [nervously] Oh —I’m sorry…
She gets nervous and apologises for addressing him by his name.
MRS PEARSON: [impatiently] What does it matter? Your name’s George, isn’t it? Who d’you think you are— Duke of Edinburgh?
Mrs Pearson instantly interferes and tells George that it’s no big deal even if she called him by his name. He is not some Duke of Edinburgh who is not supposed to be called by his name and someone who deserves that honour.
GEORGE: [angrily] What’s he got to do with it? Just tell me that. And isn’t it bad enough without her calling me George? No tea. Pompy-ompy Pearson. And poor Doris has been crying her eyes out upstairs—yes, crying her eyes out.
George loses her temper and points out that bringing the Duke of Edinburgh in between this conversation makes no sense. He further adds that Mrs Fitzgerald calling him by his name doesn’t matter because the already prevailing situation is much worse. There is no tea ready and he is being called names at the club. Not to forget poor Doris who is crying endlessly.
MRS FITZGERALD: [wailing] Oh— dear — I ought to have known…
Mrs Fitzgerald (actually Mrs Pearson) immediately interrupts and shows concern for Mrs Pearson’s family. On seeing her family at unease, the real Mrs Pearson forgot that she is in the body of Mrs Fitzgerald. Hence, she speaks up.
GEORGE: [staring at her, annoyed] You ought to have known! Why ought you to have known? Nothing to do with you, Mrs Fitzgerald. Look —we’re at sixes and sevens here just now —so perhaps you’ll excuse us…
At sixes and sevens- in a state of total confusion and disarray
George is now annoyed at Mrs Fitzgerald for being so concerned and acting as if it’s her own family matter. He feels she is interfering in his family matters. He tells her to let them solve their issues on their own by leaving their house.
MRS PEARSON: [before Mrs Fitzgerald can reply] I won’t excuse you, George Pearson. Next time a friend and neighbour comes to see me, just say something when you see her—Good evening or How d’you do? or something— an’ don’t just march in an’ sit down without a word. It’s bad manners…
Mrs Pearson immediately interferes and scolds George for being so rude and disrespectful. She tells him to be a bit polite next time an acquaintance of her visits her instead of just barging in the room and sitting without greeting them.
MRS FITZGERALD: [nervously] No—it’s all right…
Mrs Fitzgerald is all awkward in this situation and tells Mrs Pearson that she has no problem with George’s behaviour.
MRS PEARSON: No, it isn’t all right. We’ll have some decent manners in this house—or I’ll know the reason why. [glaring at George] Well?
Mrs Pearson declares that this is not how things are going to work in her house and her family will have to act disciplined and respectful.
GEORGE: [intimidated] Well, what!
George is scared and acts as if he did not understand. He asks her to repeat what she said.
MRS PEARSON: [taunting him] Why don’t you get off to your club? Special night tonight, isn’t it? They’ll be waiting for you— wanting to have a good laugh. Go on then. Don’t disappoint ’em.
Mrs Pearson replies in a taunting way and asks George to go to the club for that special night. She tells him that he should hurry for his friends would be waiting for him. He must not disappoint them.
GEORGE: [bitterly] That’s right. Make me look silly in front of her now! Go on —don’t mind me. Sixes and sevens! Poor Doris been crying her eyes out! Getting the neighbours in to see the fun! [suddenly losing his temper, glaring at Mrs Pearson, and shouting] All right— let her hear it. What’s the matter with you? Have you gone barmy—or what?
Barmy- mad; crazy
George tells Mrs Pearson that that is right. He asks her to proceed and not mind his presence while laughing at him in front of the neighbours. In the process, he loses his cool and starts shouting about Doris crying. Then he asks her what was wrong with her, if she had gone crazy.
MRS PEARSON: [jumping up; savagely] If you shout at me again like that, George Pearson, I’ll slap your big, fat, silly face…
Mrs Pearson springs up and reacts immediately. She warns him that if he ever uses this tone and such voice with her, she will slap his big, fat face.
MRS FITZGERALD: [moaning] Oh —no—no—no—please, Mrs Fitzgerald… [Mrs Pearson sits.]
Mrs Fitzgerald tries to calm down Mrs Pearson and in the process, she accidentally calls her ‘Mrs Fitzgerald’. Mrs Pearson finally sits.
GEORGE: [staring at her, bewildered] Either I’m off my chump or you two are. How d’you mean — “No, no— please, Mrs Fitzgerald”? Look — you’re Mrs Fitzgerald. So why are you telling yourself to stop when you’re not doing anything? Tell her to stop —then there’d be some sense in it. [Staring at Mrs Pearson] I think you must be tiddly.
Tiddly- slightly drunk
George is startled by this and says that is it him who is not in his senses or Mrs Fitzgerald and Mrs Pearson because these two have been acting very weirdly. He doesn’t understand why she called her Mrs Fitzgerald i.e, by her own name. Mistakes like that aren’t very usual. He finds it odd that she is telling herself to stop doing something she is not doing in the first place. He is of the opinion that it would make more sense if she’d stop Mrs Pearson.
MRS PEARSON: [starting up; savagely] Say that again, George Pearson.
Mrs Pearson gets heated up again and challenges George to repeat his words.
GEORGE: [intimidated] All right— all right—all right …
George is intimidated and accepts.
[Doris enters left slowly, looking miserable. She is still wearing the wrap. Mrs Pearson sits on the settee.]
Doris enters slowly from the left side. She looks sad. She is wearing the wrap. Mrs. Pearson is sitting on the settee.
MRS FITZGERALD: Hello— Doris dear!
As Doris enters with her pale face, looking words than before, Mrs Fitzgerald greets her politely.
DORIS: [miserably] Hello— Mrs Fitzgerald!
Though in a terrible state of mind, she greets her back.
MRS FITZGERALD: I thought you were going out with Charlie Spence tonight.
Mrs Fitzgerald again forgetting who she actually is now, she asks Doris about her plan with Charlie Spence.
DORIS: [annoyed] What’s that to do with you?
Doris, who is already annoyed, replies in an irritated tone and asks Mrs Fitzgerald why she is so bothered about her plans.
MRS PEARSON: [sharply] Stop that!
Mrs Pearson, in a bid to continue what she has been doing all day, interrupts and stops Doris from behaving that way.
MRS FITZGERALD: [nervously] No—its all right…
Mrs Fitzgerald again tells her that Doris’ behaviour is fine.
MRS PEARSON: [severely] It isn’t all right. I won’t have a daughter of mine talking to anybody like that. Now answer Mrs Fitzgerald properly, Doris— or go upstairs again… [Doris looks wonderingly at her father.]
Mrs Pearson tells Mrs Fitzgerald that Doris’ behaviour is something she is not going to tolerate in her house and instructs her to reply to Mrs Fitzgerald properly. Doris is shocked at her response and looks at her father, astonished.
GEORGE: [in despair] Don’t look at me. I give it up. I just give it up.
George, having lost all hope about Mrs Pearson, tells Doris that even he cannot make the situation better. He has given up handling it and feels it has run out of his control.
MRS PEARSON: [fiercely] Well? Answer her.
Mrs Pearson, stern on her stand, orders Doris to answer Mrs Fitzgerald properly.
DORIS: [sulkily] I was going out with Charlie Spence tonight— but now I’ve called it off…
Doris gives in and replies to Mrs Fitzgerald and tells her that she had cancelled the plans she had for the night with Charlie Spence.
MRS FITZGERALD: Oh —what a pity, dear! Why have you?
Mrs Fitzgerald gets concerned and asks her the reason for cancelling it.
DORIS: [with a flash of temper] Because —if you must know —my mother’s been going on at me making me feel miserable —an’ saying he’s got buck-teeth and is half-witted…
Doris, getting angry again, begins telling Mrs Fitzgerald how her mother, Mrs Pearson had been behaving all day. She says that Mrs Pearson had been finding ways to make her feel bad about Charlie, commenting about his appearance and intelligence.
MRS FITZGERALD: [rather bolder; to Mrs Pearson] Oh — you shouldn’t have said that…
Mrs Fitzgerald now turns a bit bold when she decides to take a stand against Mrs Pearson.
MRS PEARSON: [sharply] Mrs Fitzgerald, I’ll manage my family—you manage yours.
Mrs Pearson bluntly tells Mrs Fitzgerald to stay out of her family’s matter and manage her own.
GEORGE: [grimly] Ticking her off now, are you, Annie?
George barges in and asks Mrs Pearson if she is going to behave this way with Mrs Fitzgerald as well.
MRS PEARSON: [even more grimly] They’re waiting for you at the club, George, don’t forget. And don’t you start crying again, Doris…
Mrs Pearson immediately replies to George and tells him that his friends must be waiting for him at the club. She warns Doris not to cry again.
MRS FITZGERALD: [getting up; with sudden decision] That’s enough —quite enough. [George and Doris stare at her bewildered.]
[to George and Doris] Now listen, you two. I want to have a private little talk with Mrs Fitz —[she corrects herself hastily] with Mrs Pearson, so I’ll be obliged if you’ll leave us alone for a few minutes. I’ll let you know when we’ve finished. Go on, please. I promise you that you won’t regret it. There’s something here that only I can deal with.
Mrs Fitzgerald finally decides to take a stand and tells George and Doris to leave both of them alone so that they can talk in private and in the process she was again about to call her wrongly, but somehow handles the situation. She gives them assurance that she is the only one who can handle the situation so it would be of their benefit only if they’d give both some time alone.
GEORGE: [rising] I’m glad somebody can—’cos I can’t. Come on, Doris. [George and Doris exit left. As they go Mrs Fitzgerald moves to left of the small table and sits. She eagerly beckons Mrs Pearson to do the same thing.]
Beckons- making a gesture with the hand, arm or head to encourage or instruct someone to approach or follow
George comments that he is relieved to hear that at least someone can handle the situation because he knows he can’t. Both of them leave the scene and the actual Mrs Pearson moves towards a table expecting Mrs Fitzgerald to do the same.
MRS FITZGERALD: Mrs Fitzgerald, we must change back now— we really must…
She tells Mrs Pearson that is the time that they should switch their places back.
MRS PEARSON: [rising] Why?
Mrs. Pearson asks her why they should switch their places back.
MRS FITZGERALD: Because this has gone far enough. I can see they’re all miserable— and I can’t bear it…
She tells Mrs Pearson that things have gone way beyond her imagination. She knows that her family is in trouble and she can’t stand that fact. Thus, she wants them to change back to their original selves.
MRS PEARSON: A bit more of the same would do ‘em good. Making a great difference already… [She moves to right of the table and sits.]
As she moves and sits on the other side of the table, she tells Mrs Fitzgerald it would be better for them to have the taste of this medicine for a bit longer. She tells her that a lot of progress has been made already but a little more effort would do wonders.
MRS FITZGERALD: No, I can’t stand any more of it—I really can’t. We must change back. Hurry up, please, Mrs Fitzgerald.
She stays on her opinion and wants to switch back . She tells her to do it a bit fast.
MRS PEARSON: Well —if you insist…
MRS FITZGERALD: Yes—I do—please— please. [She stretches her hands across the table eagerly. Mrs Pearson takes them.]
Mrs Fitzgerald (actually Mrs Pearson) is very eager to undo the trick and this stretches her arm in order to hold hands with Mrs Pearson. Mrs Pearson also stretches her hands forward.
MRS PEARSON: Quiet now. Relax. [Mrs Pearson and Mrs Fitzgerald stare at each other. Muttering; exactly as before. Arshtatta dum —arshtatta lam — arshtatta lamdumbona… They carry out the same action as before, going lax and then coming to life. But this time, of course, they become their proper personalities.]
Mrs Pearson asks Mrs Fitzgerald stay quiet for a while till she performs the magic trick. They undergo the same process and the real Mrs Fitzgerald whispers the same words. The transition is now finally complete and successful just like before but the only difference now is that they are back to their real bodies. Now both of them are in their own bodies.
MRS FITZGERALD: Ah well —I enjoyed that.
Mrs Fitzgerald, who got to play the role of Mrs Pearson expresses that she had fun during the process
MRS PEARSON: I didn’t.
Mrs Pearson, who had to go through the feeling of seeing her family being terrible, obviously didn’t have fun.
MRS FITZGERALD: Well, you ought to have done. Now —listen, Mrs Pearson. Don’t go soft on ’em again, else it’ll all have been wasted…
Mrs Fitzgerald warns Mrs Pearson not go easy on them again otherwise all the efforts would go waste.
MRS PEARSON: I’ll try not to, Mrs Fitzgerald.
She replies that she will try her best.
MRS FITZGERALD: They’ve not had as long as I’d like to have given ’em — another hour or two’s rough treatment might have made it certain…
She says that the time available to her was not satisfactory as an hour and two of the same treatment would leave a lasting impression.
MRS PEARSON: I’m sure they’ll do better now — though I don’t know how I’m going to explain…
Mrs Pearson lets her know that she is certain of some change. All she is unsure about is how she will clarify things.
MRS FITZGERALD: [severely] Don’t you start any explaining or apologising—or you’re done for.
She warns her not to go on apologising for the treatment as it would reverse the effects of all the hard work.
MRS PEARSON: [with spirit] It’s all right for you, Mrs Fitzgerald. After all, they aren’t your husband and children…
Mrs Pearson speaks up and says that it is easy for Mrs Fitzgerald to say all those things because this isn’t her family.
MRS FITZGERALD: [impressively] Now you listen to me. You admitted yourself you were spoiling ’em — and they didn’t appreciate you. Any apologies—any explanations—an’ you’ll be straight back where you were. I’m warning you, dear. Just give ’em a look —a tone of voice—now an’ again, to suggest you might be tough with ’em if you wanted to be—an’ it ought to work. Anyhow, we can test it.
Mrs Fitzgerald makes her aware that it was Mrs Pearson who accepted that they are spoiled brats who didn’t appreciate her. Mrs Pearson even said that she wanted things to improve. So, Mrs Fitzgerald again emphasizes that any apology would bring them back to being rude to her. She goes to the extent of saying that being dominating once in a while would keep them on track. She says that Mrs Pearson can even test this if she wants.
MRS PEARSON: How?
Mrs Pearson asks Mrs Fitzgerald how they can test whatever she is saying.
MRS FITZGERALD: Well, what is it you’d like ’em to do that they don’t do? Stop at home for once?
Mrs Fitzgerald asks her to name one thing they are reluctant to do but Mrs Pearson wants them to. For example, staying at home once in a while.
MRS PEARSON: Yes—and give me a hand with supper…
She adds that she also wants them to give her a hand in preparing the evening meal
MRS FITZGERALD: Anything you’d like ’em to do —that you enjoy whether they do or not?
She further asks if there is anything she likes to do irrespective of whether they like doing it or not.
MRS PEARSON: [hesitating] Well—yes. I—like a nice game of rummy —but, of course, I hardly ever have one—except at Christmas…
Rummy- a card game
Mrs Pearson hesitates at first but then tells Mrs Fitzgerald that she likes to play rummy but she only gets to play it at Christmas.
MRS FITZGERALD: [getting up] That’ll do then. [She moves towards the door left then turns] But remember — keep firm — or you’ve had it. [She opens the door. Calling] Hoy! You can come in now. [Coming away from the door, and moving right slightly. Quietly] But remember —remember —a firm hand. [George, Doris and Cyril file in through the doorway, looking apprehensively at Mrs Pearson.] I’m just off. To let you enjoy yourself [The family looks anxiously at Mrs Pearson, who smiles. Much relieved, they smile back at her.]
While moving towards the door, she once again emphasizes how important it is for Mrs Pearson to be a little strict. Mrs Pearson then calls George, Cyril and Doris inside after which she leaves. Mrs Pearson smiles at her family, somehow relieved, they all smile back.
DORIS: [anxiously] Yes, Mother?
Doris speaks up first, a bit nervous.
MRS PEARSON: [smiling] Seeing that you don’t want to go out, I tell you what I thought we’d do.
Still smiling, she says she knows exactly what they should do since they are not going out.
MRS FITZGERALD: [giving a final warning] Remember!
While leaving, Mrs Fitzgerald reminds Mrs Pearson again!
MRS PEARSON: [nodding, then looking sharply at the family] No objections, I hope?
Mrs Pearson nods in an attempt to show that she remembers whatever Mrs Fitzgerald has told her. She then asks her family if they have any objections.
GEORGE: [humbly] No, Mother —whatever you say…
He says in a polite tone that they do not have any objection and are ready to do whatever she says.
MRS PEARSON: [smiling] I thought we’d have a nice family game of rummy —and then you children could get the supper ready while I have a talk with your father…
She very politely tells them that she wishes to play rummy with them and after that she would like the children to help cook supper so that she can talk to George.
GEORGE: [firmly] Suits me. [He looks challengingly at the children.] What about you two?
George agrees but while looking at his children in a testing way and asks about their opinion.
CYRIL: [hastily] Yes— that’s all right.
Hastily- with excessive speed or urgency; speedily
Cyril instantly agrees.
DORIS: [hesitating] Well —I…
Doris hesitates a bit.
MRS PEARSON: [sharply] What? Speak up!
Mrs Pearson speaks boldly and asks Doris.
DORIS: [hastily] Oh —I think it would be lovely…
Doris also agrees instantly.
MRS PEARSON: [smiling] Good-bye, Mrs Fitzgerald. Come again soon.
Mrs Pearson smiles at Mrs Fitzgerald wishing her good bye.
MRS FITZGERALD: Yes, dear. ’Night all —have a nice time.
[Mrs Fitzgerald exits left and the family cluster round Mother as the curtain falls.
As Mrs Fitzgerald exits, the family moves to gather round the woman of the house and the curtain falls.
Mother’s Day Part 4 Video Explanation
Mother’s Day Question Answers
1. This play, written in the 1950s, is a humorous and satirical depiction of the status of the mother in the family.
(i) What are the issues it raises?
A. The play has thrown light upon crucial and common life issues. The first and foremost concern is the plight of housewives in a household. The husband or the children, all 8-hour shifts a day people overlook the housewife’s 24 hour efforts to make their life comfortable. A housewife constantly does work she is never appreciated and accounted for. The other subject being talked about in the lesson is the reason why a housewife’s efforts are overlooked. It is because they never boast about what they do and don’t ask for anything in return. They don’t even speak up for the respect they deserve just because they do not want to make their families realize they are insensitive.
One more issue that has been highlighted by somehow lost its essence is that, mothers and wives shower love unconditionally and unapologetically. The flow of their love is one-way. They never ask for anything in return even if it’s the simple things they want like their family to spend time with them. The lesson talks about how precious mothers and housewives are and how they deserve a lot more than that is given.
3. Is drama a good medium for conveying a social message? Discuss.
A. Drama is a mode of fictional representation through dialogue and performance. Since it consists of both visual and hearing elements, it is known to have a substantial effect on the minds of people. The effect is known to be better than something that is read or just simply heard. Thus, if a social message that holds a lot of importance, is brought to life through drama, it holds immense potential for change. The play “Mother’s Day” makes the viewers/readers hear what is unsaid, feel what is not explicitly mentioned and conclude what is right or wrong on their own. This motivates them to bring changes in their own lives. This is the power of Drama. Hence, drama can be considered a medium good enough for conveying a social message.
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