By J.B. Priestley
About the Author
Priestley was born on 13 September 1894 at 34 Mannheim Road, Manningham, Bradford. His father was a headmaster. His mother died when he was just two years old and his father remarried four years later. Priestley was educated at Belle Vue Grammar School, which he left at sixteen to work as a junior clerk at Helm & Co., a wool firm in the Swan Arcade. During his years at Helm & Co. (1910–1914), he started writing at night and had articles published in local and London newspapers.
He established himself in London as a freelance writer with mainly literary work, writing essays, reviews, biographies, as well as reading for John Lane, the publisher. It was a period of great activity with book after book appearing, punctuated by the terminal illness of his wife, the death of his father, and his second marriage. He moved from non-fiction to fiction, and achieved remarkable success with his fourth novel, The Good Companions.
Priestley served in the army during the First World War. He was badly wounded in June 1916, when he was buried alive by a trench-mortar. He spent many months in military hospitals and convalescent establishments, and on 26 January 1918 was commissioned as an officer in the Devonshire Regiment, and posted back to France late summer 1918.
After his military service, Priestley received a university education at Trinity Hall, Cambridge. By the age of 30 he had established a reputation as an essayist and critic. During the Second World War, he was a regular broadcaster on the BBC.
He died on 14 August 1984.
This play brings out the miserable condition of mothers in most homes. A mother works from morning till night to satisfy the needs of her husband and children. She cleans, sweeps, washes and cooks but she gets no reward or praise for her labours. She works like a machine throughout the day but they never realize that she, too, is a human being and needs rest. Do we ever think of it? If we don’t, we need to be chastised in some way. This is what this play is all about.
Characters in the Play
1. Mrs. Annie Pearson – wife of George Pearson, a loving wife and mother, fond of her husband and children, does her best to keep them happy, simple-hearted, gentle to a fault, too weak to protest, works day and night – no rest, submissive,
2. George Pearson -husband of Mrs. Annie Pearson, about fifty, self-important and pompous, neglects his wife, club members backbites and make fun of him.
3. Doris Pearson -daughter of George Pearson, a spoilt girl of around 20, the elder. She is already into an affair with a young boy, named Charlie Spence.
4. Cyril – Son of George Pearson, a spoilt child.
5. Mrs. Fitzgerald –a neighbour of Mrs. Annie Pearson, a bold, talented, strong, liberated, dominating and aggressive woman, knows some magic, drinks, smokes and plays cards, lives life on her own terms.
Mrs. Pearson and Mrs. Fitzgerald are neighbours. One afternoon Mrs. Fitzgerald visits Mrs. Pearson. The two women sit comfortably in the living-room. While taking tea, Mrs. Fitzgerald tells Mrs. Pearson her fortune with the help of cards. According to her, Mrs. Pearson’s problem is that she is excessively fond of her husband and children. She runs after them all the time, takes their orders as if she were the servant in the house, and stays at home every night while they go out enjoying themselves. They have come to believe that she is there simply to wait on them, so they take no notice of her. Mrs. Fitzgerald advises her that she should assert her rights as the mistress of the house if she wants them to treat her properly.
Mrs. Fitzgerald asks her to let them wait or look after themselves. Mrs. Pearson says that she can’t do it. Mrs. Pearson is puzzled. At this Mrs. Fitzgerald tells her plan and says that they would change their personalities with each other. She had learnt this
art when she was in East. Mrs. Pearson hesitates. But Mrs. Fitzgerald holds her hands, asks her to keep quiet and not to think about anything and look at her. The two woman stare at each other. Mrs. Fitzgerald recites a spell. Gradually their personalities change bodies. Now Mrs. Pearson is bold and domineering while Mrs. Fitzgerald is nervous and agitated.
After a few moments Doris Pearson enters the room violently and orders her mother to iron her yellow silk as she is to wear it that night. She is astonished to see her mother smoking. Mother has not got her tea ready. She is in no mood to iron her yellow silk for her. She is rather thinking of going out and get a meal at the Clarendon. Doris is astounded at unusual behaviour of her mother. Then she tells her mother that she is going out with Charlie Spence. Mother severely asks her whether she could not find anybody better than buck teeth and half-witted Charlie Spence. This is too much for Doris. She runs out of the room with tears in her eyes.
Then Cyril Pearson enters. She has not put his things out though she had promised that morning to look through them in case there was any mending. He wonders what is going on in the house. He stands aghast when she tells him that she wants stout to drink and moves to the kitchen. She takes a bottle of stout and a half-filled glass. Cyril and Doris are unable to control their laughter. Mrs. Pearson looks at them with contempt and asks them to behave like grown-ups. With tearful eyes, Doris asks why she is talking like that and what wrong they have done. She asks mother whether she had fallen or hit herself with something. Mother rebukes her for asking such a silly question. Doris begins to cry. Mother coldly asks her to stop crying noisily like a baby.
Just then, George Pearson enters. He notices Doris’s tears and asks why she is crying. Doris runs out of the room sobbing. He is astonished to see his wife sipping stout. He tells her that he doesn’t want any tea as he would have supper at the club. Mrs. Pearson tells him that there is no tea ready. He is annoyed to know that his wife didn’t get tea ready for him. Mrs. Pearson laughs at his childishness and remarks that if he behaved like that at the club they would laugh at him even more than they do now. George is surprised to know that they laugh at him at the club. Mrs. Pearson continues that he is one of their standing jokes. They call him Pomp-ompy Pearson because they think he is so slow and pompous. George is shocked. He staggers out of the room.
There is a knock at the door. Cyril hurries out and re-enters bringing in Mrs. Fitzgerald. She asks Mrs. Pearson whether everything is all right. Cyril remarks sulkily that everything is wrong. Mrs. Pearson asks him sharply to keep quiet. Cyril walks out of the room. Mrs. Fitzgerald is surprised at this turn of events and asks Mrs. Pearson nervously what she has been doing. Mrs. Pearson tells her calmly that she has been just putting them in their places, and they will be eating out of her hand soon. Just then, George enters the room. He is looking very sullen. Mrs. Fitzgerald watches all this helplessly. She is utterly confused. She tries to stop Mrs. Pearson in vain. George and Doris are bewildered at this turn of events. They stare at Mrs. Fitzgerald. She requests them to leave her alone with Mrs. Pearson and promises that everything will be all right. George and Doris leave the room. Mrs. Fitzgerald urges Mrs. Pearson that they should now regain their proper personalities.
Mrs. Pearson wants to continue a bit more of it but Mrs. Fitzgerald would not listen to her. She says that they are already very miserable and she cannot bear it any more. She stretches her hands across the table eagerly. Mrs. Pearson takes them. They stare at each other, and exactly as before Mrs. Pearson recites the spell. They become their proper personalities. Mrs. Fitzgerald advises Mrs. Pearson not to go soft on them again, otherwise it will all have been wasted. Mrs. Fitzgerald warns her that she must not start giving explanations asking for apologies, otherwise she will be straight back where she was.
When Mrs. Fitzgerald leaves the room, she finds George, Doris and Cyril standing in a row at the doorway. The family looks anxiously at Mrs. Pearson. She smiles. They feel much relieved and they smile back at her. Mrs. Pearson tells them what she thought they would do at night. They would have a nice family game of rummy. Then children could get the supper ready while she has a talk with their father. Thus Mrs. Fitzgerald helps Mrs. Pearson to become the boss of her family. When she goes out, the family lovingly clusters round mother.
Short Answer Questions
Q1. What picture of Mrs. Pearson emerges in the opening of the play ‘Mother’s Day’?
Ans. Mrs. Pearson is in her forties. She is a pleasant looking woman. She is a typical housewife. She takes delight in serving her family, though they take no notice of her. Even if they are thoughtless and selfish, she is very fond of them. She bears with them patiently as she does not want any unpleasantness in the house.
Q2. What was Mrs. Fitzgerald’s advice to Mrs. Pearson?
Ans. She advised Mrs. Pearson to be the boss of her own family.
Q3. Why is Mrs. Fitzgerald insisting upon Mrs. Pearson’s being the boss of her family?
Ans. Because Mrs. Pearson’s husband and children considered her as a housemaid rather than a loving and caring mother and wife. They treated her like a slave, ordered her to make tea and never thought that she, too, is a human being and needs rest. They thought that it was her duty to work for them while they never considered her work as work.
Q4. How was Annie Pearson responsible for her fate?
Ans. To a certain level, Annie Pearson was herself responsible for her fate. She loved and cared for her children and husband so much that they failed to understand her value and worth
. She had wished to correct them but for fear of hurting them, she didn’t mention it.
Q5. Write down Mrs. Fitzgerald’s opinion about a perfect household?
Ans. In a perfect household all the family members should be considerate towards the lady of the house. They are not supposed to order her but are supposed to lend a helping hand in the smooth running of the family. The lady sacrifices her entire life making the family happy and comfortable. She should be given due regard and recognition.
Q6. How did Mrs. Fitzgerald offer to help Mrs. Pearson to set her family right?
Ans. Mrs. Fitzgerald tells her plan and says that they would change their personalities with each other. She had learnt this art when she was in East. Mrs. Fitzgerald would look like Mrs. Pearson and vice versa. Thus Mrs. Fitzgerald offered to set Mrs. Pearson’s family right for her.
Q7. What were the immediate effects of the magic spell?
Ans. When it was spelled, the two women stirred out of their selves and transformed into contrasting characters. Annie became bold and started behaving like Mrs. Fitzgerald. She snatched the cigarette from Mrs. Fitzgerald’s mouth and put it in her own mouth.
Q8. How is George Pearson treated at the club?
Ans. The members of the Club laugh at George Pearson. His wife Mrs. Pearson says, “He is their one of their standing jokes at the club.” They call him “Pompy-Ompy” Person because they think him very “slow and pompous”. She tells that people always laugh at him behind his back. They call him names but he is quite unaware about all this.
Q9. Mrs. Pearson was behaving strangely but her children were making fun of her. What does this show?
Ans. Mrs. Pearson, after having undergone a change in her personality started behaving with her children Cyril and Doris severely but they did not take her seriously. Deris said she might have hit her head and had a concussion, which caused her strange behaviour. She began to giggle and Cyril felt it very strange. He wanted to stay and see what would happen on the arrival of their father.
Q10. Mention three things in the behaviour of mother that astonish Doris Pearson.
Ans. First, mother, as usual, has not got tea ready for her. Secondly, mother’s smoking. Thirdly, she is not in mood to iron her silk that she intends to wear that evening.
Q11. How does mother make fun of Charlie Spence?
Ans. Charlie Spence is Doris’s boy-friend. She intends to go out with him that evening. But mother makes fun of Charlie Spence. She says that Charlie has buck-teeth and he is half-witted. She wonders whether Doris could not find of anyone better than Charlie Spence.
Q12. Why is Cyril Pearson astonished at mother’s behaviour?
Ans. First, mother has not got tea ready for him, as usual. Secondly, she has not got his things ready though she had promised in the morning to look through them in case there was any mending. Obviously, he is astonished at strange behaviour of the mother. Then, mother asks him whether there is any stout left in the house. He wonders why mother needs stout.
Q13. What, according to Doris, could be the reason for mother’s strange behaviour? Does Cyril agree with her?
Ans. According to Doris, mother might have hit her head or something that could have been the cause of her strange behaviour, Cyril agrees that mother’s behaviour was rather, odd but Doris’s idea seems to him too far-fetched.
Q14. What is mother’s future plan as revealed to Doris?
Ans. Mother tells Doris that she would work like them forty hours a week and have two days off i.e. Saturday and Sunday. She might make their bed or do a little bit of cooking on her off- days if she is properly asked and thanked for everything she does. She adds that she might go off on weekend days for a change.
Q15. Why does Doris ask mother whether she had fallen or hit herself with something? How does mother react to it?
Ans. Doris asks mother whether she had fallen or hit herself with something because she is under the impression that mother had gone barmy because of some violent shock. Mother becomes aggressive to hear this and asks her to behave properly and stop asking such silly questions.
Q16. What is odd, according to Mrs. Pearson, in the behaviour of George, when he is annoyed with her for not getting his tea ready?
Ans. George tells Mrs. Pearson that he does not want any tea. When Mrs. Pearson tells him that there is no tea ready for him he gets annoyed. She wonders why he is annoyed at not getting his tea ready while he does not want it. This seems rather odd to her.
Q17. How does Mrs. Pearson make fun of her husband?
Ans. Mrs. Pearson tells her husband that they laugh at him at the club and call him Pompy- ompy Pearson because they think he is so slow and pompous. When his son Cyril also confirms it, he is shocked and staggers out of the room.
Q18. Why is George Pearson astonished when Mrs. Fitzgerald calls him ‘George’? How does Mrs. Pearson make fun of him?
Ans. Mrs. Fitzgerald is their neighbour. Obviously, George Pearson is astonished when she informally calls him ‘George’. Mrs. Pearson makes fun of him saying that his name is, after all, George, and then asks him mockingly whether he thinks he is Duke of Edinburgh.
Q19. Why did Mrs. Fitzgerald request Mrs. Pearson to change back? Who were these two ladies actually?
Ans. Mrs. Fitzgerald was, in fact, Mrs. Pearson in Mrs. Fitzgerald’s body. She saw how miserable her husband and children were feeling. She could stand it no longer. So she requested Mrs. Pearson to change back.
Q20. What was Mrs. Fitzgerald’s final advice to Mrs. Pearson?
Ans. She advised Mrs. Pearson to be tough on them for a couple of hours. She also forbids to feel sorry for the drama and give any explanation or apology. If she stays firm, they will eat out of her hands obediently.
Q21. What change do you notice in George, Doris and Cyril at the end of the play?
Ans. They are no longer thoughtless and overbearing in their behavior. Cyril and Doris agree to get supper ready while their mom have a talk with their father. She also asks for a nice family game of rummy. All agree with her. She finally thanks her neighbour and bids her goodbye. As she walks out of the room, the family gathers round mother.
Long Answer Type Questions
Q1. Give a brief character-sketch of Mrs. Pearson.
Ans. Mrs. Pearson is a loving wife and mother. She is very fond of her husband and children. She looks to all their needs. She does her best to keep them happy. Mrs. Pearson is a simple-hearted woman. But she is gentle to a fault. She does feel that her husband and children are thoughtless. Her husband and children work eight hours a day and five days a week. But the poor mother has to work all the hours of the day and all the days of the week. Yet the husband and the children have for her no word of praise or gratitude. This is what pains Mrs. Pearson. But, she is too weak to protest. It is Mrs. Pearson’s own weakness that has spoiled her husband and children.
Q2. Give a brief character-sketch of Mrs. Fitzgerald.
Ans. Mrs. Fitzgerald is Mrs. Pearson’s neighbour. She is a strong-minded woman. She has a dominating nature. She believes in equal rights with men. She believes that women have the liberty to do anything that men do. Mrs. Fitzgerald feels strongly that the woman should be the mistress of her own house. Mrs. Fitzgerald is very intelligent also. She knows how to cure people of their waywardness. She handles Doris, Cyril and George very intelligently. She gives each of them a good pounding. She puts them in their proper places. She makes them realise that a mother and a wife is also a human being. Thus she helps Mrs. Pearson to rein in her husband and children.
Q3. How were George, Doris and Cyril all ungrateful to Mrs. Annie Pearson?
Ans. George, Doris and Cyril are all ungrateful. Each is worried about himself or herself only. George doesn’t want tea, yet he grows angry with his wife because she hasn’t made any tea for him. Doris wants her mother to iron her yellow silk dress because she is going out to meet her boyfriend. Cyril says he is tired after his eight-hour day. But none of them ever thinks of poor Mrs. Pearson’s fate. Everybody orders her about as if she is their servant. Really they are all very ungrateful.
Q4. How did Mrs. Fitzgerald help Mrs. Pearson to be the boss of her family?
Ans. Mrs. Fitzgerald is Mrs. Pearson’s neighbour. She offers to help Mrs. Pearson in setting her family right. She knows some magic, and effects a change of personality with Mrs. Pearson. Now she looks as if she were Mrs. Pearson and vice versa. She sends Mrs. Pearson to her own house and herself stays in Mrs. Pearson’s house. When Doris, Cyril and George come in, she deals with them very severely. She makes them realize how unfeeling and selfish they are. Thus Mrs. Fitzgerald helps Mrs. Pearson to be the boss of her f
Q5. ‘Husbands, sons, daughters should be taking notice of wives and mothers, not giving them orders and treating them like dirt.’ What do you think about it?
Ans. The problem of wives and mothers is a universal one. Husbands, sons and daughters treat them like dirt. They order them about as if they were their servants. They go out to enjoy with their friends, leaving the poor mothers and wives at home. They think they have done much work during the day. And when they come home, they want to be served like kings and princes. Really, it is something very unfortunate. All husbands, sons and daughters must think that the poor wife and the mother is also a human being and has the same feelings and desires as they have.
Q6. Contrast the characters of Mrs. Pearson and Mrs. Fitzgerald.
Ans. Mrs. Pearson is a loving mother and a gentle wife. She works hard to keep her husband and children happy. But she gets no praise or regard for it. Her husband and children are very thoughtless and selfish. They treat her as a servant. Mrs. Pearson feels unhappy about it. But she is too weak to protest.
On the other hand, Mrs. Fitzgerald is very outspoken. She can brook no injustice. She believes in equal rights with men. To make it clear, she even smokes and drinks. She says that husbands, sons and daughters should take notice of wives and mothers. They should not treat them like dirt. She asks Mrs. Pearson to be the boss of her family.
Q7. How does Mrs. Fitzgerald put Doris, Cyril and George in their places?
Ans. Mrs. Fitzgerald knows some magic. She uses it to change her personality with that of Mrs. Pearson. Soon Mrs. Pearson’s daughter, Doris, comes in. She asks Mother for tea, but Mother says that there is no tea ready for her. Doris had wanted her mother to iron her yellow silk. But the mother refuses to do any ironing for her. Doris has never seen her mother behave like this. She is in tears. When Cyril and George come in, they, too, receive the same kind of treatment. Mother tells them that henceforth she, too, will work eight hours a day and five days a week. While all this is going on, Mrs. Fitzgerald (who is in fact Mrs. Pearson) enters. The two ladies change back into their real personalities. They heave a sigh of relief when Mrs. Pearson calls them back with a smile. But now they have learnt their lesson. Thus Doris, Cyril and George are brought to their places.
Q8. Bring out the theme of the play ‘Mother’s Day.
Ans. In this play, Priestley tries to depict the fate of most housewives. The poor housewife has to work all hours of the day and all days of the week. She works hard to keep her husband and children happy. But the husband and children are almost always thoughtless. They have no regard for the feelings of the poor mother. They treat her as a servant. Alter their work, they go out to spend their evening with friends. The poor mother has to stay at home and keep working. Her husband and children never think that she, too, is a human being. They never realise that she, too, needs some rest and entertainment. Such husbands and children need to correct themselves.
NCERT Solutions For Class 11 English Snapshots Mother’s Day
QUESTIONS FROM TEXTBOOK SOLVED
A. Reading With Insight
This play, written in the 1950s, is a humorous and satirical depiction of the status of the mother in the family.
- What are the issues it raises?
- Do you think it caricatures these issues or do you think that the problems it raises are genuine? How does the play resolve the issues? Do you agree with the resolution?
- The play raises many serious issues. The first and foremost is proper appreciation of a housewife’s role and responsibilities. Those who work eight hours a day and forty hours a week treat the housewife as an unpaid domestic servant, who must carry out their orders. They neither request her nor thank her for her services. The second issue is the reciprocity of love and gratitude towards the mother or wife. The husband, son and daughter leave the lady of the house alone every night and go out to enjoy themselves in their several ways. They do not take any notice of her and have become thoughtless and selfish. The mother’s excessive love, care and promptness to serve them also spoil them.
- The problems the play raises are serious. The treatment is of course, comic. The playwright adopts an unusual method to resolve the issues. He takes the help of magic bf the East. Incantation of a magical spell helps in the interchange of the personalities. Now Mrs Pearson, with the strong and sinister personality of Mrs Fitzgerald, gives rough treatment to the daughter, son and husband respectively. Her stern looks and commanding tone suggests to them that she can be really tough. The spoilt member are brought round by the heavy dose of exposure of reality to them. They agree to stay and help in preparing the supper while the housewife has a talk with her husband.
The resolution of the issues seems far-fetched and unnatural but extreme means have to be adopted in disaster management.
If you were to write these issues today, what are some of the incidents, examples and problems that you would think of as relevant?
Various responses are possible One such response is given below:
The incidents of unfair treatment to the fair sex at home, at work, in public transport and elsewhere will prove handy. The examples of exploitation of female workers with lower wages, harassment by seniors, indecent remarks, eve-teasing and molestation can highlight the problems of social inequality that women face in practice. Even in the twenty first century women face the same problems in spite of the talk of women empowerment. The poor housewives have to bear the physical torment and mental anguish at the hands of bullish husbands who boast of their masculinity by inflicting physical violence, barbs and taunts on the defense less women. Examples of rapes and sexual harassment which hug the limelight in daily newspapers can also be included to highlight the problems of insecurity of women in modem society.
Is drama a good medium for conveying a social message? Discuss.
Yes, drama is certainly a good medium for conveying a social message. Direct moralising is often resented and usually ignored. Drama is a presentation of a slice of life through characters placed in various situations. The attention of the spectators centres round their actions and reactions. Most of them feel fully involved with the protagonists. The working out of the theme generally leaves a message—sometimes obvious and explicit but in most of the cases, indirect and implicit. The social message of these plays seems to come out of the interactions of the characters and their traits of character. The victory of evil over good is usually portrayed indirectly. These day we find many plays centred around themes creating social awareness such as evils of drinking and smoking; dangers of pollution, child labour, the decreasing female ratio and need to empower women.
Discuss in groups plays or films with a strong message of social reform that you have watched.
For group discussion at class level. There can be varied responses. One such response is given below: The latest film I have watched recently is ‘SWADESH’. It has a strong message of social reform. It tells the story of an Indian scientist at NASA (America) who visits his ancestral home in India. The poor condition of the villagers and lack of basic facilities fills him with deep agony. He resigns his job in America and returns to his native country (Swadesh) to begin his work of rural uplift. He gives the villagers a message that self-help is the best help and we cannot depend for everything on the Government. This remote village is plunged in darkness after sunset as there is no electricity. With the help of a few villagers, the scientist is able to produce hydroelectricity and light the village homes. The water can be used for irrigation purposes also. Thus the economic and social condition of the villagers undergoes a sea change.
MORE QUESTIONS SOLVED
A. Short Answer Type Questions
How are Mrs Pearson and Mrs Fitzgerald contrasted?
The two ladies are sharply contrasted. Mrs Pearson is a pleasant but worried looking woman in her forties. She speaks in a light, flurried sort of tone with a touch of suburban cockney. Mrs Fitzgerald is older, heavier and has a strong and sinister personality. She smokes. She has a deep voice, rather Irish tone.
“I’m much obliged,” says Mrs. J Pearson. What for does she feel obliged and to whom?
Mrs. Pearson feels obliged to Mrs Fitzgerald for telling her fortune. She thinks it quite wonderful having a real fortune teller living next door.
What fortune does Mrs Fitzgerald predict for Mrs Pearson?
Answer: Mrs Fitzgerald is quite equivocal in her predictions. She says it could be a good fortune or a bad one. All depends on Mrs Pearson herself now. She asks her to decide firmly. Her fortune depends on it.
What problem does Mrs Pearson face? Who do you think is responsible for this state of affairs?
Mrs Pearson devotes all her time and energy to serve her husband, son and daughter. These thoughtless and selfish persons go out every night to enjoy themselves leaving Mrs Pearson alone at home. She is no better than a servant in her own home. Mrs Pearson herself is responsible for the ill-treatment, neglect and lack of concern shown to her.
What course of action does Mrs Fitzgerald suggest to Mrs Pearson to tackle the situation?
Mrs Fitzgerald tells Mrs Pearson to decide firmly and stick to her decision. She must assert her position and become the real mistress of the house. Her own initiative can help her. She must let them wait or look after themselves for once.
What difficulties does Mrs Pearson face while dealing with the various members of her family?
Mrs Pearson loves her husband and children too much. She does not find courage enough to discuss the problem with them. She only keeps dropping hints. She hates any unpleasantness. She does not know where to start. She doesn’t know how to begin discussion with the other members of the family.
“Then let me do it”, suggests Mrs Fitzgerald. How does Mrs Pearson react to it?
Mrs Fitzgerald offers to deal with the family of Mrs Pearson and teach them to
treat her properly Mrs Pearson feels flustered. She thanks her saying that it wouldn’t do at all. They would resent being ill-treated by somebody else and wouldn’t listen.
How does Mrs Fitzgerald plan to deal with the family of Mrs Pearson?
She tells Mrs Pearson that she will deal with her family not as herself but as Mrs Pearson. They will change places or really bodies. Mrs Pearson would then look like Mrs Fitzgerald and the latter would look like the former.
Why does Doris Pearson feel astounded on returning home?
Doris finds her mother smoking away—lighting another cigarette and laying out the cards for patience on the table. She shoots her query about ironing her yellow silk, but feel astounded on seeing her mother’s behaviour.
What are the two reasons that annoy Doris Pearson?
Firstly, Doris is annoyed that her mother has not ironed her yellow silk dress which she has to wear that night. Secondly, she has returned home after working hard all day and mother hasn’t even bothered to get her tea ready.
How does Mrs Pearson refute Doris’s argument about working hard?
Mrs Pearson tells Doris that she has a good idea how much Doris does. Mrs Pearson claims that she puts in twice the hours that Doris does, and gets no pay or thanks for it.
How does Mrs Pearson criticize Doris on going out with Charlie Spence?
Mrs Pearson asks Doris if she could not find anyone better than Charlie Spence. He has buck-teeth and if half-witted. She wouldn’t be seen dead with Charlie Spence. At her age she would either have found somebody better than Charlie Spence or stopped dating boys on seeing no hope of success.
Why is Cyril Pearson annoyed with his mother? Give two reasons.
Cyril feels annoyed when his mother tells him that tea is not ready as she couldn’t bother about it. He esquires if she is not feeling well and then asks her to be quick as he has not too much time. His mother has not taken his things out. She has neither mended them nor is she willing to do so.
“That’s a nice way to talk What would happen if we all talked like that?” says Cyril. In what context does he say so? What argument does he get in return?
When Mrs Pearson tells her son, Cyril that she has decided now that she doesn’t like mending, Cyril objects to her words. Mrs Pearson gives him a taste of his own medicine by saying that all of them do talk like that. If there’s something at home they don’t want to do, they don’t do it. If it is something at their work, they get the union to bar it. She has now joined the movement.
How do Doris and Cyril react to Mrs Pearson’s query about stout?
Cyril is the first to react. He hints that she doesn’t want stout then i.e., at tea time. Her remark that she wants to drink surprises both Doris and Cyril and they exchange notes regarding her behaviour towards them since they returned home that evening.
What changes in the behaviour of Mrs Pearson startle Doris and Cyril? What possible reasons do they suggest?
Answer: Doris couldn’t believe her eyes when she saw her mother smoking and playing cards. Cyril too noted the change and asked her if she was feeling ill. She looks just the same but her behaviour is suddenly different. Cyril asks if she has gone slightly mad. Doris thinks that she has a concussion as a result of her head hitting something.
How does Mrs Pearson teach her children to be responsible adults?
First she scolds them for their guffawing and giggling. Then she has a dig at their lifestyle. They just-come in, ask for something, go out again and then return as there’s nowhere else to go. When Doris and Cyril boast of doing their work all day, Mrs Pearson tells them that she has also done her eight hours. She threatens to have two days off at the weekend.
“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,” says Mrs Pearson. How has she planned to spend the weekends?
She might do cooking or make a bed or two as a favour: only if she is asked very nicely and thanked for it. They’ll have to pay attention to her and show care and concern. Perhaps she might go off for the weekend. It will provide her a change. She is bored of remaining at home all the time.
“I’ll hit you with something, girl, if you don’t stop, asking silly questions.” says Mrs Pearson to Doris. Which ‘silly’ questions does she object to?
Doris at first asks with disbelief if she would go off for the weekend and then enquires where she would go and with whom. Mrs Pearson tells her that it is her business. Doris then asks her if she had fallen or hit herself with something. Mrs Pearson objects to this silly question.
“Well that ought to be nice change for you” says Mrs Pearson. What ‘change’ does she refer to and how does George react to it?
George finds his wife Annie (Mrs Pearson) drinking stout at the wrong time of the day. Moreover, he has never seen her doing it before. Naturally, he is confused and surprised. When he remarks that he doesn’t like her drinking and it doesn’t look right. Mrs Pearson remarks about the ‘change’ in her style.
“Annoyed because I don’t get a tea for him that he doesn’t even want”, says Mrs Pearson. What forces her to make this remark?
At first, George Pearson tells his wife that he wouldn’t want any tea as there is supper at the club that night. He feels hurt to know that she hasn’t prepared any tea. When he asks “suppose I’d wanted some,” Mrs. Pearson makes this bitting remark.
How, do you think, is George Pearson treated at the club?
The members of the club laugh at George Pearson. He is, in fact, one of their standing jokes. They call him Pompy-Ompy Pearson because they think he is quite slow and pompous. Although this joke is quite famous, George is unaware of it.
What objection does Mrs Pearson have against George’s going to club so frequently?
MCQ Questions for Class 11 English Snapshots Chapter 5 Mother’s Day with Answers
The attitude of Mrs. Pearson’s family changes towards her. Comment.
(d) Not clear from the story
Answer: (b) Yes
Mrs. Fitzgerald asks Mrs. Pearson to be ___________ with her family.
Answer: (d) firm
When do Mrs. Pearson and Mrs. Fitzgerald get back to their original selves?
(a) When Mrs. Pearson’s family gets to know about them
(b) When they both get bored
(c) When the situation goes out of hand
(d) None of the above
Answer: (c) When the situation goes out of hand
“It’s that silly old bag from next door- Mrs. Fitzgerald.” Who said this?
(d) Mrs. Pearson
Answer: (b) Cyril
Mrs. Pearson tells George that he is being ___________ at the club.
(b) laughed upon
(c) called names
(d) Both (b) and (c)
Answer: (d) Both (b) and (c)
How does the author describe George Pearson?
(d) All of the above
Answer: (d) All of the above
Why was Dorris red-eyed?
(a) Because of an infection
(b) Because of a fight
(c) Because of crying
(d) Because she was getting ready to head out
Answer: (c) Because of crying
“Buck teeth and half-witted…” Who has been described here?
(a) Cyril Pearson
(b) George Pearson
(c) Charlie Spence
(d) Mrs. Fitzgerald
Answer: (c) Charlie Spence
What makes Dorris astounded as soon as she enters the house?
(a) The sight of her mother smoking
(b) Because the tea was not ready
(c) Because her mother was not there
(d) None of the above
Answer: (a) The sight of her mother smoking
Mrs. Pearson was ___________ about Mrs. Fitzgerald’s plan.
Answer: (b) hesitant
How would you describe Mrs. Pearson?
(d) Both (b) and (c)
Answer: (d) Both (b) and (c)
How does Mrs. Pearson describe her family members?
(a) Thoughtless and selfish
(b) Pleasant and helpful
Answer: (a) Thoughtless and selfish
Q1. Who is the writer of the play “Mother’s Day”?
- A.J. Cornin
- William Wordworth
- Patrick Pringle
- J.B. Priestley
Q2. What does the play “Mother’s Day” talk about?
- Status of the mother in the family
- Status of the father in the family
- Status of the children in the family
- Status of the family in the society
Q3. How does the author describe Mrs. Fitzgerald?
- Worried looking
- Sinister looking
- Has a deep voice
- Both (B) and (C)
Q4. Mrs. Fitzgerald is a __________ of Mrs. Pearson.
- None of the above
Q5. “It’s wonderful having a real ____________ living next door.” Complete the dialogue.
Q6. Where did Mrs. Fitzgerald learn to tell the future?
- The West
- The East
- The Middle-East
- Not mentioned in the play
Q7. How does Mrs. Pearson describe her family members?
- Thoughtless and selfish
- Pleasant and helpful
Q8. In what endeavour does Mrs. Fitzgerald help Mrs. Pearson?
- To see future
- To make her family treat her well
- To run errands
- None of the above
Q9. How would you describe Mrs. Pearson?
- Both (B) and (C)
Q10. How does Mrs. Fitzgerald plan to help Mrs. Pearson?
- By talking to Mrs. Pearson’s family
- By listening to Mrs. Pearson rants
- By swapping personalities with Mrs. Pearson
- Both (A) and (B)
Q11. Mrs. Pearson was ___________ about Mrs. Fitzgerald’s plan.
Q12. What is the first thing that Dorris does as soon as she enters the house?
- Asks her mother to give her tea
- Asks her mother to cook something for her
- Asks her mother about her day
- Asks her mother to iron her yellow silk
Q13. What makes Dorris astounded as soon as she enters the house?
- The sight of her mother smoking
- Because the tea was not ready
- Because her mother was not there
- None of the above
Q14. Where was Dorris headed for the night?
- She had to work overtime
- She was going out with Charlie Spence
- She was going for her friend’s birthday
- She had some appointment
Q15. “Buck teeth and half-witted…” Who has been described here?
- Cyril Pearson
- George Pearson
- Charlie Spence
- Mrs. Fitzgerald
Q16. What are the ‘changes’ that Mrs. Pearson referred to Cyril?
- Change in the way she is treated by the family
- Changes in her daily routine
- Changes related to her work
- None of the above
Q17. Why was Dorris red-eyed?
- Because of an infection
- Because of a fight
- Because of crying
- Because she was getting ready to head out
Q18. “Well, she’s suddenly all different.” Who said this and for whom?
- Cyril for Dorris
- Dorris for her mother
- Cyril for her mother
- George for Dorris
Q19. How does the author describe George Pearson?
- All of the above
Q20. What was George’s reaction when he saw his wife drinking stout during daytime?
- He did not like it
- He did not mind
- He accompanied her
- He ignored her
Q21. Mrs. Pearson tells George that he is being ___________ at the club.
- laughed upon
- called names
- Both (B) and (C)
Q22. According to Mrs. Pearson, where Cyril had been wasting his time and money?
- Ice shows
- Both (A) and (B)
Q23. “It’s that silly old bag from next door- Mrs. Fitzgerald.” Who said this?
- Mrs. Pearson
Q24. What does George mean when he says ‘we’re at sixes and sevens here’?
- In a state of confusion and disorder
- In a middle of a conflict
- In a middle of taking a decision
- In a state of agony
Q25. When do Mrs. Pearson and Mrs. Fitzgerald get back to their original selves?
- When Mrs. Pearson’s family gets to know about them
- When they both get bored
- When the situation goes out of hand
- None of the above
Q26. Mrs. Pearson’s family had been _________ towards Mrs. Pearson.
Q27. Mrs. Fitzgerald asks Mrs. Pearson to be ___________ with her family.
Q28. What does Mrs.Pearson suggest them to do for that night?
- Family game of rummy
- Getting the supper ready
- Both (A) and (B)
- None of the above
Q29. The attitude of Mrs. Pearson’s family changes towards her. Comment.
- Not clear from the story
Q30. What message does the author of “Mother’s Day” try to convey?
- To appreciate wives/ mothers for their work
- To work hard for your mother
- To spend time with family
- To respect everyone
Answer key for Class 11 English Snapshots Book Chapter 5 – Mother’s Day