Ask a QuestionHave a doubt? Ask our expert and get quick answers.
We have millions of interesting questions and answers in our question bank available for Free. Check out more interesting questions for you:
- Q) summary of the dear departed by stanley houghton
- Q) what is the summary of the dear departed
- Q) chapter: the dear departed.a true test of people is how they behave towards the elderly. with modernisation, reverence of the elderly seemsto have suffered a grievous blow. all happiness to the elderly is parsimoniously measured out. too often the elderlysuffer death by invisibility long before their physical demise. the daughters in dear departed are very materialisticand like beasts of prey, they are only ready to pounce on the money and belongings of their father. keeping fatherat home has become a tiresome burden. looking towards the elderly has become a matter of comfort and financialaid rather than for inspiration and emotional strength. for a civilised society a new culture of giving needs to beushered and one must give to the elderly without any selfish motive. we must remember that the difference betweena helping hand and an outstretched palm is only a twist of the wrist.drama summarythe play the dear departed presents an interestingsituation that has tragically become common place in theworld of today. the scene of the play is set in the sittingroomof a small house in a lower middle-class district ofa provincial town. the setting of the play reveals that thetea-table has been laid. mrs slater, a plump and activelady is in mourning and she is getting ready to receivesome guests. she beckons to her daughter victoria, who isten year old, and instructs her to change into somethingsober. it is revealed that victorias grandfather has passedaway and the slater family is getting ready to receive auntelizabeth and uncle ben. victoria expresses surprise atthis news because her aunt and uncle had not paid them avisit for years. mrs slater reveals that they were comingover to talk about grandfathers affairs, on hearing of hisdeath. in the meanwhile mr slater enters. he is a heavyman who stoops he is also in mourning dress.henry slater is skeptical whether elizabeth will come,for the last time when mrs slater and elizabeth hadquarrelled, she had vowed never to pay a visit again totheir house. mrs slater gives henry new slippers of herfather. she also plans to take away the new bureau of thegrandfather and shift it to their room, before elizabeth andben arrive. both the husband and wife, lock the front doorand shift the bureau down and put their old chest of drawersthere. victoria wants to know why they were stealinggrandfathers things but her mother tells her to remainquiet. grandpas new clock is also taken away. meanwhilethere is loud knocking at the door and the slaters takeplenty of time to look normal. mrs jordan and ben pretendto be emotional at the death of mr abel merryweather.both the ladies compare their mourning dresses, criticisingthe others outfit. mrs jordan is surprised to discover thatno doctor had been summoned to check on her father. mrsslater insists in a stubborn manner that she had been keenon mr pringle and if he was out of station, they couldntbe offensive and call someone else. mrs slater revealsthat her father had been happy in the morning and he hadapparently gone to pay the premium of his insurance policy.he was generally going to ring-o-bells frequently andthe night before he had come drunk and had gone to bedwithout having dinner. mrs jordan and ben prefer to havetea before going and looking up father. all four of themstart discussing about the obituary and the kind ofannouncement in the newspapers to be inserted. mrs jordanwants a long poem but mrs slater protests by saying thatit will cost a lot. meanwhile mrs jordan reveals that herfather had willed his gold watch to her son jimmy. mrsslater feels very offended and refuses to believe it. victoriasays that grandfather had not gone in the morning to payhis premium but had instead gone over to the ring ofbells, the public house, managed by john shorrockswidow. everyone starts blaming the old man for not payinghis premium. victoria is instructed to go over to grandpasroom to get the receipt of the premium. mrs jordan issurprised to note a new bureau and she wishes to know thedetails, because she doubts mrs slaters version. victoriaenters, looking dazed. she gives the shocking news thatgrandpa was stirring and moving. after some time mrabel merryweather enters and is surprised to see his otherdaughter and son-in-law, mr and mrs jordan. he revealsthat he was well and just had a slight headache he noticeshenry wearing his new slippers and takes them. abelswishes to know, why all were in mourning dresses. mrsjordan makes up some story to pacify him. abelmerryweather enjoys tea and has a generous slice of theapple-pie. he grumbles and scolds mrs slater for takingaway his bureau. mrs jordan gets agitated and accuses hersister of robbing her father. the husbands also join theirwives in hurling accusations at each other abel discoversabout his death. he addresses his daughters directly anddeclares that he was going to change his will and all themoney will go to the one, in whose house he dies. boththe daughters fight with each other to keep their father.abel is amused and watches all the fun. at last he makeshis announcement which shocks everyone. on monday, hewould go to the lawyer and alter his will, then he wouldgo to the insurance office and pay his premium. after thathe would go to the church and get married to mrs shorrock.everyone is shocked. abel reveals that he had at last foundsomeone who was happy to keep him. he exits with aninvitation of his marriage. he also thanks mrs slater forshifting the bureau down-stairs for now it will be easy tocart it away to ring-o-bells.wordmeanings outshine : to compete and try to overdo more than theother speck : a bit or particle trifles : small smallthings complacent : easily satisfied outfit : dress accustomed : used to regrettable : worth regretting chirpy : cheerful furtively : in a sky manner etiquettes : manners swindling : cheating reluctantly : hesitatingly disparaging : to speak ina hurting manner transfixed : stunned vindictive :revengeful disconcerted : to be disturbed snappishly : irritablysummative assessment textbook questions (solved)5. answer the following questions briefly.(a) how does mrs slater plan to outshine thejordans? what does it reveal about hercharacter?ans. mrs slater has managed to procure a black dressfor mourning, though it is not complete. she believes thather mourning outfit would still be better than mrs jordans,who might not have managed to arrange it also. herobsession for a mourning dress reveals that she is a frivolousand pretentious woman who is not distressed at the deathof her father and is bothered more about worldlypretensions.(b) why does mrs slater decide to shift the bureaufrom grandfathers room before the arrival ofthe jordans? how does henry react to thesituation?ans. mrs slater wishes to steal the bureau and shiftit in her room and replace it by her old chest of drawers.the bureau was new so now with her fathers death, shewishes to possess it before her sister comes and henry isnot that greedy and suggests that his wife must-discuss itwith her sister before taking it away. later he gets persuadedby his dominating wife.(c) what is the reason for the jordans taking along time to get to the house of the slaters?what does it show about the attitude of the twosisters towards each other?ans. mrs jordan took a lot of time to reach the homeof the slaters because she wanted to get a complete newmourning dress before coming. both the sisters are notgrief-stricken at the death of their father but are trying toout shine each other in wearing their best mourning dresses.for the sisters grief is to be depicted through mourningdressand not through the feelings in ones heart.(d) what does mrs jordan describe as a fatalmistake? what is the irony on the commentshe makes on mrs slaters defence?ans. mrs. jordan believes that not sending for thedoctor at her fathers death was a fatal mistake. mrsslater clarifies immediately that since it was mr pringlewho had always attended on her father, it would be againstprofessional etiquette to call someone else. mr pringle wasout of town so they didnt call anyone else.(e) ben appreciates grandfather saying its agood thing he did. later he calls him adrunken old beggar. why does he change hisopinion about grandfather?ans. ben appreciates the grandfather for paying thepremium of his insurance policy. when he hears thatgrandfather had not gone that day to pay the premium, hechanges his stand and calls him a drunken old beggarsince the grandfather had gone to ring-o-bells.(f) what change does the grandfather make in hisnew will? what effect will it have on hisdaughters?ans. the grandfather decides that he will change hiswill. he decides to leave all the things to whomsoever hesliving with when he dies. the daughters get agitated andconsider it unfair. both of them compete with each otherto keep grandfather with them. none of them wanted to bedeprived of their share.(g) what are the three things that grandfatherplans to do on monday next?ans. the grandfather plans to alter his will, pay hispremium of the insurance policy and get married to johnshorrocks widow.6. answer the following in detail :(a) how does the spat between the two daughtersleads to the grandfather discovering the truth?ans. abel merryweather recognises his bureau andwants to know the reason for its shifting. mrs slater hadalready told her sister that the bureau belonged to them.this lie is enough to set tongues wagging and tempersescalating. mrs jordan accuses her sister of stealing herfathers things, thinking him to be dead. that is when abeldiscovers that they had gathered there for the officialmourning of his death.(b) compare and contrast henrys character withhis wife:ans. henry is timid and honest by nature. soft atheart, he tends to get bullied by his dominating wife. initiallyhe protests against stealing the grandfathers slippers andbureau but when mrs slater forces him, he gets carriedaway. he is a worried looking man who believed what hiswife says and ends up supporting her. mrs slater by contrastis vain, pretentious and greedy. she makes the plans and heexecutes them with his wifes help of course.some important questions1. discuss the significance of the title of the play.bring out the irony inherent in it?orin what way is the play satirical? comment onthe nature of its characters.ans. the title is very appropriate and packed with greatirony and wit that makes a farce of all relationships thatare most intense and pious. children like the slaters andthe jordans are a blot on humanity and on the bonds oflove and affection. both amelia and her sister considertheir father abel merryweather a burden and his death isno loss to them. the father is taken lightly. immediatelyafter abels supposed death, the elder daughter pinches hisslippers, clock and his bureau. for both the daughters,fathers death is a kind of competition to outshine eachother. there is no mourning in their hearts, but both thedaughters vie with each other to wear the best mourningdress. mrs jordan wants to have her tea and snacks ratherthen looking at her dead father. accusations are hurled ateach other, death announcement is planned but no one sparesa thought for the father. an obituary should reflect theirfeelings, that are non-existent. it is only the grand daughtervictoria, who is a sole witness to this game of pinchingthings and benefits. in a lighter tone, abel merryweatherhad sensed the mercenary nature of his daughter so heoutwits them in their planning. he finds a widow to marrywho would look after him better. the lesson ends on ahumorous note but outlines a very tragic and patheticconcern care of the elderly that is a glaring and uglyreality of todays world.reference to context mcqsread the following extracts and choose the correctoption.1. mrs slater : im amazed at you, victoria, i reallyam. how can you go gallivanting about in thestreet with your grandfather lying dead and coldupstairs, i dont know. be off now, and changeyour dress before your aunt elizabeth and youruncle ben come. it would never do for them to findyou in colours.(i) mrs slater is angry with victoria because(a) she is moving around too much(b) she is wasting time in the street(c) she hasnt changed her dress(d) shes not bothered about her grandfathersdeath(ii) aunt elizabeth and ben are paying a visit to(a) offer condolence for the old mans death(b) check upon the old man(c) lay their hands on his belongings(d) to show to mrs slater their sorrow over thedeath(iii) mrs slater appears to be a lady who is veryparticular about(a) ceremonies(b) relatives(c) condolence(d) mourning dresses on deathanswer : (i) (c) (ii) (d) (iii) (d)2. mrs slater : my hearts fit to break when i see thetrifles that belonged to grandfather lying around,and think hell never use them again.here! youd better wear these slippers ofgrandfathers now : its lucky hed just got a newpair.(i) mrs slater is very disturbed because(a) her father is dead(b) his things are lying scattered(c) she has to make arrangements(d) she cannot afford to have his things wasted(ii) mrs slater is very resourceful as(a) she manages to make all the arrangements(b) she is able to use her fathers slippers(c) she has managed to inform her sister(d) she has managed to get tea ready for relatives(iii) from the above statement it is clear that mrsslater was(a) resourceful (b) miserly(c) greedy (d) vainanswer : (i) (d) (ii) (b) (iii) (c)3. victoria : are we pinching it before aunt elizabethcomes?henry : (shocked) no, my child. grandpa gave itto your mother before he died.(i) victorias remarks reflect upon the behaviorof the adults that they are(a) hypocrites (b) mercenary(c) greed-driven (d) clever(ii) henry proves to be __________ from hisstatement.(a) submissive (b) gullible(c) hen-pecked (d) vulnerable(iii) such pretensions and manipulativebehaviour ends up __________ the lives ofchildren like victoria(a) benefitting (b) guiding(c) harming (d) confusinganswer : (i) (a) (ii) (c) (iii) (d)4. mrs slater : i could never fancy buying readymadethings.ms jordan : no? for myself its such a relief to getinto the black.(i) the above conversation reveals that both thedaughters are not __________ at the death oftheir father.(a) emotional (b) grief-stricken(c) sad (d) concerned(ii) death has become an occasion for only(a) sad expressions(b) flaunting mourning dresses(c) funeral services(d) prayers(iii) the above conversation reveals that both thesisters are(a) jealous (b) competitive(c) vicious (d) concernedanswer : (i) (b) (ii) (b) (iii) (c)5. mrs jordan : i like never forgotten. its refinedhenry : yes, but its rather soon for that.ben : you couldnt very well forget him the dayafter.(i) do you believe the conversation taking placeabove is(a) emotional (b) authentic(c) genuine (d) pretentious(ii) the comment of ben is(a) humorous (b) pretentious(c) ironical (d) satirical(iii) the relatives above are discussing about__________ to be given in the newspaper.(a) obituary (b) announcement(c) tribute (d) noticeanswer : (i) (d) (ii) (d) (iii) (a)6. shes never been here since grandfather broughtit. if it was only down here instead of in his room,shed never guess it wasnt our own.(i) these words are said by(a) victoria (b) amelia(c) elizabeth (d) henry(ii) the word it referred to here is(a) the ornaments (b) the clock(c) the chest of drawers (d) bureau(iii) the speaker is planning to(a) steal the clock before her sister comes(b) bring the bureau downread the following extracts and answer the questionsthat follow :1. it would never do for them to find you incolours.(i) identify the speaker and the listener.ans : the speaker is mrs. slater and the listener isher daughter victoria.(ii) who is referred to as them in the abovestatement?ans : them refers to mrs. and mr. jordan.(iii) explain in colours.ans : victoria is wearing colourful clothes,whereas she should be wearing a mourning dress.(iv) what is the context of the above remark?ans : victorias grandfather is supposed to be dead.2. elizabeths that sharp shell see im after it andshell drive a hard bargain over it. eli, what it isto have a low money grubbing spirit?(i) what is elizabeths relation with thespeaker?ans : elizabeth is the speaker mrs slaters sister.(ii) what bargain is being discussed here?ans : the plan of shifting the grandpas bureaubefore elizabeth arrives.(iii) explain low money grubbing spirit.ans : it refers to money-mindedness, or greed topossess things.(iv) what do the above remarks reflect aboutthe speakers attitude and nature?ans : the speaker herself is very mean,manipulative and clever.3. no, my child, grandpa gave it to your motherbefore he died.(i) identify the speaker and the listener.ans : the speaker is henry slater and he isaddressing his daughter.(ii) what does it refer to?ans : it refers to the bureau(iii) what impression do you form of thespeakers from the above statement?ans : both the slaters are greedy and greathypocrites.(iv) what do you think will be the impact ofthe above statement on the listener?ans : victoria will end up losing respect for herparents.4. he is too honourable to have gone withoutpaying his premium.(i) who is the speaker and who is thelistener?ans : mrs. jordan is the speaker and her sister isthe listener.(ii) who is he in the above statement?ans : he is abel merryweather, mrs slater andmrs jordans father.(iii) what is the speakers relation with theperson mentioned.ans : she is abels daughter.(iv) what is the speakers conception ofhonour?ans : honour refers here to paying onesinsurance premium.(c) send the child up to bring the keys(d) sell the old chest of drawersanswer : (i) (b) (ii) (d) (iii) (b)7. (chirpily) now, amelia, you mustnt give way.weve all got to die sometime or other. it mighthave been worse.(i) who speaks these words?(a) ben (b) mrs. slater(c) mrs. jordan (d) victoria(ii) the speaker is prompted to utter these wordsto amelia so that / because(a) she should not cry.(b) she need not show off.(c) he knew her real nature and wanted tocaution her that when they would face sucha situation, it would be still worse.(d) he wanted to be lively and humorous in thatgrim situation.(iii) the literary device used in the given lines is :(a) personification (b) irony(c) alliteration (d) metaphoranswer : (i) (a) (ii) (c) (iii) (b)reference to context non-mcqs5. i like never forgotten. its refined.(i) who is the speaker?ans : mrs jordan is the speaker.(ii) what is the context of the above remark?ans : the discussion is regarding the obituary to beput in the newspaper.(iii) for whom is never forgotten used?ans : for abel merryweather.(iv) point out the irony inherent in the aboveremark.ans : it was only in words that he was not forgottenin its reality both the daughters had forgotten him already.6. hes done it on purpose, just to annoy us.(i) identify he and us.ans : he is abel merryweather and us meansthe jordans and slaters.(ii) mention the context of the above remark.ans : the discussion is whether abel has paid hisinsurance premium or not.(iii) what mistake has the person mentionedmade?ans : abel appears to have deliberately messed outpaying the premium.(iv) do you think the speakers and the otherslike him deserve that kind of treatment?ans : yes, they do because they are all very greedy.7. drat me if that isnt my clock too. what thedevils been going on in the house?(i) what is the confusion regarding the clock?ans : abel merryweathers clock has been pinchedby his daughter.(ii) what exactly has been going on in thehouse?ans : mrs. slater, the daughter, thought that herfather was dead and she was taking away his things.(iii) who is the speaker and whom is headdressing?ans : the speaker is abel and he is addressing hisdaughters.(iv) what do the above remarks reflect aboutthe listeners?ans : the listeners are very greedy and notattached to their father.8. mrs jordan, you know father, its quite timeyou come to live with us again wed make youvery comfortable.(i) what has brought about the above changein the speakers attitude?ans : the fathers new terms for the will hasbrought about this change.(ii) what about the above turn of events?ans : abel has announced that his money will go tothe daughter with whom he would be staying at the timeof his death.(iii) who is instrumental in this change andwhy?ans : the greedy nature of his daughters hasbrought this change.(iv) what does it reflect about mrs jordanscharacter?ans : mrs. jordan is very mercenary, greedy andopportunistic.9. i felt i was bit of a burden to you, so i foundsomeone whod think it a pleasure to look after me.(i) for whom is the speaker supposed to be aburden?ans : abel is supposed to be a burden for hisdaughters.(ii) who is the speaker and who are thelisteners?ans : abel is the speaker and both the daughtersand their husbands are the listeners.(iii) who has the speaker found to look afterhim?ans : abel has found a widow, mrs shorrock, tolook after him.(iv) how does the speakers decision affect thelisteners?ans : the daughters are denied all the rights to theproperty and money of their father.10. ill tell you what ive got to do. on monday nextive got to do three things.(i) who is the speaker?ans : abel merryweather, the father.(ii) what has he decided to do?ans : he has decided to marry mrs shorrod, awidow, who runs a school in the neighbourhood.(iii) why did he take such a decision?ans : he took such a decision so that mrs. shorockwould take care of him. his own daughters were verygreedy and were not attached to him.1. why does mrs slater instruct victoria tochange her dress?ans : mrs. slater is very particular about mourningdresses. since her father has expired, she instructs herdaughter victoria to quickly change her colourful dressinto something sober, before the guests and relativesarrive.2. why were mr and mrs jordan visiting theslaters after so many years?ans : since mr abel merryweather had expired,mrs. jordan, the daughter, was visiting her sisters family,to look after the arrangements to be made for the fathersdeath.3. henry says, i suppose its in the family. whydoes henry make this comment and what doesit reflect about the two sisters?ans : henry is well aware that both the sisters mrsslater and mrs. jordan are very mean and calculative, sothey will not lose any chance to pinch things belonging totheir family. when his wife brings the new slippers of herfather and gives to henry, he makes this humorouscomment.4. mother and me is going to bring grandfathersbureau down here. who makes this remarkand in what context? what does this reflectabout the speaker?ans : henry slater tells his daughter victoria that theywere shifting grandfathers bureau down because he hadgifted it to them. victoria cannot believe it. this remarkdepicts that henry is not only a hen-pecked husband butalso a hypocrite, who just does what his wife tells him. hehas no individuality of his own.5. for myself its such a relief to get into theblack. who makes the above remark and whatis the context?ans : mrs jordan makes the above remark because shegot delayed due to a new mourning dress for herself. shewas not bothered about her father but worried aboutappearing in a new mourning dress. this indicates herpretentious nature without any thought for her father.6. mrs slater says, he must have gone round tothe ring-o-bells afterwards, for he came inas merry as a sand boy regarding abelmerryweather. do you think this remark is aprediction of the things to come?ans : yes, this remark is a death-knell on the plansforged by the two sisters to grab their fathers money. thefact that abel is going there too often and is lookingextremely pleased is a prediction of the future course ofthings.7. mrs jordan, we want a verse that says howmuch we loved him and refers to all his goodqualities and says what a heavy loss werehad. point out the irony in this remark.ans : mrs. jordan, the daughter, wishes to show to theworld how much they all loved their father, by choosingsuch words for his obituary. but the irony is that in reality,they do not love him nor do they care for any of his goodqualities.8. after all ive done for him, having to put upwith him in the house these three years. itsnothing short of swindling who makes thisremark and what does this reflect about thespeakers attitude?ans : mrs. slater makes the above remark in greatagitation when abel states that his entire property will goto the person with whom he would be staying, at the timeof his death, mrs. slater feels cheated. she believes thatlooking after her father for these years has not benefittedher at all.9. describe the reaction of all slaters and thejordans when abel merryweather walks in theparlour?ans : both the jordans and the slaters are too shocked.there are no gasps of relief, none of them heaves a sighof happiness. both the sisters are displeased to see theirfather alive. they had spent quite some money on theirmourning dresses. mrs. jordan had made this visit onlybecause of her fathers death.10. why are amelia and elizabeth reluctant to tellthe truth to their father regarding theirmourning dresses? what stories do they cookup to convince their father?ans : abel merryweather is shocked to see hisdaughters in mourning dresses and when he wishes toknow the reason, he is told that bens brother has expired.they further tell lies that the brother was in australia andhe was older by five years.11. why does mr abel merryweather decide tomake another will? what is the reaction of theothers?ans : abel notices how his things are pinched awayand his daughters are wearing mourning dresses, withouteven going and looking him up. mrs slater is shocked andeven after keeping father for three years, abel has decidedto gift his money to the daughter, who will be with him atshort answer questions1. you are a neighbour of mrs slater on uppercornbank street. you have witnessed theindifferent and insensitive manner in whichmrs slater looks after her father and how thepoor father contrives ways to stay out of thehouse. write a letter to a friend expressing yourgrave concern at the way in which the elderlypeople are neglected.ans : post carter road,mumbai30 march, 2010dear alina,with a heavy heart, i am writing this letter as ifear for our advancing age. the slaters are our neighboursand mrs. slater treats her father so badly, that i fear howour old age will fare. the old father is very sporting, friendlyand happy-go-lucky and still treated badly. he is not thedemanding type, but still mrs. slater is always cribbingabout keeping him. mr abel, that is his name, hardly staysat home and goes about to visit people even when he issick and should be tended. his granddaughter victoria isthe only one who cares for him but a child cannot haveher way. mrs slater is always trying to take away mr abelsthings, one way or the other. these days he appears tobe looking better because i have heard in the neighbourhood,that he is apparently seeing some old widow mrs. shorrock.atleast there is some light in his life, some flicker of hope.god save us from such children. i hope we do not faceany such problems. do write to me.your sister,agatha.2. discuss the character-sketch of mrs jordan andmrs slater as opposed to the characters of theirhusbands.ans : mrs slater is clever, manipulative and mean,much like her sister mrs. jordan. their aim in life is to donothing for their father and derive maximum benefit. ifamelia takes away her fathers slippers, bureau and clock,elizabeth wants to take away her fathers watch. both theladies spare no thought for their father and worry aboutoutdoing each other in wearing mourning dresses. forthem the death of their father is like a drama that needs tobe staged with best outfits. both the husbands arehenpecked and they go according to their wives. henryknows that his wife is an opportunist but he assists her incarrying the bureau down. the husbands have noindividualities except to pamper the whims of their wives.3. victoria is the only one who loves hergrandfather. she is also a witness to themanipulations and the mercenary beha