SOMETHING TO TALK ABOUT

4. SMOKES SCREEN

Discuss the conflict between old and new generations. Or
Smokes screen as a comedy of conflicts? Or
What type of ideas three main characters in the play, Primrose, Lucy and Susan represent? Or
What is the theme of the play?

The play ‘Smoke-Screens’ presents the conflict between old and new generations on three levels. Conflict is one of the themes of the play. Susan aged 50, represents the old while Primrose, 20 years of age, stands for the young generation. Lucy who is 40 years old serves as a bridge between the two.

Susan is a simple country wife. Her married life is greatly successful. She does not approve of smoking, make up and going out on the part of Primrose. She does not like personal freedom that her niece enjoys. People of old generation advocate discipline and strict control over the children. They don’t wish to give them a free hand. They keep an eye on the activities of a child. She prefers even to spank a child in order to teach discipline.

Primrose is a young girl of modern age. She has progressive views. To her, smoking is not something to be taken seriously. Going out to see friends is not a matter to be worried about. Applying make-up for attractive appearance is a matter of personal freedom. She says going with out make up is just like going out naked. She is vocal and outspoken. She pays no heed to moral lecture of her aunt. Primrose enjoys an intimacy with her mother whom she addresses by name rather than relationship.

Lucy is the mother of Primrose. She has ruined her married life. She has divorced her handsome husband. She runs her own business of taxicab. Lucy bridges the gap-between the two. She is well aware of the old values and is also conversant with the modern trends. She gives her daughter latitude and shows full faith in her. She does not put any restriction on her daughter. She is also not against her going to night clubs. 323
The conversation between Susan and Lucy is an analysis and appreciation of the conflict between the old and the new generations.

CONFLICT BETWEEN SUSAN AND PRIMROSE

How is Susan responsible for the conflict between herself and Primrose? OR Discuss the duplicity of Susan as the cause of her conflict and difference with primrose.

Primrose and her aunt Susan don’t have happy relations with each other because of generation gap. Susan aged 50, represents the old while Primrose, 20 years of age, stands for the young generation. Susan is responsible for the conflict between her and Primrose. She becomes rude to her when her aunt teases her and tries to detain her from going to night club by concealing her bag. Primrose does not go to club without applying lipstick. So she pushes her aunt and finds her bag from under her. This makes her rude to her aunt. Generation gap is also another reason of their conflict.
Primrose is a young girl of modern age. She has progressive views. To her, smoking is not something to be taken seriously. Going out to see friends is not a matter to be worried about. Applying make-up for attractive appearance is a matter of personal freedom. She says going with out make up is just like going out naked. She is vocal and outspoken. She pays no heed to moral lecture of her aunt.
On other hand, Susan is a simple country wife. She has orthodox views about life. She does not approve of smoking, make up and going out on the part of Primrose. She does not like personal freedom that her niece enjoys. She advocates discipline and strict control over the children. She does not wish to give them a free hand. An eye should be kept on the activities of a child. She prefers even to spank a child in order to teach discipline. So the generation gap between the old and the young is the main cause of conflict. 277

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