1. 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.

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

How does Primrose tackle the question of her marriage? OR Do you think Primrose is an intelligent girl? Is her decision of Marrying wise? OR What is the difference between the attitude of Lucy and Primrose?

Primrose is brought up in a peculiar situation. Her mother has married and divorced her father, Charles, who was a handsome fellow. She has received her schooling among children of broken homes. Her mother has afforded her liberal altitude and latitude. She tackles the matter of her marriage wisely and tactfully.

Primrose is an intelligent, understanding sort of girl. She can put two and two together to appreciate a situation. She does not take sides but entertains a good view of both the parents. She has learnt an experience and made a worthwhile conclusion about the marriage of her parents.

She has fallen in love with John, a footballer of international repute. He is running an advertising agency quite successfully. But he is an ugly-looking fellow. He is not charming like her father. But that is what she does not prefer in her life. She says that the success of marriage life depends on sincerity of feelings between husband and wife. He can give her joy and comfort. He can make her happy. Primrose uses her friend Clarice, John’s sister, to break the news of her intended marriage with her brother.

Primrose discusses the question of her marriage from all points of view. She alludes to the failure of her mother’s marriage. She says that she is not so brave and hard working as her mother is. She needs security and protection of a male member. She tells that she is a marrying kind of woman like her aunt. She explains why she prefers an ugly-looking lover or husband and convinces her mother of her choice. Thus   Primrose   tackles   the   question   of   her   marriage intelligently and tactfully. Her decision is correct because John has a good heart in his ugly body. 291

Lucy is failed not only as a mother but failed as a wife. Elaborate. 2009

`Lucy is a young and charming woman of 40. She loves and marries a handsome man named Charles. She looks at the things outwardly. She gives importance to his physical beauty and does not try to know what type of man he is. This is the basic mistake she has committed in her life. Her marriage is based on romantic love. She expects of her husband to attend to her and love her. But he is insincere to her. She does not tolerate his this attitude and divorces her husband. She is not greedy woman. She wants love of her husband not money. She does not accept any alimony. Apparently it seems that she is responsible for the failure of her married life but the onus of failure rests on her husband.

She has decided to live without the support of male member. She has established the business of taxicabs and has beaten men at their own game. Now she has a flourishing business. Since she remains busy in her business she can not pay proper attention to the psychological needs of her daughter. She has sent her daughter for schooling among children of broken homes. Her mother has afforded her liberal altitude and latitude. She has brought up her daughter with great efforts. Her daughter is the centre of her attention. She is the only source of solace and peace for her. She finds herself secure and happy in her company. When Primrose declares to marry against her wish, she suffers from a sense of loss and separation. So, she is pained at it. She cannot tolerate her separation. But she allows her to marry because she knows that all men are not alike. Here it seems that she is failed as a mother but it is not so. Though she can not pay proper attention to her, yet she loves her deep. She says to john showing her deep love and affection, “If you’r not kind to primrose I shall shoot you.” She has not spoiled her daughter. She proves to be very sensible, sensitive and confident girl who considers that inner beauty is important than outer for successful married life.

  1. “It is always a losing game to be a mother,” says What does she mean by it?

Or       What is the reaction of Lucy at the decision of Primrose to an ugly man?

Or       What happens when primrose tells that she wants to marry the ugliest man of             London? 2009II

Lucy has divorced her husband. She is leading a lonely life. Her only companion and friend is her daughter. She has established the business of taxicabs and has beaten men at their own game. Now she has a flourishing business. She has brought up her daughter with great efforts. Her daughter is the centre of her attention. She is the only source of solace and peace for her. She finds herself secure and happy in her company. When Primrose declares to marry against her wish, she suffers from a sense of loss and separation. So, she is pained at it. She cannot tolerate her separation.

After separation from her husband, she has to fight on two fronts. She has to earn her livelihood and to bring up her daughter. In childhood, her daughter completely depends on her. Now, she is young. Her dependence on her mother dwindles. She wants to be herself. She wishes to marry an ugly man who weighs 190 pounds. She says that although John is ugly yet he has a loving heart. Lucy objects to it but soon gets ready.

Then she realizes with a sense of pain that she is engaged in a losing game. She feels that now she will be deprived of the company of her daughter. She will remain alone. There will be no source of her consolation. She is not worried at her daughter’s marrying ugly person. She is visited by a sense of loss. That is why, she proclaims, “It is always a losing game to be a mother” Lucy assures Primrose that ‘I shall be very glad to see your future husband.’

What kind of life did Lucy have? How was her independent career a living protest against the necessity of marriage? 1999

Life is crook and fights back crooked. Life is fighting back at me through Primrose. Write a note on married life of Lucy in the light of the above statement. 1996

            Lucy is a young and charming woman of 40. She loves and marries a handsome man named Charles. She gives importance to his physical beauty and does not try to know what type of man he is. This is the basic mistake she has committed in her life. Her marriage is based on romantic love. She expects of her husband to attend to her and love her. But he is insincere to her. She does not tolerate his this attitude and divorces her husband.

            She has decided to live without the support of male member. She is leading a lonely life. Now she has to fight on two fronts. She has to earn her livelihood and to bring up her daughter. In childhood, her daughter completely depends on her. Now, she is young. Her only companion and friend is her daughter. She has established the business of taxicabs and has beaten men at their own game. Now she has a flourishing business.

            In spite of this she is not happy. She is sad and broken hearted. So she says,” Can any one fight life successfully? Life is cunning, life is crook and fights back crooked. Life is fighting back at me through Primrose.”  She has brought up her daughter with great efforts. Her daughter is the centre of her attention. She is the only source of solace and peace for her. She finds herself secure and happy in her company. She expects much from her daughter. When Primrose declares to marry against her wish, she suffers from a sense of loss and separation. So, she is pained at it. She cannot tolerate her separation. It is then she proclaims, “It is always a losing game to be a mother” so Lucy is not happy and satisfied with her life. Her independent career is a protest against marriage. 307

All the important characters are not what they seem or profess to be. Discuss.

Smokes screen brings out the conflict or contrast between inner and outer life of human beings. Or Explain thee title of the play 2001-II

            All the characters in Smokes screen suffer from inner conflict. They are not what they seem to be. They are happy and satisfied outwardly but inwardly they suffer from tension.

            Lucy is a smoke screen of a kind mother to Primrose. She brings up her daughter properly. Primrose wants to marry the ugliest man in London. Lucy does not agree but soon she gives her consent and pretends to be happy and satisfied hiding a lurking tension in her heart. She is inwardly broken and unhappy. She says that she will shoot John if he is not kind to Primrose. She will remain behind the screen.

            Charles Aston is a smokes Screen of a crooked and insincere person. He is beautiful and charming outwardly but inwardly he is an ugly man. From his appearance he is a lady killer.

Primrose is also not as she seems to be. She is a smokes screen of loving, beautiful, attractive and charming daughter. She goes out at night to night clubs decorated face. Without decoration, she considers herself naked. She marries the ugliest man in London. This decision startles reader and shocks her mother.

            John is a smokes screen of a good and nice man. His physical appearance is a smokes screen. He is ugly outwardly but inwardly he is a beautiful and charming man.

Susan is also not as she seems to be. She is a smokes screen of good woman who has regard for moral values. She is a liar and hypocrite.

            So, we can say that all the character suffer from inner and outer conflict. They are hiding their true identities and are using their outward faces as screens. 279

Write a short note on Victorian morality.

Queen Victoria raised the moral standards of the upper and middle classes and vice became unfashionable. Her era was well-known for the virtues of piety, honesty and integrity of character.

Susan represents the Victorian attitude to life. She does not approve of Primrose’s liberty and latitude that her mother has allowed her. She hates her smoking. She objects to her independent movements. She is a practical and well meaning sort of lady. But she sticks to Victorian values. She would even spank a child, if necessary, to teach discipline. The Victorians treated their children harsh when young because they were going to be rich when old. They trained children to fit them for life’s battles. Susan is a country wife. Her marriage with her husband is successful. She has two immaculate sons. The success of her married life has depended on the integrity of character. Divorce in her case is out of question.

Lucy serves as a bridge between the aunt and the niece. She understands Victorian attitudes and objections to the behaviour of children. She trusts her daughter and has full faith in her. 185

Who is John ? What is his appearance ?

Ans: John is brother of Clarice who is Primrose’s friend. He is an ugly fellow. Primrose chooses him for her husband. His sister Clarice admits this fact that he is the ugliest fellow of France. His external appearance is very ugly. According to Clarice, he is an absolutely devoid of beauty because ‘not ugly plus charm’. His face like a full moon with bristles on the top of it i.e. on his head he has rough hair. He is clean-shaven. He is clean, every way, but if a smudge is put on his nose it might improve it because it would be visible. She says that his weight is approximately one hundred and ninety pounds like a charging bull. Due to his over-weight he has given up dance.

Clarice more explains hid ugliness statically in these words that he is as much charming as a hippopotamus. In the end, she says that God has made him and no beauty parlour can do anything for him.

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