NCERT Solutions for Class 11 for English Chapter Mothers Day by JB Priestley
Reading with insight
Q1: 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?
ii. 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?
i. Mother's Day, a comical satire strongly condemns the position of women in society. The lady of the house, who does almost all the household chores, is never given her due respect. She receives no wages and no weekends off but works all day long, round the clock. Little do the rest of the people at home realise the hard work she puts in to make it all perfect. They take her for granted and never appreciate her or stop by to drop a word of 'thanks'. Through this play the author tries to highlight the fact that how lonely a woman can feel when all the members of her family leave early morning to work and then return in the evening just to get dinner. The play reminds us that the mistress of the house should be ready to put across her views with determination rather than surrender meekly. The womenfolk at home, work hard daily turning our houses into homes. The story very clearly states that they have equal right to relax, enjoy their lives and deserve acknowledgement and appreciation.
ii. The issue is convincingly resolved in the play. The mistress of the house asserts her position very firmly to the family members. The transformation of the personalities is symbolic. The author is portraying the fact that sometimes one has to put one's foot down. The issues that the story raises are genuine and we must heed them. We see that the major complaint of Mrs. Pearson is that her family does not spend time with her. They pay her no time or attention. She selflessly makes the home and asks nothing in return. Mrs. Fitzgerald, a determined lady who lives in the neighbourhood and a fortune teller, helps Mrs. Pearson by exchanging body with her and deals with Mrs. Pearson's family. She makes the Pearsons understand that Mrs. Pearson is a human after all and that even after working throughout day and night she receives no acknowledgement and appreciation from her family members. It is only when she stops doing the work, George, Doris and Cyril are convinced that how dependent they are actually on Mrs. Pearson. Finally when the three receive such harsh treatment and see Annie sitting back and not doing household chores, they feel helpless and find it all difficult to manage on their own. They realise that their lives are absolutely incomplete without Mrs. Pearson. The resolution of the play is perfect and very well decided. It teaches us the lesson that the lady of the house should be her due share of respect and recognition.
Q3 : Is drama a good medium for conveying a social message? Discuss.
Students should prepare the answer on their own. A model answer is given here for their reference.
Dramas are produced with an intention to portray life or characters or to tell a story. The story usually involves conflicts and emotions through action and dialogue and it is typically designed for theatrical performance. Apart from providing entertainment, dramas play a vital role in conveying a social message. Sometimes, they are used to highlight certain issues in the society. Dramas effectively engage the spectators when the characters come alive and equivocally make their point in front of them. The characters can raise questions, highlight the vital issues which may otherwise ignored and forgotten. People heed to what is displayed on the stage and get awareness on various issues. In the drama, ‘Mother’s Day’, J.B. Priestley emphasises the protest of a mother against her exploitation by her children and husband. The familial issues and problems find a good expression through this drama. The author succeeds in raising important issues about female empowerment and the need for love and respect towards family members through the medium of a drama.