Answer the following in detail:
Question 1: Bring out the irony in the title of the play.
Answer: The title of the play ‘The Dear Departed’ portrays a big irony. The supposedly departed soul is not dear to anyone in the family. Moreover, the man who was presumed to be dead just woke up from his slumber. So, both the words in the title portray the underlying irony in the play. The old man is neither dear nor dead.
Question 2: How does the spat between his daughters lead to grandfather discovering the truth?
Answer: When Mrs. Slater and Mrs. Jordan start quarrelling about bureau, clock and many other things, the grandfather could realize what was going around. He was astonished to see that his daughters were in mourning dresses because they thought him to be dead. They did not even wait for a day to squabble over their shares in the booty.
Question 3: Compare and contrast Henry's character with that of his wife. Support your answer with evidence from the play.
Answer: Henry is just opposite to his wife. While Mrs. Slater believes in show and pomp, Henry is a simpleton. This is evident in the description of his dress at the beginning of the play. Mrs. Slater is a greedy woman who wants to gobble up everything after the death of her father. But Henry wants to discuss such matters in the presence of Mrs. Jordan. He wants a fair distribution of the inheritance. This is evident from the way he asks his wife to wait when Mrs. Slater commands him to bring down the bureau.
Question 4: Bring out the traits in Mrs. Slater's personality quoting evidence from the play.
|Quoting||Evidence from the play|
|Greedy||Her desire to shift the bureau and clock.|
|Overpowering/dominating||She always gives orders to Henry and Victoria.|
|Blunt/straight-talking||She tells Henry about lack of finances and the stress she feels while managing with meager resources.|
|Impolite||She does not show even an iota of respect for her father.|
|Insensitive||She says that she does not like readymade garments; when asked about the mourning dress.|
Answer the following with reference to the context.
Question 5: Are we pinching it before Aunt Elizabeth comes?"
- What does 'it' refer to here?
Answer: It refers to the bureau.
- How does Vicky conclude that her parents are 'pinching it'?
Answer: Vicky discovers that her parents have shifted the bureau downstairs before the Jordans arrive. This gives her a signal that her parents wanted to avoid the situation when Mrs. Jordan may make claim for it.
- Mention the two reasons that Mrs. Slater gives for her action.
Answer: She says that Mrs. Jordan is an expert in bargaining. She also says that it was gifted to her by grandfather.
- What does it reveal about the difference between the attitude of the elders and that of Vicky?
Answer: The elders are greedy while Vicky is not.
Question 6: "I don't call that delicate, stepping into a dead man's shoes in such haste."
- Who makes this comment?
Answer: Mrs. Jordan
- What prompts the speaker to say this?
Answer: The fact that Henry was wearing grandfather’s slippers.
- Bring out the significance of this statement.
Answer: Stepping into someone’s shoes is used in proverbial sense. It means taking all the responsibilities with equal aplomb as the predecessor. But filling someone else’s shoes takes its own sweet time. It can never be done in haste.
Question 7: "Now, Amelia, you mustn't give way. We've all got to die some time or other. It might have been worse."
- Who is the speaker of these lines?
- What prompts the speaker to say these words?
Answer: When Mrs. Slater is trying to share the news of demise of the old man.
- What does he mean when he says 'It might have been worse'?
Answer: He means that it could be Mrs. Slater who could have died or any other person instead of the old man.
- What does it reveal about the speaker's character?
Answer: The jovial way in which Ben is saying this shows that he has a good sense of humor. He can lighten the moods with his jovial nature.