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Should Wizard hit Mommy NCERT Solutions for Class 12 English Vistas Chapter 5
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Q1. Who is Jo? How does she respond to her father’s story telling?
Answer:Jo is the shortened form of Joanne. She is the four year old daughter of Jack and Clare. For the last two years, her father, Jack, has been telling her bed-time stories. Since these stories are woven around the same basic tale and have the same characters and turn of events,
She was an intelligent and inquisitive child. Her mind was bubbling with queries regarding whatever she heard or saw. Her responses to the stories were a curious mixture of emotions caught in recognition of the known and eagerness to explore the unknown aspects woven in the basic tale by her father. An impatient Jo wanted the story to move with a fast pace and yet cannot proceed with conflicting ideas or unresolved queries in her mind. She was also a very observant listener and corrected her father wherever she felt he faltered. The intensity of her engagement with the story was apparent from her body language and facial expressions. She empathized with the protagonist and rejected whatever did not fit in her own narrow world. The eagerness to understand and the restlessness to assert her point of view kept her awake. She was even willing to fight with her father and to coax him to end the story according to her standpoint. Her responses indicate that she had started developing a personality of her own.
Q2. What possible plot line could the story continue with?
Answer:From the perspective of Jo, the story should have ended with a happy note of Roger Skunk getting rid of the foul smell forever and being able to play with all other children. However, from the perspective of Jack, the story may not have such an innocent fairy tale ending. In the process of story telling, it was evident that Jack got nostalgic about his own childhood and his mother. Thus, he brought in his own perspective. His sense of belongingness to his mother and his experience of dealing with reality resulted in a mature and compromising end where the reality limited the scope of fiction. As he associated himself with Roger Skunk of his story, he avoided getting into the problematic situation of identity crisis and of blaming his mother.
Q. What do you think was Jo’s problem?
Answer:Little Jo had been accustomed to the happy ending of the stories of Roger, where the wizard was helpful to him in fulfilling his wish. At the request of Roger Skunk, the wizard had changed his awful smell to that of the roses. Other small animals liked it and played with Roger Skunk happily. She could not digest the ending of the extended story where Roger Skunk’s mother hit the wizard on the head and forced him to change Skunk’s smell to the earlier foul one.
Jo could not accept that mother’s stubbornness-hitting the well wisher of her son, Roger Skunk. Jo insisted that her father should tell her the same story again the next day with changed ending. The wizard should hit that unreasonable mummy on the head and leave Roger Skunk emitting the pleasant smell of roses. In the beautiful world of a child’s imagination, fairies and wizard’s are more real than reality itself. She could not digest the harsh realities of life. She did not like the unfeeling mother who hit the benefactor of her son.
Should Wizard hit Mommy Reading with insight
Q1.What is the moral issue that the story raises?
Answer:The characters in Jack’s stories held the narrator’s views that he had derived from personal experience. Telling the story to his daughter, Jo, Jack tried to encourage moral good. The characters react according to values based on his personal conviction.
In Roger Skunk’s story, the skunk smelt so bad that none of the other little creatures would play with him. With the skunk’s disgrace, Jack recalled his own humiliation as a child. The wizard granted Roger Skunk his wish and soon he smelt of roses. He found friends as a consequence of changing himself, but his mother felt that he smelt awful. She took him back to that “awful wizard”, and made the wizard change Roger back.
When Jo felt that Roger Skunk’s mommy was stupid, Jack emphatically defended her. He argued that the little skunk loved his mommy more than he loved all the other little animals and believed that his mommy knew what was right. Through his story, evidently, Jack reiterated the fact that parents know what is best for their children and advocates unquestioning obedience in the children.
Q2. How does Jo want the story to end and why?
Answer:Jo was not convinced with the ending of the story and coaxed her father to retell the story the next day giving the story a predetermined path that she had set. According to her, neither Roger Skunk nor the wizard was wrong in the story. Jo refused to accept the end where Roger Skunk’s mother hits the wizard and that too without being hit back. She wanted the story to end with the wizard hitting back the mother skunk with his magic wand and chopping off her arms ‘forcely’.
Q3.Why does Jack insist that it was the wizard that was hit and not the mother?
Answer:Jo’s insistence that the wizard should hit mommy back, angered Jack. Jack insisted that it was the wizard that was hit and not the mother because every time Jack created a story, he laced it with some autobiographical details. Roger Skunk’s insult was based on his own childhood—he remembered “certain humiliations” of his own. Jack felt he was telling her “something true, something she must know”. Thus, when Roger Skunk’s mommy found the smell of roses awful, she took him back to the wizard.
She hit the wizard right over the head with an umbrella and made him change his smell. When Jo insisted the wizard hit mommy, Jack refused to do so. Evidently, he had been taught by his own mother to embrace his individuality at the cost of popularity. He wished to pass on the moral to his daughter in the garb of a simple story. With “rare emphasis” Jack defended the mommy as if “he was defending his own mother to her”. He refused to alter the end and insisted that the little skunk loved his mommy more than he loved all the other little animals and she knew what was right for him.
Q4. What makes Jack feel caught in an ugly middle position?
Answer:Jack feels that he has been caught in an ugly middle position physically, emotionally as well as mentally. The woodwork, a cage of mouldings and rails and skirting boards all around them was half old tan and half new ivory.
He was conscious of his duties as a father and as a husband. Little Bobby was already asleep. His efforts to make Jo fall asleep proved quite fatiguing. She kept on interrupting him, asking for clarifications, pointing errors and suggesting alternatives.
Jack did not like that women should take anything for granted. He liked them to be apprehensive. So he extended the story, though he was in a haste to go down stairs and help his pregnant wife in her hard work of painting the woodwork. The result of the extension to the story proved unfruitful and unpleasant for Jo, Jack and Clare. Jo wanted him to change the ending of the story. Clare complained that he had told a long story. Jack felt utter weariness and did not want to speak with his wife or work with her or touch her. He was really caught in an ugly middle position.
Q5. What is your stance regarding the two endings to the Roger Skunk story?
Answer:Considering the tender age of Jo, both the endings seem a little irrational. It is certain that she will be learning from whatever she hears and visualizes at this age. If the story ends according to Jack, Jo will never be able to question anything she considers wrong in life since this ending stresses that elders are always right in whatever they do. In addition, the story shows the skunk’s mommy hitting the wizard for no fault of his. The wizard had only done what he was asked to. This may scare the four-year-old Jo, as it teaches that mothers, being elders, have the right to hit anyone, even if they are not at fault.
On the contrary, if the story ends as Jo wanted it to, it will stop her from believing in and respecting her elders. She may even start believing that there is nothing wrong in hitting elders.
A balanced view may be given in an apt ending, where the mommy either does not hit the wizard at all or realizes her mistake soon.
Q6. Why is the adult’s perspective on life different from that of a child?
Answer:A child’s speech and line of thought, his actions and reactions, are natural and not guided by any outward influence. He speaks from his heart in accordance with what is ethically right in his perspective. On the other hand, an adult has many things to consider before speaking or reacting. Thus, the influence of society governs and dominates his thoughts.
In this chapter, Jo speaks what she considers correct. But Jack, an adult caught in a dilemma, kept thinking on the consequences of accepting his daughter’s ending to the story and what the society has made him learn over time.
Should Wizard hit Mommy Extra Questions and Answers
Q1.How did Jo respond to her father’s story-telling?
Answer:Jo listened to her father’s stories with interest and looked forward to the ritual. However, Jack felt that working his way through this routine was especially tiring on Saturday, because Jo never fell asleep any more. Jo patiently listened to the story and at times predicted the happy end with delight.
Q2.What similarity did Jack view in Roger Skunk and himself?
Answer:The tiny little Roger Skunk smelt very bad. None of the other little woodland creatures agreed to play with him. He was alienated by his peers and he was left alone in tears. Jack’s empathy with the creature revealed that he had faced humiliations of a similar nature in his own childhood. He identified with the plight of Roger Skunk.
Q3.How did the Wizard help the skunk?
Answer:The Wizard rummaged around for his magic wand and asked Roger Skunk what he wanted to smell like. Roger replied that he wished to smell like roses. The skunk’s wish was fulfilled. He was pleased with his transformation and was happy to have friends to play with.
Q4.How did Roger Skunk find the extra pennies?
Answer:The Wizard asked the skunk to go to the end of the lane and turn around three times and look down the magic well and there he would find three pennies.
Q5.What had upset Jo about the Skunk’s story? How did Jack react to it?
Answer:Roger Skunk’s mother felt that Roger should smell like a little skunk and not like roses. She took Roger Skunk back to that wizard and hit him right over his head with an umbrella and made him change Roger back. This upset Jo, she wanted the wizard to hit Mommy back and refuse to change Roger back. Jo’s . reaction upset Jack. He tried to make her see how Roger Skunk’s mother knew what was best for Roger.
Q6.What story did Jo want to hear the next day? Why? What was the father’s reaction?
Answer:Jo pleaded with Jack to continue with the same story, the next day, where the wizard hit Roger’s mommy back with the magic wand. Being a child, she looked forward to a happy ending and could identify with the seclusion of the skunk. But Jack refused, he wanted the little skunk to listen to what his mommy thought was best for him. He reasoned with Jo that Roger loved his mother more than all the other little animals, and she knew what was right for him.
Should Wizard hit Mommy Long Answer Questions
Q1.Jack had a typical pattern of story that he told Jo. What was the pattern?
Answer:The characters in Jack’s stories were based on his personal experiences. Through the stories that he told his daughter Jo, Jack tried to encourage goodness and decency. The animal characters in each story, a small creature, usually named Roger (Roger Fish, Roger Squirrel, Roger Chipmunk), reacted according to values based on personal conviction. The character had some problem and went with it to the wise old owl. In Roger Skunk’s story, the skunk smelt so bad that none of the other little creatures would play with him.
The owl told him to go to the wizard, and the wizard performed a magic spell that solved the problem. The wizard would then demand in payment more pennies than that Roger Creature had, but he would direct the animal to a place where the money could be found. Then Roger would be happy and play many games with other creatures, and go home to his mother just in time to hear the train whistle that brought his daddy home from Boston and they would have a sumptuous meal.
Q2.What was Roger Skunk’s problem? How was it resolved?
Answer:In Roger Skunk’s story, Roger Skunk smelt very bad. It was because of his foul smell none of the other little creatures would play with him. Tiny animals called him Roger “Stinky Skunk” which made him miserable.He could do nothing but cry. The owl suggested that Roger Skunk meet the wizard. He told Roger that to go there the skunk needed to go through the dark woods, under the apple trees, into the swamp, over the crick to the wizard’s house. The wizard granted Roger Skunk his wish and soon he smelt of roses. He found friends with his new smell but his mother felt that he smelt awful. She took him back to that “awful wizard”, hit him on his head and the wizard made Roger Skunk smell bad again.
When Jo felt that Roger Skunk’s mommy was stupid, Jack emphatically defended her. He argued that the little skunk loved his mommy more than he loved all the other little animals and believed that his mommy knew what was right. Through his story, evidently, Jack reiterated the fact that parents know what is best for their children and advocates the unquestioning obedience of the children.
Q3.Why was Roger Skunk’s mommy not happy with the change in her child? What did she do?
Answer:When Roger Skunk went to the wizard and told him he had no friends because of his foul smell, the wizard with his magical powers changed Roger Skunk’s foul smell to a very pleasant one. When Roger Skunk ran out into the woods, smelling of roses, all the other animals gathered around him because he smelled so good: But Roger Skunk’s mommy felt that he smelt awful. She took Roger Skunk to the wizard and hit him over his head with an umbrella. She made the wizard make Roger Skunk smell very bad again. After Daddy Skunk came home from Boston they had a sumptuous meal and mommy hugged Roger Skunk and said he smelled like her baby.
Q4.Why was Jo not happy with end of story? Why did her father not agree with her?
Answer:Jo, like any other child, wanted the story to have a happy ending. She did not want the skunk to be rejected by his friends. She was happy when the skunk smelt of roses and was accepted by his friends. As a result she could not bear the fact that Roger Skunk’s mommy felt that a skunk should smell like one and she hit the wizard over the head, who in turn made Roger Skunk smell very bad again.
Jo felt sorry for the skunk who had been insulted by the other creatures for smelling bad. It was for the first time . that he had found company of his friends. Therefore, in order to change the end of the story, she wanted the wizard to hit the skunk’s mommy on the head and not change the little skunk back into a foul-smelling creature.
Q5.Jack’s stories were autobiographical. Justify this statement with reference to the skunk’s story.
Answer:Jack created the stories out of his mind. Therefore, the stories were bound to have some autobiographical details. The story of Roger Skunk who smelled so bad that none of the other little woodland creatures would play with him was out of his own childhood. He remembered “certain humiliations of his own”. He evoked Jo’s pity by tracing Roger Skunk’s tears along the side of her nose. Jack felt he was telling her “something true, something she must know”.
Thus, when Roger Skunk’s mommy found the smell of roses awful, she took him back to the wizard. She hit the wizard right over the head with an umbrella and made him change his smell to the original one. When Jo insisted the wizard hit mommy, Jack retorted sharply. With “rare emphasis”, Jack defended the mommy as if “he was defending his own mother to her”. He was not willing to alter the end of the story and insisted that the little skunk loved his mommy more than he loved all the other little animals, since she knew what was right for him.
Q6.The story depicts Jack’s tension based on his perception of gender roles. Give reasons to justify your answer.
Answer:While Jack was telling the story, he heard sounds of furniture being moved but he did not go down to help Clare, though he knew that she should not move heavy things as she was six months pregnant. After Jack finished the story, he went downstairs and saw his wife, Clare wearing an old shirt of his on top of her maternity dress, painting the chair. He visualized the woodwork as a cage and he felt caught in an ugly middle position.
He felt that both of them were caged together. He did not want to speak with her, work with her or touch her. This is a representation in fiction of the way in which the male psyche is reinforced by the patriarchal cultural climate of the 1950s that began to unravel during the 1960s and 1970s. This unsettling of gender roles and perspectives is further reflected in the story. The male chauvinistic attitude was reflected even while he was telling the story to his daughter, Jo, who assumed the story to be over. But, Jack did not like women when they took anything for granted; he liked them apprehensive, hanging on his words. Thus, he deliberately contained them in his story.
Q7.The story within a story is dealt with very convincingly. Justify.
Answer:Jack narrated the story of Roger Skunk to Jo. The story effectively brings out Jack’s emotions and the child’s perspective. Jack creates a story out of his mind with autobiographical details. In Roger Skunk’s isolation, he recalls “certain humiliations of his own”. He wishes Jo to know “something true”, something she must know “and has (had) no wish to hurry on”. Jack wishes her to realize that the skunk’s mommy loves him very much. She knows what is right for him. He defends the skunk’s mommy from Jo’s allegation of her being stupid, with rare emphasis, as though he was defending his own mother to her.
With Jo, on the other hand, Updike successfully brings out the child’s perspective. She has learnt about a new creature, a skunk, at nursery school, and wants him as the hero of her bedtime story. Her joy and sorrow is linked to that of the protagonist, the skunk. She does not want to dwell on his sorrow. On the contrary, she wants him to get over his troubles quickly and wishes for the story to have a happy ending. She expresses her emotions, likes and dislikes immediately, like any other four-year-old. She longs for the story to end on an optimistic note—“that the wizard took that magic wand and hit that mommy”.
Q8.What is your stance regarding the two endings to Roger Skunk’s story?
Answer:The end of Jo’s story ensures poetic justice—where good is rewarded. Roger Skunk was innocent and having him suffer comes across as unjust. The skunk had found friends after long. Being isolated and humiliated is not good for a child’s psyche. It is important that his mommy understood his need for acceptance amongst his peers. The end of Jack’s story gives out that the world is based on individual differences. One has to be true to one’s identity. Parents are better judge of the situation. One should accept of life in all its colours.
Q9.There is a hint of marital discord in the story. Justify.
Answer: Certain threads in the story, which come up, like digressions from time to time hint at the marital discord between Jack and his wife. When Jack heard a chair scrape downstairs, he realized his wife was at work but he “had no wish to hurry on”. He made a dispirited observation of Jo’s expression “without a trace of sincerity” and was reminded of his wife’s feigning pleasure at cocktail parties. He continued with the story, leaving his pregnant wife to move around heavy furniture.
After the story, Jack went downstairs and watched his wife labour, but did not help her. He felt “caught in an ugly middle position” and must have felt trapped in responsibility and marriage. The use of the image of the “cage” while reveals his dissatisfaction with his marriage. The story ends with the most poignant and telling lines—“…he did not want to speak with her, work with her, touch her, anything”.
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