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Chapter 5- Should Wizard Hit Mommy? Questions Answers

Subjects

Question 1 :
What is the moral issue that the story raises?

Answer 1 :

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.

Question 2 :
How does Jo want the story to end? Why?

Answer 2 :

Jo, like any normal child, wanted the story to have a happy ending. She did not want the skunk to be shunned by his friends for a lifetime. She was happy when the skunk smelt of roses and gained acceptability. So, she could not bear the fact that Roger Skunk’s mommy felt that a skunk should smell like one and had him changed back.

Jo was sorry for the skunk who had been insulted by the other creatures for such a long time. She wanted 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.

Question 3 :
Why does Jack insist that it was the wizard that was hit and not the mother?

Answer 3 :

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.

Question 4 :
What makes Jack feel caught in an ugly middle position?

Answer 4 :

Jack continued telling the story even when he heard Clare moving around heavy furniture though she was six months pregnant. After Jack finished the story, he went downstairs. He saw his wife, Clare wearing an old shirt of his on top of her maternity dress, painting the chair.
He thought of the woodwork as confining as a cage and felt himself caught in an ugly middle position.

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. The 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. When Jo thought the story was over, jack resented her attitude. He did not like women when they took anything for granted. He liked them apprehensive, hanging on to his words.

Question 5 :
What is your stance regarding the two endings to the Roger Skunk story?

Answer 5 :

Agreeing with the end of Jo’s story:

  • Poetic justice—good rewarded
  • Tiny skunk was innocent so it was unfair to punish him
  • The skunk had found friends after a long time
  • Being isolated and humiliated is not good for a child’s psyche
  • Mommy needed to sympathise with Roger Skunk’s emotion
Agreeing with the end of Jack’s story:

  • The world is based on individual differences
  • One has to be true to one’s identity
  • Parents are a better judge of the situation
  • Life has to be accepted in totality in all its colours

Question 6 :
Why is an adult’s perspective different from that of a child?

Answer 6 :

An adult’s perspective is different from that of a child’s because

  • children have a rose-tinted view of the world while adults are more realistic, even cynical.
  • duty, morals, individuality, etc. are terms that children realise later in life.
  • children understand only the reality that they have been exposed to and cannot think of ideas and feelings in abstraction.
  • children understand only basic emotions such as happiness and sadness.
  • children cannot justify or explain an unhappy ending.

Question 7 :
How did Jo respond to her father’s story-telling?

Answer 7 :

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.

Question 8 :
What similarity did Jack view in Roger Skunk and himself?

Answer 8 :

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.

Question 9 :
How did the Wizard help the skunk?

Answer 9 :

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.

Question 10 :
How did Roger Skunk find the extra pennies?

Answer 10 :

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.


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Chapter 5- Should Wizard Hit Mommy? Contributors

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