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Should wizard hit mommy? -Question and answers

Q . 1 .What is the clash in the story?

Ans : Jack ended his story with Roger skunk’s mother hitting the wizard for giving a new smell to her son. In fact Joe had loved the previous ending of the story where Roger became a happy creature with the smell of roses that the wizard gave him. She was displeased by this new ending and wanted her father to make the wizard hit Roger’s mommy. But Jack was not ready to make any change as he thought Joe should accept him without questioning. As Jack had created Roger after himself and Roger’s mother after his own mother, he wanted the story remain a reminder to his daughter to understand the importance of yielding to her parents.

Q. 2 .Why did Jack bring in an addition to the story that had in fact ended?

Ans : Jack was a very peculiar father and man. He wanted women clinging to him rather than he yielding to them. When his story really ended as usual, Joe, his daughter began to show signs of it and looked distracted. He didn’t like this behavior of his daughter. According to him it was he who had to declare that the story was over. To establish his authority over the story, over his daughter and over all women, Jack took the story to a much unexpected twist and declared that the story was over.

Q . 3. How does Jack justify Roger’s mother? Why does he do so?

Ans : Interestingly, in all stories of Roger, Jack had infused his own childhood and placed himself as Roger and his mother as Roger’s mother. Jack did it because he was very much attached to his mother and had idealized the mother above all. He had certain limitations in his childhood but his mother didn’t blame him for his good or bad. She didn’t want her son change like the other boys of his age. What she wanted was a son who always remained her pet, obedient, unquestioning his parents. Jack wanted his children to be like he was to his mother.

Q. 4 . Jack appears to be an immature father. Discuss.

Ans : Jack is the father of two children yet he exhibits traits of an immature man and father. His mind is not as grown up as it is expected from a man of his age. He clung to rigid opinions like a small child. He felt angry with Joe when she took liberty to feel that the story had ended. In order to establish his authority over the story and the child, Jack added an unwanted tail to the story. When the daughter commented that the story ended badly, he fights with her over such a trifle, still behaving like a child.

Q . 5. How did Roger’s mother react to his son’s change of smell?

Ans : Roger had a very bad smell. He was very sad and disappointed about it. But his life changed after getting the smell of roses from a wizard. Though his friends loved Roger with the new smell, his mother expressed her vehement protest to it. She didn’t like the change. She loved her son with the hereditary smell, however bad it was.

Q . 6. Why was Roger’s mother unhappy about the end of the story?

Ans : Roger and his friends were greatly happy with the smell of roses Roger got from the wizard, but his mother wasn’t. The mother loved her son with the bad smell because the bad smell was her son’s identity. She wanted him to be an obedient child, loving his tradition, proud of the family smell, however stinking it was.

Q .7. Why was Joe against the end of the story?

Ans :Joe was a little girl of four years. She had a good appreciation to her father’s stories, however monotonous they were. She used to fall asleep at the end of each story her father told her. But the unusual ending of Roger skunk’s story didn’t please her. She disliked the idea of the good wizard hit for helping Roger. She saw no reason why goodness be punished. She was angry with Roger’s mother who didn’t accept a change that happened for good.

Q . 8. What was the ugly middle position that Jack found himself in?

Ans : Jack was a husband and father. He had considered himself to be very obedient to his mother and was proud of that submission. He wanted his children follow his example and therefore hated being contradicted or questioned by his children. It was with this in mind that he chose to tell bedtime stories to his children rather than leaving it to Clare, his wife. But Jack was a failure as a story teller, a husband and a father and this placed him in a middle position, somewhere nowhere.

Q . 9. What hadn’t Joe foreseen in the story of Roger Skunk?

Ans : Joe was glad with the usual ending of the story of Roger skunk, however repeated the story was. She had heard this same line of story a hundred times before and was satisfied with each ending. But Joe was not happy with the additional ending of Roger’s story. She had never foreseen that there was something wrong with getting pleasant smell and that the wizard would be punished for helping Roger to possess the smell of roses.

Q .10 . Was Jack a success as a story teller? Explain.

 Answer 1 - No, Jack was very poor at telling bedtime stories. First of all, he never told stories out of his head as was demanded by Joe. He modified a base story everyday and therefore his stories lacked curiosity. He doesn’t quite know the psychology of a child and hence his stories couldn’t bring the child to sleep. Instead of ending the story as loved and expected by the child, he ended his story in a highly complicated manner. If he had ended the story where Roger Skunk got the smell of roses or with the wizard hitting the skunk’s mother, Joe would have been satisfied and slept peacefully.

Answer 2: Jack was not a good story teller. The purpose of his telling Joe a story was to put her to rest. He was a lazy story teller as he used to tell the same story with slight variations. Even though Jack applied expressions, sound effects and curious details such as the finding of pennies, he could not make the story a great success because he had forgotten the basic purpose of telling the story. For him his stories were meant to teach his children morality that he inherited from his mother. Jack had to remember that children want curiosity, not philosophy; a peaceful mind, not a turbulent one.

Answer 3: Yes, Jack was a good story teller. Even though he failed to put Joe to sleep with the story of Roger skunk, he was always successful with his stories. He had good imagination, a very effective way of narration with sound effects and expressions. Besides, he was able to measure the depth of Joe’s concentration and involvement in the story.

Q . 11. Why do you think Roger’s decision to get the smell of roses was right? Or, Should wizard hit mommy?

Ans : There is no good reason why Roger’s mommy hit the good wizard. What the wizard did was an act of goodness. Even though he charged Roger a few pennies for the magic, he gave him a lovely identity that followed friendship and happiness. The mommy was a bad one because she could not appreciate her son’s good choice. She was more concerned about traditions, identity and her son’s safety with the help of the bad smell. She overlooked the happiness that her son got and friendship he gained. After all, Roger chose good for good while the mother chose the bad for good. She should have appreciated Roger for this change and thanked the wizard for this great transformation.

Q . 12 . Why was Jack enthusiastic about telling the stories of Roger? OR Why did Jack consider that his stories were what his children should listen to?

Ans : Jack had held certain values close to his heart. First of all, he believed that he was a well formed man and father. He had suffered certain humiliations in his childhood and therefore he had sympathy for the weak and the deserted. He never liked women being superior. This male chauvinist, Jack, considered his four year old daughter Joe as a woman and taught her that children should not question their parents even if they are wrong.

Q . 13 .How should Jack have ended the story in order to make Joe sleep?

Ans : If Jack was primarily interested in making Joe sleep, he should have ended the story hitting the mommy. He had to admit the unusual ending of the story a fault. If he didn’t want to do so, Jack should have promised his daughter that he would tell her the story as loved by her.

Q.14.What is the moral issue that the story raises?

(Ans) The story shows the conflict between two generations. It tells us about the belief, of the older generation, in customs and traditions and constantly questioning attitude of the younger generation, hence contributing to a generation gap. Not understanding her son’s pain of loneliness and dejection, mother Skunk gets his smell changed to his original foul smell and loves him the way he is, raising the moral issue of whether parents should always decide what the children should do or let the children do what they like to do. There is an evident contrast between an adult’s perspective on life and the world view of a little child. Jo wants the wizard to hit Mommy and not vice versa because she represents the new generation and does not agree with her father’s view. Jack sums up the issue in one sentence- ‘She knew what was right’. Jack also says that the little Skunk agreed to the mother’s proposal because he loved his mother more than the other animals. Little Jo feels that the Skunk’s mother should not have robbed her little son of the pleasure he derived when playing with the other animals when he smelt of roses. She insists that the wizard hit the Mommy on the head and calls little Skunk’s mother a ‘Stupid Mommy’. Keeping to her view point, she insisted that her father should tell her the story the next day in a different manner. So we see that the story deals with moral issues dependent on the different levels of maturity of Jack and Jo.

Q.15.How does Jo want the story to end? Why? What light does it throw on Jo’s character?

(Ans) Jo wanted the story to end with Roger being accepted by the other animals. In Jack’s version, the wizard was hit by mommy. Jo did not relish this. The wizard was the person who fulfilled everyone’s wishes. He had rid Roger Skunk of the bad odour. So she wanted her father to end the story with Roger skunk having a new and pleasant smell and wizard spanking the stupid ‘mommy’.Jo would get totally involved in the story. She even shed a tear or so, when woodland creatures spurned Roger. She could not bear injustice to the wizard by ‘mommy’ skunk. She wanted the end of the story to change in which the benevolent Wizard hits mommy for being inconsiderate to Roger’s need for acceptance by friends. She was independent in her thinking. Jo remains unconvinced by the father’s argument that mothers are always right.

Q.16. Character Sketch of Jack.

 (Ans) Jack is the protagonist of the story ‘Should Wizard Hit Mommy?’ which examines the issue of parenting, the adult tendency to quell the questioning mind of a child and the belief that the view point of the adult represents the only valid one.Jack is conscious of his duties as a father and husband. He has been telling stories to his daughter Jo since she was two years old, before her Saturday and evening naps, but now two and a half years later he is fatigued and confused by her constant questioning, pointing errors (roger fish instead of skunk), asking for clarifications and suggesting alternatives. He has the typical parental attitude and opinion that parents know what is best for their children and stifles her objections and amendments shown by his defending the skunk’s mother (and indirectly his own).Jack feels caught in an ugly middle position physically, emotionally and mentally. He did not like women to take anything for granted, to the extent that he extends the story, changing the ending, giving it the face that he wants to. This despite the fact that he knows that he should be helping his pregnant wife paint the woodwork.Jack is someone who is not used to his authority being questioned and so is confused by Jo’s questioning. Though a loving parent he finds it hard to accept the fact that Jo now has a mind of her own. His insensitivity and impatience comes across in his dealings with his daughter, and the fact that an adult’s viewpoint is biased by personal experiences.

Q.17. Do you think Jack and Jo could identify with Roger skunk as a victim of the hatred of other creatures?

 (Ans) Jack brought the story to life when he narrated the tale remembering certain humiliations of his own childhood. The corners of Jo’s mouth drooped down and her lower lip bent forward. A tear flowed along the side of the nose. This shows that even Jo could identify with Roger skunk.

Q.18. Which two opposite forces acted on Jack while he was telling Jo the story?

 (Ans) Jack was telling Jo something she must know and had no wish to hurry on. On the other hand he heard a chair scrapping. He realized that he must help his pregnant wife Clare to paint the wood work down stairs. These were the opposite forces acting on Jack while he was telling Jo the story.

Q.19 Why did Jo not approve of skunk’s mother scolding him for his new smell?

 (Ans) Jo was very happy that skunk smelt like roses. He was accepted by the woodland creatures and was happy. Jo did not approve of skunk’s mother scolding him for something that made him acceptable among his friends and brought him happin

Q.20. What do you learn about Jo’s new reality phase?

 (Ans) Earlier Jo used to accept her father’s word about magic etc. now she had started asking if magic spells were real. She had become curious since a month. She was growing up and wished to check the reality of all that was told to her.

Q.21. what is the ugly middle position where jack finds himself trapped?

Ans: The ugly middle position refers to jack’s helplessness and dilemma. Its ugly because jack is not used to the women questioning his authority and jo’ constant interruptions, clarifications, pointing out mistakes , disagreements, questioning the end of the story and suggesting an alternate end makes jack uncomfortable. It is a middle position because jack is as if coerced by the tradition (recalls his own mother) and society to inculcate certain moral lessons in jo but at the same time he is at loss. He is unable to satisfy jo’s lingering anxiety as he fails to understand her perspective (her fear of abandonment), as a result he finds himself trapped in a cage along with his wife which brings him no solace.

Q.22. What was usually the basic story line of  the  tale that  jack told jo  almost daily ?

Ans;- The stories that jack used to tell joe  were the slight variation  of  the basic tale  about a small creature usually named roger. Roger would go to  the wise owl whenever in trouble. The  wise owl would ask him to go to the wizard who  would finally solve roger’s problem.

Q.23. Describe the wizard’s room.

Ans: The wizard’s room is a white house over the crick .  inside it are all magic  things all jumbled together in a big dusty heap  as the wizard did not have any  cleaning lady.

Q.24.What does jack actually want jo to know and understand in the story ?

Ans: Jack actually wants jo to know and understand that parents always love their children  as they are. Smelling good or bad is immaterial against the natural biological  bond. But this thing is jo’s beyond understanding .she understands what she sees around: but not beyond that.

Q.25.justify the significance of the title should wizard hit mommy?

Ans:  the title ‘should Wizard hit Mommy’ is justified. It focuses the readers’ attention on the  two well wishers of the main  character Roger Skunk. The wizard makes Roger smell of roses. Mommy skunk hits the wizard and makes him restore the  bad odour of skunk.

The reader is presented with two different opinions. The father , jack , has a great reverence for mothers and does not  consider mother skunk’s hitting the wizard objectionalble. However jo, for whom the wizard is very good, condemns the mother.  She demands that in the story the  next day, the wizard hit the mommy.

The author has deliberately kept the story open ended and doesnot  take  a decision. He  seeks the reaction of  the reader whether the  ‘mommy’ needs to be hit or not.  He  does so  by putting a question  mark at the  end of  the title  making the title appropriate.

Q. 26. How does jo want the story to end ? why  ? what light does it throw on jo’s character ?

Ans: Jo wanted the story to end with Roger being accepted by the other animals . in jack’s version, the  wizard was hit by mommy. Jo did not relish this. The wizard was the person who fulfilled everyone’s wishes.  He had rid roger skunk of the bad odour. So she wanted her father to end the story with roger skunk having a new and pleasant smell and wizard spanking the  stupid ‘mommy’ .

Jo would get totally involved in the  story. She  even shed a tear or  so, when woodland creatures spurned roger. She could  not bear injustice to the wizard by ‘mommy’  skunk. She wanted the end  of the story to change in  which the  benevolent wizard hits mommy for being inconsiderate to  rogers’s need for  acceptance by  friends. She  was independent in her thinking . jo remains unconvinced by the father’s argument that mothers are always right.

Q.27. An adult’s perspective is different from that  of a child ?Answer with reference to the story “should wizard hit mommy”?

Ans: The author, john Updike has presented a very fine world-view  of a little child as well as that of the  adult’s view.  It is an acceptable fact that  adults are more mature, sensible, considerate and wise than that of child . they are better judge of good or bad events so they form a very judicious opinion on every matter. They give a well thought, analyze and form opinion. On the other  hand, children are ignorant,  innocent  and experienced. Their whims and aspirations roam in the romantic world of their own. Thus, a child symbolizes innocence and spontaneity while an adult has a practical approach. In the story “ should wizard hit mommy” a four year girl, jo , represents innocence and immaturity. She wants wizard to hit mommy as he has forced the wizard to transit the offensive smell in skunk rather than the  rose smell. The  girl does not think appropriate that the mommy should hit the wizard. From her perspective, it  has been worthy if the wizard hits mommy since skunk too needs company to play.  On the other hand, jack tries to justify that what  he does, has been the sanctified view.  Thus in the  world of children, ugliness and hatred  have no place.

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