wizard hit mommy? -Question
. 1 .What is the clash in the story?
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?
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.
. 3. How does Jack justify Roger’s mother? Why
does he do so?
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.
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?
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?
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
Q .7. Why was Joe against the end of the
: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?
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,
Q . 9. What hadn’t Joe foreseen in the
story of Roger Skunk?
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
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?
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?
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?
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
(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
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
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
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?
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
Q.23. Describe the wizard’s room.
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 ?
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?
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 ?
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”?
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.