SHOULD WIZARD HIT MOMMY? By JOHNUPDIKE
Gist of the Lesson
The chapter captures a very sensitive reaction of a small girl to an important aspect of the story that her father narrates to her.
The story reveals the worldview of a little child to a difficu the wizard who would solve the problem.
Skunk’s problem- he smelt bad, visited the wizard who changed it to the smell of roses.
Skunk’s mother was unhappy with it and took him back to the wizard. She hit the wizard and asked him to restore the original smell. She wanted her son to keep his identity of a skunk and wanted his friends to accept him for himself. So the wizard changes him back to smell like a skunk.
After hearing the story of Roger Skunk Jo was not happy with the ending.
She wants her father to change the ending. She wants the wizard to hit the mother back and let Roger be which her father was not ready to do to establish his authority. This raises a difficult moral question whether parents possess the right to impose their will on their children.
Her father finds it difficult to answer her question.
SHORT ANSWER QUESTIONS:
1. How did the wizard help Roger Skunk?
The wizard was moved by Roger Skunk’s story. On finding his magic wand - chanted some magic words & granted that Roger should smell like roses.
2. How did Roger Skunk’s Mommy react when he went home smelling of roses?
Roger Skunk began to smell like roses. Mommy asked about the smell - Roger Skunk replied that the wizard had made him smell like that mother did not like that and asked Roger to come with her.
3. How did the Skunk’s mother get him his old smell back?
Mother was furious to learn about the wizard who changed the original smell. She immediately visited the wizard and hit him on his head and asked him to restore the original smell.
4. Who is Jo? How has she changed in the past two years? How did Jo behave in ‘reality phase’?
Jo is Jack’s 4 year old daughter. She was no more a patient listener. She did not take things for granted and tried to see things in her own way.
5. How does Jo want the story to end and why?
Jo understood Roger Skunk’s need to enjoy the company of his friends; therefore wanted that the wizard should take Roger’s side.
QUESTIONS FOR PRACTICE
1. What different queries does the Secretary of the Examinations Board make from the Governor before conducting the examination for Evans and why?
2. Who do you think made a call regarding a correction in the question paper? What did it really want to convey?
3. Who is Carter? What does the Governor want him to go and why?
4. How did the Governor manage to reach Evans in the hotel?
5.Do you think that the father in the story is, more or less, an alter ego of the author, as far as the child is concerned?
6. How do you interpret the expression’ This was a new phase, just this last month, a realit y phase’?
7. Why in your opinion, is the smell of roses obnoxious for the mother Skunk?
8. ‘That was a long story.’ What does Clare want to convey through this assertion?
LONG ANSWER QUESTIONS
1. Why an adult’s perspective of life is different from that of a child’s as given in the story?
Suggested Value points
An adult’s perceptive on life is always different - maturity of a person becomes his barometer to judge right & wrong. For him/her everything that occurs has a message. In the story, Jack at no level accepts Jo’s worldview that wizard should hit Mommy.
On the other hand - a child’s perceptive is limited to his activities - child’s perceptive completely different - they love ‘action’ more than thought - so does Jo in the story - she would delight in hearing the story of Roger Skunk’s Mommy being hit by the wizard.
LONG ANSWER QUESTIONS
1. What is Jack’s way of telling stories? Why is it appealing?
2. What does Jack want to convey through the story of Roger Skunk?
3. How is Jack’s childhood interwoven in the story of the stinky skunk?
4. How does Jack assert his authority as a father over his daughter?
5. What part of the story did Jack himself enjoy the most? Why?