Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Something to Talk About by Eden Phillpotts

Something to Talk About by Eden Phillpotts
Summary
The play “Something to Talk About” conveys the idea that very rich people become sick of their monotonous lives. So just for a change, they welcome everything, even burglary. Secondly, we also see that it is very difficult to bear the loss of things, it does not matter how rich a person is. To save his things he ready to harm others.
At three on Christmas morning the Wolf, a burglar, comes to Sydneys’ residence to steal Christmas presents. Lord Redchester is the head of the family. Lady Redchester is his wife Guy and Lettice are his children. Bishop is his brother.
The Wolf is trying to open the safe when Guy comes in. Wolf levels his revolver at him, buy Guy wins his confidence with his clever talk. He takes his permission to bring Lettice there. He tells him that Lettice wants to watch him at work.
Preston, the butler, comes there. The Wolf ties him. Guy promises that the butler will not do anything wrong and unties him. Soon all the members of the family come to room one by one. The Wolf tries his best to open the safe but fails.
Lord Redchester tells him the password “Sophy” and he opens the safe in no time. He brings out all the presents one by one. Everybody tries his gifts. The Wolf takes back the presents and decides to go, but Bishop tries to exploit his religious feelings.
Then he tempts him to leave their presents and take more costly things of their neighbor. They promise to help him in stealing. Buy describes the location. The Wolf agrees and gives back their presents and leaves. Everybody shakes hands with him.
  1. What is the theme of the play “Something to Talk About”?
The theme of the play “Something to Talk About” is the attitude of very rich people. The theme is that very rich people become so tired of their monotonous lives that just for a change or some excitement they enjoy even a burglary. The title of the play also suggests that. We also see that it is very difficult to bear the loss of things. It does not matter how rich a person is. To save his things he is ready to harm others.
The Sydney family lives outside a Cathedral town. This family’s nest-door neighbor lives at a distance of three miles. This shows how isolated life this family is leading. They are living away from common people. They have nothing different or new to do. That is why, when the ‘Wolf’ comes to steal their Christmas presents they welcome him warmly. They treat him just like a guest of honour. Guy says to the Wolf, “You are manna in the wilderness – you are indeed.” This means that they are considering the burglar a blessing from God.
We see that Sydneys are very rich but in spite of being so much rich, they cannot bear the loss of their things. They are ready to harm others. On one occasion, Lettice requests the ‘Wolf’ to let her keep the tiara and take her Uncle Charles’ crosier. Therefore, just to save her tiara she tries to harm her uncle. When the Sydneys see that the ‘Wolf’ is going to take the Christmas presents after all, they ask their neighbour’s costly tings instead. Therefore, they try to harm their neighbor. This is also the theme of the play. (276)
  1. Bring about the humour in the play “Something to Talk About”.
“Something to Talk About” is a light comedy. Discuss.
The play “Something to Talk About” is a perfect example of a light comedy. The writer has created humour through very comic comments by the characters and through some very comic situations. Although there is a revolver and a constant threat to life by the burglar, yet the situation remains light and does not become serious anytime.
When Guy asks the Wolf if he is a burglar, he gives a humorous answer. He says, “What d’you think I was. A piano-tuner?” It is also very funny to call a burglar ‘manna in the wilderness’. The Wolf tells Guy about the treatment of American law with criminals with such a funny way that we cannot help laughing. He says, “It’s worthwhile in the States. When they catch you, if you’re bad enough, you go to Sing Sing, and they give you flower gardens and Bridge parties….” When Lord Redchester finds Wolf in his house, he says, “Who the deuce is?” When we read the words ‘deuce’ and ‘imposter’, we laugh heartily.
The play is full of many funny situations too. We see a funny situation when Guy introduces his sister, Lettice, to the Wolf as though he were a guest of honour. It is very funny when Lettice praises Wolf’s tools and he explains them to her. We find another situation when they sing just to encourage the burglar. After that, we find a funny situation when Wolf leaves and everybody shakes hands with him and expresses god wishes.
Therefore, the play “Something to Talk About” is a light comedy and it is full of comic comments and situations. (268)
  1. Discuss the elements of irony in the play “Something to Talk About”.
The play “Something to Talk About” is full of elements of irony.
Firstly, we find irony when Wolf tells Guy how American law courts treat criminals. He says, “It’s worthwhile in the States. When they catch you, if you’re bad enough, you go to Sing, Sing and they give you flower gardens and Bridge parties…” Apparently, Wolf is appreciating American law courts, but inwards he is making fun of their lenient treatment towards criminals.
Secondly, we find irony when Guy tells Wolf, “We’re the most trustworthy family in England.” But later in the play we find that they ask Wolf to leave their presents and take their neighbour’s costly things.
Thirdly, at the start of the play, Wolf tells Guy, “The safe isn’t built to beat me.” However, later we see that fails to force open the safe. Fourthly, we find irony in the attitude of Bishop. He advises Wolf to leave worldly wealth and join the ranks of the trustworthy, honourable, and virtuous, but he himself is not ready to leave his gold crosier. To save his gold crosier, he not only tries to exploit Wolf’s religious feelings, but also puts temptation in his way.
Lastly, irony is found in the attitude of the Sydnys. Outwardly, they appreciate Wolf but inwardly they consider him an ‘enemy of society’. They want to get rid of him to save their Christmas presents. (230)
  1. Discuss the elements of satire in the play.
Firstly, satire is on rich people who lead a monotonous life and do nothing. They have no sense of morality and are ready to do anything to save their things.
Secondly, satire is on religious people who have become so worldly. They cannot bear the loss of worldly things and are ready even to tempt others and exploit their religious feelings. They preach one thing and practice another. When Wolf says that he does not like clergy, Lady Redchester says, “More does he – finds them most difficult and lawless.” She further says, “He never criticizes anybody; and never does anything; but just sits on the fence and prays for everybody.”
Thirdly, the satire is on English made things that are inferior. Lord Redchester tells Wolf, “We stick to home-made things as a rule, though they are so inferior.” Fourthly, satire is on English roads. Guy says, “Rather bad roads in England, I’m afraid.” At this Wolf says, “You’re right. Worst roads in England.”
Therefore, the play is full of satire. (170)
  1. The Sydneys’ greatest desire is to have some novelty in their monotonous lives. Discuss.
No doubt, the play “Something to Talk About” is a clever and pleasant representation of the temperament of modern English people, who might well find nocturnal alarm a matter of objective entertainment. They are so much desirous of some novelty and change in their lives that burglary is not a serious matter. The burglar with a revolver does not frighten them; rather he is “manna in the wilderness”. They enjoy his presence in their home.
They are so much fond of entertainmet that everyone wants to join in. One by one all the members of the family come there. No one appears to be afraid or alarmed. To them the burglar is some sort of actor who is going to give some astounding performance.
Lettice wants her mother to join in. She says to Lord R, “Do you thing I might wake mama? She’ll never forgive us if she misses this. You know how she is always yearning for something to happen. It will be cruel, papa, to enjoy Wolf without her.” The words spoken by Lettice tell us about the temperament of a modern English people, who might well find nocturnal alarm a matter of objective entertainment.
They arrange chairs in a semi-circle. They thank the burglar on coming to their home for stealing. Lady Redchester says, “The terror of England! And under our roof! How nice of him! How do you do?” Therefore, they receive the burglar rather warmly. They treat him just like a guest of honour.
Therefore, from the above discussion, we can conclude that the play “Something to Talk About” is a clever and pleasant representation of the temperament of modern English people. (278)

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