Short Essay Questions Key
1. Describe the setting of the play.
The play is set in the living room of a traditional middle-class English house, circa 1950. Two armchairs dominate the stage, along with other traditional English furnishings. An English clock is set predominately on stage and chimes at irregular intervals.
2. Describe Mr. Smith.
Mr. Smith is a traditional, middle-class Englishman from the mid 20th century. He would rather read his paper than attend to his wife. Emotionally distant, Mr. Smith idly converses, and even argues, with his wife and friends without communicating any relevant information.
3. Describe Mrs. Smith.
Mrs. Smith is a traditional, middle-class Englishwoman from the mid 20th century. She is concerned only with trivialities and is very sensitive to having her opinion challenged. Emotionally distant, Mrs. Smith idly converses, and even argues, with her husband and friends without communicating any relevant information.
4. What topic begins the conversation of the play?
Mrs. Smith begins the play's conversation by attempting to discuss the pros and cons of that evening's meal. Mr. Smith, for the most part, tries to read his paper while his wife holds a one-sided conversation about the quality of the food, the grocer and the behavior of the children at dinner. Mr. Smith joins the conversation only when Mrs. Smith changes topics and begins to discuss Dr. Mackenzie-King's botched operation.
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