Give a brief character sketch of the Porter.
Frank Arthur brings in porter as an entertaining character. He is the source of humour, satire, enjoyment and relaxation from monotony, tense and seriousness of the melodrama. He is simple and behaves in a natural way of common and illiterate man. He is a source of momentary relief for the audience in the tense and rather depressing atmosphere of the play. He is well aware of his hard job, that is, to provide comfort to the passengers and carry luggage etc. so he thinks: “this job is fit for a shaggy dog.” To sum up, the porter is a funny character that is also serving the passengers and relaxes the atmosphere of the drama.
What motive does the man have for murdering Mrs. Judy Oakentubb?
Why did the gentleman kill Mrs. Oakentubb?
What motive has the man for killing Mrs. Oakentubb?
The man's motive in murdering Mrs. Judy Oakentubb was to take the revenge of his wife and daughter's death. Mrs. Judy Oakentubb had crushed his wife and daughter under the wheels of her car. She was sentenced for only eighteen months in prison for killing two people. She was drunk and was driving very fast in a crowded area to win a bet. He felt that the lady was not duly punished by the court of law for her deliberate and criminal folly so he was there to execute justice.
Why did the meeting with the Korean girl give the man the purpose to live in "Twenty Minutes with Mrs. Oakentubb"?
The little Korean girl reminded him of his daughter. With the memory of his daughter came the bitter truth of his wife's and daughter's violent death. He thought that had his daughter been alive, she would have been of the age of the Korean girl. This gave him a purpose to live. Earlier he wanted to die but then he wanted to live to take revenge from the person responsible for the death of his daughter.
Why was Mrs. Oakentubb driving very fast and what was the result?
Mrs. Oakentubb had been to a cocktail party where she had a bet of fifty pounds that she would travel from Stainthorpe cross to the coast in under fifteen minutes- a distance that could only be covered in not less than half hour due to the bends and curves. To win that bet she was driving very fast. She was drunk too. Driving fast, she tried to overtake a bus on a blind curve when she saw a lorry coming from the opposite direction. To save herself, she mounted the pavement and crushed two pedestrians under the wheels of her car. So as a result of her reckless driving two innocent people were killed.
Write a brief character-sketch of Mrs. Judy Oakentubb.
Mrs. Judy Oakentubb is a short woman of normal build, of middle age, quite good looking and well-to-do. She is fond of gay life and spends her time at cocktail parties. The way in which she drives her car through a built-up area under the influence of wine indicates her reckless attitude towards others. She has no guilt over killing two innocent people under the wheels of her car. When she comes to know that the man has come to take revenge, she keeps on planning how to save her neck. At the end too she tries to deceive him by showing remorse on her crime. All these actions indicate that she is clever and deceitful lady.
Explain the importance of the label on Mrs. Oakentubb's suitcase. Why did she hide it?
The label on Mrs. Oakentubb's suitcase had her name on it, so it played a very important role. The readers are told that while the man was putting away his wet coat, his glance fell on the label of the suitcase. He might have read her name then. Then during the course of their conversation, the man asked her if she knew Mrs. Oakentubb. He wanted to confirm if she was the same Mrs. Oakentubb. Her reaction to his question confirmed his doubts about her identity. After his question, she went towards her suitcase and stood with her back towards it. But when she moved away, the man saw that the label was no more visible; it was tucked away under the flap of the suitcase. She hid it because she wanted to hide her identity from him. He had disclosed that his purpose to be there was to take revenge from Mrs. Oakentubb who was responsible for his wife and daughter's death, so she tried to hide her identity from him.
I often think about these chance and casual meetings we have with people; thousands of them, in the course of a life time. People we pass them in the street, stand behind in bus-queues, sit next to in the theatre, and so on. There they are, living their own lives and then, just for a brief space, they come into your life – only to disappear, and, for all you know, to die the next day. Or perhaps they live, forgetting you completely, long after you are dead. Your life touches another life for a minute, or for an hour, and then it swings apart.
Explain the lines.
Both the characters were talking about the casual meetings which people have in their lifetime. Mrs. Oakentubb started the conversation by stating that she was of the view that such type of meetings does not leave long lasting impact on one’s life. People sit together at entertaining spots, in the buses or have a cross in the streets on roads. Everyone lives his own life. In this rapidity of life, someone comes into one’s life for a short period of time just to say “good-bye”. He leaves and is replaced by another. On the highway of life, there is a crowd of the people who comes in contact with you. How can you remember so many people? She believes that one can’t recollect and recall the memories of the person whom he does not have any business.
Confess to me that you loved it – that little shivers of delight were running up and down your spine all the time.
Explain the lines.
The gentleman known as he speaks these words at the climax of the play. After narrating the most sad and pathetic story of his ruined life, he appears to be mad and vengeful. His gestures indicate that he will soon get offensive and rash. He can violate every rule or law. He can observe “tit for tat” for the dual and brutal murders of his wife and daughter. But all of a sudden he changes his behaviour and tone. In a gesture of amusement with smile, he says to Mrs. Oakentubb that it was merely a story. He expected that it would have delighted her because it was full f sensation and thrill.
All the time I had one picture in my mind. I swear to you that I did not see them before the smash. But I saw them afterwards! You were spared that. But I see it always! It is with me wherever I am and whatever I am doing. I can see it more vividly than see you. That awful scene will haunt me as long as I live!
Explain the lines.
Here the play comes to an important turn. She all in utter disappointment comes to know that man knows is well aware of her identity. When she realizes that a man knows the nature of her heinous crime, she begins to ct. she dramatizes she situation and expresses her regrets over her accident. She begins to shed tears by narrating the woeful tale of two person’s tragic death. Mrs.Oakentubb adds that she can’t overlook for a moment the bloodstained corpses of, two innocent persons. The sight of that bloodstained penetrates constant terrors in her veins. She can’t get rid of the horror brought about by her mistakes as long as she is alive. Intense sense of guilt accompanies her like a ghost. Her conscience constant pricking has made her life miserable and restless. Only the cruel hand of death can extinguish the fire of regrets, restlessness and sense of guilt. She begs him to relieve her from this eternal torture.
She was driving at fifty miles an hour in a built-up area. She pulled out to overtake a bus on a blind bend and she saw herself running slap into a lorry coming the other way. She had a choice: she could ram the lorry and kill herself or she could swerve on to the pavement and kill two innocent pedestrians.
Explain the lines.
In the above lines that male character mentioned as “he” narrates the sad story of his wife and daughter’s killing. Both were crushed under the wheel of a car. The woman driving the car was drunk. She was driving at a speed of fifty miles an hour to win a bet. Such a rough and rash driving was done on a crowded road. When she saw a lorry coming in her direction, she had two alternatives, either to pay the price of her mistake by her own life or to victimize two innocent people. She puts her car on the pavement because her own life was very sweet to her. She in order to protect herself kills two innocent persons.