Kerala Plus Two English Textbook Answers Unit 5 Chapter 1 Post Early for Christmas (One act play)
Read And Respond (Text Book)
What was the Assistant’s experience the other day? Why does she consider people funny?
She considers people funny because the other day one man came and asked her where he could get a stamp. She thought the man was playing a joke on her. Then there was the old man who could not see very well. He put his glasses on the counter and asked herto give him a pint of beer.
Why does Mrs. Smith dislike snow for Christmas?
Mrs. Smith dislikes snow for Christmas because she has rheumatism and snow is not good for it. Last year because of the snow and her rheumatism she could not enjoy Christmas at all.
Why does the Assistant insist on people posting early for Christmas?
The Assistant insists on people posting early for Christmas because parcels get damaged in the last-minute rush.
What is the purpose of the old Gentleman’s visit to the post office?
The old Gentleman has come to collect his old age pension. He has a huge shopping list and he wants money to buy the things on the list.
Why does the Old Gentleman get angry with the Assistant?
The old gentleman gets angry with the Assistant because he does not hear properly. When the assistant asks him if he brought the book, he replies he didn’t bring his cook as his wife does all his cooking. The assistant then says he did not hear what she said. The gentleman again misunderstands. He thinks she said that he ought to be in bed. This makes him angry and he asks the Assistant not to be impudent.
What is the problem with die Old Lady’s cat?
The problem with the Old Lady’s cat Tiddles is that she is not eating her food. She used to be a big eater. Tiddles has hurt her paw and the Old Lady thinks it must have upset her.
Why does the old lady decide to buy something from the post office?
The old lady decided to buy something from the post office because she came there thinking it was a vet’s clinic. The Assistant tells her where the clinic is. The lady feels that it would be rude to go away without buying something. So she will buy a two half penny stamp. She thinks they are so beautiful and may be useful at this Christmas time.
Why did the farmer humorously enquire about the bombs?
The farmer humorously enquired about the bombs because he read the news of a bomb found in a post office. Scotland Yard has issued a warning that a time¬bomb disguised as a Christmas parcel was discovered in a London post office. Any suspicious-looking parcel should be reported at once to the local police station.
What was the newspaper report on?
The newspaper report was on a bomb found in a post office. Scotland Yard has issued a warning that a time-bomb disguised as a Christmas parcel was discovered in a London post office. Any suspicious-looking parcel should be reported at once to the local police station.
How can a time bomb be detected?
A time-bomb usually ticks just before it goes off. So the Farmer advises the Assistant that if any parcel makes funny noises, she should be careful.
Why does the Assistant tell the tourist that the parcel was in time?
The Assistant tells the tourist that the parcel was in time because it will reach its destination before Christmas. It is a Christmas present and there are some more days to Christmas day.
Why is the tourist very anxious about his parcel?
The tourist is very anxious about his parcel because it is a special kind of present and he wants it to reach his friend without getting damaged. Later we come to know it is a clock brought from Switzerland.
Why does everyone in the post office become anxious about the Tourist’s parcel?
Everyone in the post office becomes anxious about the Tourist’s parcel because it starts ticking. Earlier the Farmer had talked about the time-bombs and how they tick before they go off. Now everyone thinks the parcel contains a time-bomb.
Why do the people in the post office try to hide themselves?
The people in the post office try to hide themselves because the ticking from the parcel gets louder as the Assistant picks it up. The Farmer tells the people to take cover as he thinks the bomb will blast soon.
Why does the Assistant bring a bucket of water?
The Assistant brings a bucket of water so that the parcel could be immersed in it to prevent the time-bomb from going off.
Why does the tourist return to the post office?
The tourist returns to the post office to collect his gloves which he had left behind. He had forgotten to take them with him when he left the post office after handing over the parcel to the Assistant.
How does the play end?
The play ends in a very funny way. The suspected time-bomb turns out to be a beautiful clock from Switzerland. The tourist is angry with the policeman and the post office for ruining his present for his friend. He will make a complaint to the Postmaster General. The Assistant leaves her job at the post office to work at the animal dispensary nearby because she feels animals don’t do such silly things as people do.
Post Early for Christmas (One act play) Edumate Questions and Answers
The play Post Early for Christmas starts with the following monologue:
“My ! What a busy day it was for me yesterday.
Here’s my first customer.”
Online shopping is the trend of the day, irrespective of festivals, marriages or anniversaries. You might have seen online shopping service driving past us with goods bundled in their bikes. Very often their plight is equivalent to that of the postal assistant in the play. Imagine that the agent of an online shopping company delivers a monologue. What would he say in the monologue? Draft the monologue for him.
Oh My God! Yesterday I was dead tired riding kilometres after kilometres delivering the goods to the customers. Sometimes they live in almost inaccessible places, and I have to walk carrying the packet to give them. Well, I should not complain because only because they buy things online I have a job to do. So, God, make more people buy more things online!
A sweeper does his/her duty without receiving due acknowledgment from anyone. Her/his anxieties, experiences and struggles often find expression in the form of monologues. What will be the monologue of a sweeper who had to sweep a Work Experience Fair venue, on the eve of its concluding ceremony?
Goodness! How am I supposed to clean up all this mess! Does “Work Experience Fair” mean people throwing things here and there without any care? Don’t these people ever use dust bins? Work Experience Fair! It is work for me. And nobody to help me! If I don’t finish this in time the, the Director will shout at me. Let him clean the place one day and see how easy it is! These top officers have no idea about how we people suffer. And do they give us a good salary? They give us pittance and expect us to work the whole day. I have heard of Hercules cleaning the Aegean stables. This is worse than that! Well, this is my fate! Oh, the director is coming! Let me hurry with the job!
Though the poster Post Early for Christmas is displayed in front of the post office, too many people barge into it with various needs, It is the last minute hurry that makes the situation go out of control. Can you recount any real life experience where things went awry due to last-minute hurry? Write an anecdote in about 150 words.
Last Minute Fiasco:
The phone call came from my friend to tell me that his father died and the cremation would be at 4.00 p.m. in his compound. He asked me to convey the message to our common friend George. George and I live at Irinjalakuda and my friend whose father died lives in Thrissur. By car it would take only 30 minutes to reach my friend’s house to attend the cremation. So George and I decided to leave Irinjalakua at 3 o’clock after buying a wreath from a local flower shop.
We chose an expensive wreath with white roses and lilies. We started driving. Unfortunately, there was an accident on the Karuvannur bridge which we had to cross to reach Thrissur. We were delayed by half an hour. Then we rushed and reached our friend’s home around 4.30 p.m. We saw him standing in front of his house.
He looked quite sad. We left the wreath in the car as we knew the cremation had already taken place. We spent a few minutes with our friend condoling with him. From the obituary column of the local newspaper we saw that somebody had died at Irinjalakuda. We got the address of the bereaved family and went to the house the placed the wreath at the foot of the dead body of the stranger. The relatives of the dead people were surprised to see two strangers placing such an expensive wreath. They would never know it was intended for the dead father of our friend!
The tourist in the play ‘Post Early for Christmas’ loses the precious gift that he intended to send via post. With the wet clock in his hand he approaches the Postmaster General arid files a complaint. What would he write in the complaint? Draft the letter of complaint for him.
New Jersey, USA
20 December 2016
The Postmaster General
Sub: RUINING MY SWISS CLOCK
I had bought an expensive Swiss clock and I wanted to send it to my friend as a Christmas present. I handed over the packet to the Assistant at the Milton Square Post office and she accepted it and gave me a receipt. I had forgotten by gloves on the counter and when I went back to collect them, I saw my packet being opened by a policeman. When I asked him the reason for it, I was told that there was a ticking sound and somebody suspected it to contain a time tomb. So it was immersed in water. My precious gift to my friend was ruined.
I want to lodge my protest against such foolish behaviour on the part of your workers in the post office. You have spoiled the joy of my Christmas. I paid 155 Pounds for the clock and then the postal charges. I want a proper compensation forthe loss your worker has caused.
I hope you will take immediate action.
Imagine that the tourist in the play ‘Post Early for Christmas’ sends an e-mail to the friend to whom he wanted to send the precious clock. He expresses his grief and frustration over the incidents at the post office. What would he write in the e-mail? Draft the e-mail for him.
Hope you are fine. This year I wanted to send you a precious Swiss clock as my Christmas present. I am sure you would be happy with it because it was a beautifully crafted clock. But you know what happened! The Postal Assistant accepted my packet. Then some foolish fellow standing nearby heard the clock ticking and his perverted mind thought the packet had a time bomb. He told people it was ticking and it would explode soon. He asked the Postal Assistant to get a bucket of water and immerse the packet in it to prevent it from exploding! Thus the precious clock got ruined. I’m so sorry, Ranbir!
I have complained to the Post Master General about the ridiculous act.
Hope you had a merry Christmas.
Unable to tolerate the mistakes made by Bertie in the usage of English, Mrs.Higgins notes down his mistakes in a notepad. She makes Bertie realise his mistakes and asks him to correct them. Help Bertie correct his mistakes.
1. I want a engine.
2. I know Ma, but they sell engines next door, I seed them.
3. Can I have a’ieS-cream?
4. It ain’t half making a funny noise.
Imagine that the farmer in Post Early for Christmas feels guilty over his actions that led to utter chaos in the post office. He goes to the postal assistant’s house to apologise. However the postal assistant refuses to meet him. He leaves a message for her. Write the message for him.
Madam, I know you are angry with me for what happened at the post office. I am really sorry. That is why I came to apologize to you. But since you have refused to meet me, I am leaving this note to let you know what actually happened and how sorry I am.
When I was coming to the post office I read in the newspaper an item like this: “Bomb found in post office. Scotland Yard has issued a warning that a time bomb disguised as a Christmas parcel was discovered in a London Post office. Any suspicious looking parcel should be reported at once to the local police station.”
I had this at the back of my mind when the tourist came with the parcel. You know he looked suspicious and look at the way he talked about the parcel, asking so many questions about the time it reaches the central post office and so on. And when you said that the parcel was ticking, I naturally thought there was a time bomb inside.
I asked you to bring a bucket of water to prevent it from exploding and killing or maiming all of us. I only thought of our safety and I had no plan to spoil anybody’s anything. But somehow it turned out to be a blunder on my part. I am sorry. I am sure you are gracious enough to forgive me for the mistake I made as it was made with good intentions.
Farmer from Avon
In ‘Post Early for Christmas’ Bertie is assigned the duty of fetching a policeman to the post office. How would Bertie convince the policeman about the emergency in the post office? Draft a short convincing request that Bertie would make before the police man.
Bertie: Sir, I am coming from the local post office. A suspicious looking foreigner came and he handed over a parcel to the postal Assistant saying it is a Christmas gift for his friend. He was asking so many questions about the safety of the parcel. After he left, there was some ticking noise coming from the parcel. When the Assistant mentioned the people assembled there thought it was a time bomb. There was also news about time bombs sent as Christmas present parcels in the newspaper and the Scotland Yard warning people to be on the lookout. The people at the post office are scared. So please come immediately to see to the situation. Come, let’s go fast before anything untoward happens.
The postal assistant in Post Early for Christmas resigns her job following the chaos in the post office. Imagine that she comes across this advertisement in the newspaper.
ARNOLD CLARK AUTOMOBILES LIMITED
134 Nithsdale Drive
Glasgow Lanarkshire G41
REQUIRE OFFICE ASSISTANTS
We Guarantee security and punctuality in your monthly payment and all the management tools you need.
What you need is a graduation in any subject, thorough knowledge in Computer and excellent communication skills.
You should be below 30 years.
Telephone: 0141-422 2700
E-mail: [email protected]
39 Milton Drive
23 December 2016
Arnold Clark Automobiles Limited
134 Nithsdale Drive,
Glasgow Lanarkshire G41
Sub: Application for the Post of Office Assistant I saw your advertisement. I am interested in applying for the post as I thought my qualification and experience would suit your requirements. I am enclosing my detailed resume for your perusal. I will be available for an interview from now till the end of next month^You may decide the time and place of the interview. I wifi present all the original documents at the time of the interview.
Hoping to get the interview letter soon,
RESUME OF MAGGIE HAYDEN
Objective: To work in a company which can utilize my services and, at the same time, enable me to sharpen my capabilities for the betterment of all.
Imagine that a journalist rushed to the post office to get a scoop. He noted down several points based on his own observation and comments of the onlookers. The following points were jotted down by him. (crowded London post office-bomb alert by farmer – foreign tourist’s big parcel makes – ticking sound – panic stricken customers-police informed -foreign tourist returns – policeman’s attempt to deactivate the bomb – large clock ruined – people astonished- tourist threatens- postal assistant quits job.)
Help him draft a report.
Expensive Swiss Clock Thrown Into A Bucket Of Water.
London: 20 December 2016. There was a time bomb scare at the Milton Square Post office in London in the rush hours of the morning. From my talks with the Post office Assistant and some onlookers this is what transpired at the post office. A foreign tourist arrived with well-wrapped parcel and he said it contained something precious and he was sending it to his friend as a special Christmas present. Some questions he asked about the safety of the parcel and about the time it would reach the central post office for clearing created some doubts in the minds of the Postal Assistant.
The parcel was booked and the tourist left forgetting his gloves on the counter. Soon the Assistant noticed that there was a ticking sound coming from the parcel. She mentioned it and immediately a farmer who was present there said it must be time bomb. He had read an alert in the Newspaper which was issued by the Scotland Yard asking people to be on their alert for ominous looking parcels. He was certain that his parcel contained a time bomb. People got scared and they ran for cover. The farmer asked for a bucket of water.
In the meantime a police man was brought. Soon the tourist returned to take his gloves back. There was an argument between the policeman and the tourist. The policeman then threw the parcel into the bucket of water. The tourist was angry with everyone there for spoiling his precious Swiss Watch he had bought for his friend. He said he would complain to the authorities. Fed up with the happenings at the Post Office the Assistant decided to quit the job there and take up work in an animal dispensary nearby. She thought animals will not be as foolish as men! She has a point, isn’t it!
Think and Write
Do you think Mrs Jones is rude in her behaviour? Why? (Mark 2)
I think Mrs Jones is rude in her behaviour. She hands over some huge parcels to the Assistant and asks herto be careful so that the parcels which contain presents should not be damaged. The Assistant tells herthatthey do their best not to damage them and makes a polite enquiry as to why she didn’t post them last week. Then Mrs. Jones rudely tells the Assistant that she will post her presents when she wants.
What is the context of Bertie saying “She’s at home Ma, watching the television ”? (Mark 2)
Bertie’s English is horrible. We see him saying ‘seed’ instead of saw and when his mother points out the mistake he ‘corrects’ it and says ‘sawed’. When Bertie closely watches the parcel brought by the tourist, the Assistant asks him what the matter is. Bertie says the parcel “ain’t ‘alf making a funny noise”. Mrs. Higgins asks the boy where his grammar is. It is then the boy says she (grammar) is at home watching television!
How does the Fanner frighten people? (Mark 2)
The Farmer frightens people first by reading the newspaper report: “Bomb found in post office. Scotland Yard has issued a warning that a time-bomb disguised as a Christmas parcel was discovered in a London post office. Any suspicious-looking parcel should be reported at once to the local police station.” Then he frightens them by saying the parcel brought by the tourist has a time¬bomb in it and it will go’off very soon. This.really frightens the people and they run for cover.
What makes the tourist decide to see the Postmaster General? (Mark 2)
The tourist got a beautiful clock from Switzerland and he wanted to send it to his friend as a Christmas present. But the people at the post office suspected it to be a time-bomb and a policeman drops the parcel containing the clock in a bucket of water, ruining his present. This makes the tourist furious. He calls the people mining his gift blundering idiots and decides to see the Postmaster General to complain.
Why does the Assistant leave the post office forever? (Mark 3)
The Assistant leaves the post office forever because of her bitter experiences there. People annoy her in so many ways. One man comes and asks where he can buy stamps. Another person wants a pint of beer. Mrs. Jones talks rudely to her. The old deaf gentleman can’t hear her properly and he too gets angry. An old lady comes there thinking it is a vet’s clinic. And then comes the tourist with his ticking parcel. Thinking it is a bomb the parcel is immersed in water. The tourist is furious and threatens to complain to the Postmaster General. The Assistant thinks animals are better than men and so she decides to work in an animal dispensary where she thinks she will be happy.
Bring out the humour in the play. (Mark 3)
There are many humorous situations in the play. We laugh when we see somebody coming to the post office and asks where he can get stamps. Another person comes asking for a pint of beer. The deaf man creates a lot of humour as he misunderstands book as cook, said as bed and later Ted. We laugh a lot when see an old lady coming to consult the Assistant about her cat. The greatest humour is when the tourist comes with his ticking parcel and the anxiety created by it. As the parcel with the lime-bomb’ is thrown into water and people run for cover, we really laugh at the foolishness of people.
Comment on the role of the farmer in the play. (Mark 4)
It was actually the farmer who caused all the havoc in the post office. First of all he scared the people by reading out the news loudly: “Bomb found in a post office. Scotland Yard has issued a warning that a time-bomb disguised as a Christmas parcel was discovered in a London post office. Any suspicious-looking parcel should be reported at once to the local police station.” With his ‘expertise’ he is sure that the ticking parcel given by the tourist contains a time bomb. He is the one suggesting to call a policeman. He scares the people by telling them the time-bomb will soon go off and they should take cover. He is the one who asks the Assistant to bring a bucket of water. Thus he was instrumental for all the commotion and mischief there.
Justify the aptness of the title of the play. (Mark 3)
The title “Post Early for Christmas” is a very apt title.
All the major actions in the play are related to posting of gifts and parcels as Christmas presents. The Assistant tells Mrs Jones to post Christmas parcels early to prevent them from getting damaged in the last-minute rush. We feel that if the tourist had posted his parcel ‘early’ the damage could have been prevented. With his bitter experience he vows not to post anything in this country and he bitterly spits out the words “Post Early for Christmas!”
Sketch the character of the Old Gentleman and the Assistant (Mark 5)
The Old Gentleman is deaf. He has a long shopping list with him. He has come to the post office to collect his old age pension. When the Assistant asks for his book, being deaf, he thinks she is asking about his cook. He says he didn’t bring his cook. His wife does all his cooking. The assistant says he did not hear what she said. The gentleman again mishears the word ‘said’. He thinks she said something about bed. So he says “Bed! Who ought to be in bed? I am not as young as I was, but I am still healthy.” He asks the Assistant not to be rude. The Assist once again says, “I’m afraid you didn’t hear what I said.” Again the gentleman mishears her and asks her who told her that he is called Ted. Is she trying to tell him his name? His name is Sam.
The Assistant again asks him if he has brought his book. The gentleman tells her not to speak about the cook. The Assistant loudly tells him she is talking of book and not cook. The gentleman asks her why she did not ask for it earlier and fumbles in his pockets. He gives the book to her. He accuses the Assistant of being deaf! When the lady complains about her cat he comes with a helpful suggestion saying that he knows some things about cats and he could help her. The funniest moment is when he asks what all the fuss is about. The old lady answers it is about a time-bomb. Then the old man asks, “Tom, Tom who?” The bomb has become Tom for him!
The Assistant is a young lady who is quite hardworking and polite. She has to deal with many different kinds of people and she has to keep her cool. The other day one man came and asked her where he could get a stamp. Then there was this old man who could not see very well. He put his glasses on the counter. He wanted a pint of beer. She hopes this year there will be no snow for Christmas so that Mrs. Smith can enjoy without her rheumatism getting aggravated. When she suggests to Mr. Jones that gift parcels for Christmas must be posted early, she gets angry. Then she has to deal with the deaf old man. The deaf old man thinks it is the Assistant who is deaf. Then we see the old Lady coming to seek her advice about her cat Tiddles. The Assistant tells her that the clinic for the animals is at the end of the road.
Now comes the Farmer who scares her with news about bombs. She has to deal with the tourist whose English is terrible. When his parcel starts ticking, here is utter confusion. We laugh to our hearts’ content when we see the Assistant coming with a bucket of water to immerse the parcel. The climax comes when she decides to quit the work at the post office. She will work in a dispensary for the animals because she realizes that animals are not as foolish as people. The Assistant proves herself to be a very lively and memorable character.
Narrate the events that lead to the climax of the play. (Mark5)
The climax of the play starts building up with the news brought by the Farmer. He reads from his newspaper: “Bomb found in a post office. Scotland Yard has issued a warning that a time-bomb disguised as a Christmas parcel was discovered in a London post office. Any suspicious- looking parcel should be reported at once to the local police station.” A suspicion has been created in the minds of the people about a possible bomb. Then we see the Foreign Tourist entering. He is dark and evil-looking. He is dressed in black and speaks with an accent. He has a parcel to be sent. He wants to ensure the safety of the parcel by asking so many questions. Will it be opened? When will it reach the central sorting office? He wants the Assistant to handle it with care. All this enhance our suspicion.
He leaves the post office, forgetting his gloves. Soon Bertie starts hearing the parcel tick. The Farmer is sure that there is a time-bomb inside the parcel. People get scared. The Farmer wants a policeman to be brought. He asks the Assistant to bring a bucket of water to immerse the bomb. The policeman asks the people not to panic. In the meantime the Tourist comes back to pick his gloves. The policeman questions him. The Farmer thinks that the ticking has stopped and time-bomb will immediately go off. The policeman drops the parcel in the bucket of water. The Tourist is angry and calls the policeman an idiot. It was actually a beautiful clock from Switzerland which the tourist wanted to send to his friend. Now he will complain to the Postmaster General. He will never post anything in that country!
Activity – I (Announcement)
The Literary Club of your school decides to enact the play Post Early for Christmas in connection with the school anniversary. Prepare a script for announcing the programme. You may include the given details.
(Play, script; direction, background, music, actors, time, date & venue) (Mark 5)
In connection with the school anniversary, the Literary Club of our school has decided to enact the play Post Early for Christmas by the well-known British Dramatist R.H. Wood. The play will be staged in the school Auditorium, at 10.00 a.m. on Friday, the 24m of July 2015.
It is a very hilarious play in which a Christmas parcel containing a beautiful Swiss clock is misunderstood to be a time-bomb. The people get panicky and run for cover as the clock stops ticking. The story takes place in a village post office in England. You see different kinds of people coming to the post office, sometimes even mistaking it for something else.
The direction of the play is by Mr. Fahad Ibrahim, our English teacher. Music is by Mithun Kuttappan. Students of the XII Class will be acting as the various characters.
Come and enjoy two hours of pure fun!
Activity – II (Review writing)
Discuss the following:
What makes the play humorous (Its characters and their traits or the incidents in it). (Mark 6)
The play is made humorous by the traits of the characters and also the incidents. The deaf old man makes us laugh a lot. He hears the word book as ‘cook’ and ‘said’ as ‘bed and Ted’. He even accuses the Assistant of being deaf! Then we see the Old Lady coming to complain about her cat thinking the post office to be a clinic for injured animals. We have the Farmer who thinks he knows all about time-bombs. We have the dirty urchin – Bertie- with his horrible English.
We have the Foreign Tourist with his terrible accent. Then there is the incident of a man coming to the post office and asking where he could get a stamp! Another fellow wants a pint of beer. The funniest incident is when people run for cover and the parcel is dropped in a bucket of water. The Tourist had brought a beautiful clock from Switzerland as a Christmas present to his friend. And see what havoc it caused and how it ended up in water!
The haits of each character in the play: (Mark 8)
Humorous incidents of the play:
There are many humorous incidents in the play. There is the incident of a man coming to the post office and asking where he could get a stamp! Another fellow wants a pint of beer. Then there is the incident of the conversation between the Assistant and Deaf Old Man who misunderstands book for cook and said for bed and Ted. He even accuses the Assistant of being deaf. We see an Old Lady coming to the office seeking advice about her cat as she thinks it is a clinic for animals. Bertie’s speaking makes us laugh because of his mutilated English.
The English of the Tourist is horrible. The funniest incident is when people run for cover and the parcel is dropped in a bucket of water. The Tourist had brought a beautiful clock from Switzerland as a Christmas present to his friend. And see what havoc it caused and how it ended up in water!
Discuss the relevance of the theme, aptness of the dialogues and the suitability of the title. (Mark 6)
The theme of the poem is highly relevant especially these days when we hear a lot about letter bombs and parcels bombs. Terrorists make use of them to terrorise the people and to spread a sense of insecurity, suspicion and chaos.
The dialogues are very apt. One would laugh his heart out when he listens to the dialogue between the Assistant and the deaf Old Man. The Old Man misunderstands book for ‘cook’ and said for ‘bed’ and ‘Ted’. Equally funny is the dialogue between Bertie and his mother. Bertie murders English and he says grammar has gone home to watch television. The Tourist also speaks English with a horrible accent.
The title “Post Early for Christmas” is a very apt one. All the major actions in the play are related to posting of gifts and parcels as Christmas presents. The Assistant tells Mrs Jones to post Christmas parcels early to prevent them from getting damaged in the last-minute rush. We feel that if the tourist had posted his parcel ‘early’ the damage could have been prevented. With his bitter experience he vows not to post anything in this country and he bitterly spits out the words “Post Early for Christmas!”
Now, write a review of the play based on the above discussion and points, to be published in your class magazine. (Mark 8)
The play “Post Early for Christmas” by R.H. Wood is a rib-tickling comedy. The actions of the play take place in a village post office in England. The plot centres on a sinister looking Foreign Tourist coming to the post office to send a parcel to his friend. The parcel makes a ticking noise and the people in the post office think that there is a time bomb inside. They are scared. A policeman is called in.
To prevent the time-bomb from going off and killing everyone, the policeman drops it into a bucket of water. Then the tourist comes back to explain it was only a beautiful Swiss clock he was sending to his friend as a Christmas gift! He calls the policeman an idiot and vows he will never post anything in that country.
There are many humorous incidents in the play. There is the incident of a man coming to the post office and asking where he could get a stamp! Another fellow wants a pint of beer. Then there is the incident of the conversation between the Assistant and Deaf Old Man who misunderstands book for cook and said for bed and Ted. He even accuses the Assistant of being deaf. We see an Old Lady coming to the office seeking advice about her cat as she thinks it is a clinic for animals. Bertie’s speaking makes us laugh because of his mutilated English. The English of the Tourist is horrible. The funniest incident is when people run for cover and the parcel is dropped in a bucket of water. The Tourist had brought a beautiful clock from Switzerland as a Christmas present to his friend. And see what havoc it caused and how it ended up in water!
The dialogues are very apt. One would laugh his heart out when he listens to the dialogue between the Assistant and the deaf Old Man. The Old Man misunderstands book for ‘cook’ and said for ‘bed’ and ‘Ted’. Equally funny is the dialogue between Bertie and his mother. Bertie murders English and he says grammar has gone home to watch television. The Tourist also speaks English with a,horrible accent.
The title “Post Early for Christmas” is a very suitable one. All the major actions in the play are related to posting of gifts and parcels as Christmas presents. The Assistant tells Mrs. Jones to post Christmas parcels early to prevent them from getting damaged in the last-minute rush. We feel that if the tourist had posted his parcel ‘early’ the damage could have been prevented. With his bitter experience he vows not to post anything in this country and he bitterly spits out the words “Post Early for Christmas!”
On the whole we can say that Wood has written a fine play showing how ordinary people behave as they are faced with problems. Life has a lighter side too, in spite of our worries and anxieties about it. Wood gives us the chance to laugh at ourselves as some of us are just like the characters we meet in the play.
Activity – III (Collection)
Read the anecdote on p. 146. Now collect more such humorous literary anecdotes and present them in the class. (Mark 4)
Once a teacher asked her class: “Does anyone here know anything about Shakespeare?”
“Yes, Sir, I know,” replied Rahul promptly.
“What do you know about him?” asked the teacher.
“Sir, he is a Malayalee from Thrissur. His original name was Kundam Kulukki. He went to England and learned English and started writing plays. He changed his name to English ‘Shake Spear’. To confuse people about his proper identity he added an ‘e’ to ‘spear1 making it ‘speare’. Thus he became Shakespeare. But actually he is man from Thrissur. My great grandfather said Kundam Kulukki and he studied together in the primary school at Ayyanthole, near Thrissur.
Fun loving David asked Liz: “Liz, what is the difference between a cat and a comma?”
Without any hesitation, Liz answered: “A cat has claws at the end of its paws, and a comma is a pause at the end of a clause.”
If you know all about punctuation, then this statement shouldn’t confuse you. It simply defines the role of the comma.
II. Read And Enjoy
Exaggeration is one of the devices used in showing humour. You might have had very annoying experiences in life. How have you looked at them? Here is a poem that looks at an unpleasant experience from an unusual perspective.
Post Early for Christmas (One act play) About The Author
R.H. Wood is a British dramatist. He is remembered for his one act Play “Post Early for Christmas”. His plays are simple and he presents people in their ordinary life. The action of this play takes place in a post office in an English village. It is about a parcel mistaken for a time-bomb. It is relevant at a time when letter-bombs and parcel bombs are common.
Post Early for Christmas (One act play) Summary in English
Scene: A Post Office, with posters reading, “POST EARLY FOR CHRISTMAS”.
The Assistant is complaining that the previous day was a busy day for her. She did not have a minute to rest. People were sending parcels and cards for Christmas. People are funny. One man came the other day and asked her where he could get a stamp. First the Assistant thought the man was playing a joke on her. Then there was the old man who could not see very well. He put his glasses on the counter. He wanted a pint of beer. The Assistant gave him a dozen penny stamps. She opens a book stamps and she sees a customer.
Page 135: Mrs Smith enters. She greets the Assistant and says it is cold. The Assistant agrees and adds that there will be snow for Christmas. Mrs. Smith says she does not like snow as it is not good for her rheumatism. Last year because of the snow and her rheumatism she could not enjoy at all. The Assistant then wishes that it should not snow and asks her what she wants. She wants a book of stamps and a postal order for half a crown (242 shillings). The Assistant asks her if she has no parcels. Mrs Smith says she has already sent her presents and cards. She believes in posting early for Christmas. The Assistant wants more people to do like Mrs. Smith. Parcels get damaged in the last-minute rush. She gives – the stamps and the postal order to Mrs. Smith.
Mrs. Jones enters. After thanking the Assistant, Mrs. Smith greets Mrs. Jones. She says she hasn’t seen her: for a long time. She enquires after her health.
Mrs. Jones moves to the counter. A deaf old man enters and stands at the back looking at a huge shopping list.
Mrs. Jones asks Mrs. Smith if she has finished her Christmas shopping. She is still in the middle of it. Mrs. Smith says she has posted her cards and presents.
Mrs. Jones gives some large parcels to the Assistant, who weighs them. Mrs. Jones tells Mrs. Smith that she is lucky. Then she tells the Assistant that she should be careful with the parcels as she does not want the presents to be damaged. The Assistant tells her that they do their best not to damage them. But why didn’t she post them last week?
Page 136: Mrs. Jones is not happy. She tells the Assistant that she will post her presents when she wants. The Assistant is polite and she says it will cost her 10 and 6 pence altogether. Mrs. Jones gives her the money.
Mrs. Jones and Mrs. Smith talk, standing away from the counter. The Deaf Old Man goes to the Assistant. She asks him how she can serve him. The gentleman says he has come to collect his old age pension. The assistant asks for his book. The gentleman does not hear properly. The assistant asks him: Did you bring the book? The gentlemen replies, “Of course, I didn’t bring my cook. My wife does all my cooking.” The assistant says he did not hear what she said. The gentleman again misunderstands. He replies: “Bed! Who ought to be in bed? I am not as young as I was, but I am still healthy. Don’t you be so impudent, young lady.”
The Assist once again says, “I’m afraid you didn’t hear what I said.” Again the gentleman mishears her and asks her who told her that he is called Ted. Is she trying to tell him his name? His name is Sam and he has come for his pension.
The Assistant again asks him if he has brought his book. The gentleman tells her not to speak about the cook. The Assistant loudly tells him she is talking of book and not cook. The gentleman asks her why she did not ask for it earlier and fumbles in his pockets. He gives the book to her.
Page 137 : Now he turns to the ladies and says it is too cold. The Assistant retums the book to him. He thanks her and mumbles his greetings for the season. The Assistant does not hear him properly and asks him what he said. He says she is a bit deaf. The Assistant is amused at the deaf man calling her deaf.
The deaf man is standing there counting his money. The Fussy Old Lady enters quickly.
The Old Lady rushes to the Assistant and tells her she needs her advice. The Assistant wants to know what the problem is. The Old lady says it is about her cat, Tiddles. Tiddles used to eat plenty but now she is not eating. The Assistant asks her if she has seen a vet. The Old lady says Tiddles has hurt her paw and it must have upset her. The old lady is confused as to what to do. The Assistant says she should put some antiseptic on the paw. The Old lady wants the Assistant to give it to her The Assistant tells her to get it from the chemist’s as this is a post office. The Old lady says she made a mistake; she thought it was a clinic for sick animals.
Page 138 : The Assistant tells her that the animal. clinic is at the end of the road. The Old says she is sorry. But she can’t go away without buying something. She will buy a two and half penny stamp. They are so beautiful and may be useful at this Christmas time.
The gentleman now talks to the lady. He says he knows something about cats and he could help her. At this time a Farmer, Mrs. Higgins and Bertie enter. The farmer greets the Assistant. He puts a parcel on the scales and asks her how much he has to pay. She says one and nine pence. Jokingly the Farmer asks if any bombs came in the post. The Assistant is surprised. Then the Farmer reads from the newspaper. “Bomb found in post office. Scotland Yard has issued a warning that a time-bomb disguised as a Christmas parcel was discovered in a London post office. Any suspicious-looking parcel should be reported at once to the local police station.”
The Assistant wants to know how one can tell it is a time-bomb. The Farmer explains that time-bombs usually tick just before they go off. If any parcel makes funny noises, she should be careful. Now Mrs. Jones recognizes the Farmer whose name is Mr. Brown. Now he talks to Mrs Jones and Mrs Smith. Bertie, an untidy boy, stares at Farmer Brown. His mother, a large, loud woman, goes to the counter.
Page 139 : Mrs. Higgins asks Bertie not to stare as it is rude. Bertie says, “O.K. Ma.’ Mrs Higgins tells him not to call her ‘Ma’, Then he calls her Mum. Mrs Higgins asks the Assistant to give her a book stamps and a money order for 2 pounds, 11 shillings and 5 pence. The Assistant gives her the book of stamps and asks her to fill in the money order form. As Mrs Higgins fills the form, she tells the boy to wipe his nose. He says he wants an engine. Mrs Higgins says this is a post office and engines are not sold there. Bertie says: “I seed ’em” next door. Mrs. Higgins is shocked at his language and asks him if he is not taught to speak English properly at school. He ‘corrects’ himself and says, “I sawed ’em”.
Mrs. Higgins agrees with him! She gives the form to the Assistant. Mrs. Higgins asks the boy not to play with the scales. She tells the Assistant he is a naughty boy and she does not know what to do with him.
Mrs. Higgins asks the boy to put his cap straight and pull his socks up. Bertie wants an ice cream. Mrs. Higgins wonders how he can eat ice cream in this weather. But she agrees to buy him if he behaves well. The Assistant asks her she has any more work at the post office.
Page 140: Mrs. Higgins says she wanted something else. But she has forgotten. She asks Bertie if he remembers it. Bertie says, “An engine’, Mrs. Higgins asks him not to be silly. Then he says it is ice cream. Mrs. Higgins says she wants to draw some money from her National Savings. Bertie wants to know if it is to buy him an engine. She asks him to keep quiet. The Assistant asks Higgins to give her the book and fill in the form.
A Foreign Tourist enters. He is dark and evil-looking. He is dressed in black and speaks with an accent. He greets the Assistant and tells her to send the parcel he has brought. It is for his friend. She wants to weigh it. As she weighs he leaves his gloves on the counter. She is happy the way the parcel is packed. It is very heavy. She says it will cost him five shillings. He thanks her. He walks away and then returns. He says he could not post the parcel early. He came to this country only a few days ago. The Assistant says it if is a present it will be in time. The Tourist says it is a special present. He wants to know how long it will take for it to reach the Central Post office to be sorted. The Assistant says it will be collected at midday.
Page 141 : The Tourist hopes they will take good care of his parcel. He wants to know if it will be opened. Will it be stolen? The Assistant assures him of the safety of the parcel. He thanks her and goes away leaving his gloves behind. The Assistant is a bit shaken. She wonders what is in the parcel. He seemed very anxious about it. Bertie goes to the parcel and looks at it.
Mrs. Smith asks the Farmer if he could give her a – turkey for Christmas. He says he can spare one. Mrs.
Higgins asks Bertie to come away from the parcel. As Bertie is reluctant she tells him that he will not get his engine or anything else for Christmas unless he comes away quickly from the parcel. Bertie can hear some sound from the parcel and he asks her to listen. Mrs. Higgins does not want to listen and she does not want Bertie also – to listen. The Assistant asks Bertie what the matter is. Bertie says the parcel “ain’t ‘alf making a funny noise”. Mrs. Higgins asks the boy where his grammar is. The boy says she is at home watching television!
Page 142: Mrs Higgins threatens to punish him when they go home for his cheekiness. The Assistant says she heard some ticking noise. The Farmer says he can still hear it. Mrs. Jones and Mrs. Smith can also hear. The Old gentleman wants to know what the people are hearing. The Old Lady says she can hear a most peculiar sound. What could it be! Farmer says it is a time-bomb. Everybody is worried and asks Where?’ The Farmer says it is in the parcel. The Old Lady wants to know what a time-bomb is. The Farmer says if they don’t do something fast, they will soon know what a time-bomb is. The Old Gentleman does not know what is the fuss about. The Old Lady says, “It is about a time-bomb.” The Gentleman asks, “Tom? Tom who?” The Farmer says it is better to send for a policeman. Mrs. Higgins asks Bertie to go and bring a policeman. Bertie goes out. The Assistant says she will take it outside and she goes to pick it up. Farmer asks her to leave it there because if she takes it, it will explode and kill all of them. Assistant does not know what to do. Farmer says the ticking noise is getting louder. Assistant agrees. The Farmer asks all the people to take cover. They all hide.
Page 143: The Gentleman thinks they are playing hide and seek. A policeman comes with Bertie. The policeman asks why they all are hiding. Assistant says it is a time-bomb. Policeman asks Bertie if he has been doing any mischief. Farmer says there is a time-bomb in the parcel. Policeman asks him not to talk nonsense. Farmers asks him to listen to the noise from the parcel. Policeman listens and says there is a loud ticking noise. Farmer feels happy that he is proved right. He asks the Assistant go get a bucket of water. The Assistant goes out.
The policeman tells the farmer to mind his job and he will do his job. He takes out a notebook and he says, “I will take down a few details.” Mrs. Jones asks him whether it would not be better to open the parcel. The Assistant comes with a bucket of water. The policeman asks the people not to panic. He will soon know what it – is. He begins to un-wrap the parcel. The Foreign Tourist enters. He says he left his gloves there. The Farmer asks the policeman to stop the Tourist as he brought the parcel. Policeman wants to talk with the Tourist. The Farmer holds the Tourist’s arm.
Page 144: The Tourist asks the Farmer why he is holding him. The policeman says it was because of the parcel brought by him and he is going to open it. The Tourist asks him if he is mad. He should leave the parcel alone. Policeman insists that he will open it. Tourist says it is nonsense. The policeman says he wants to know what it is. Tourist says it was ticking but now it has stopped ticking. He calls the policeman a fool. He says he is ruined.
Farmer says it has stopped ticking and so it will go off. He cautions everybody. The policeman throws it into a bucket of water and everybody dives for cover.
The Tourist calls the policeman an idiot and tells him he would be punished for it. The Tourist takes it out of the bucket of water. It is a large clock. The Assistant exclaims ‘A clock”. The Tourist says he had brought it all the way from Switzerland. It is now ruined. He will sue everyone. He calls them blundering idiots. He will never post anything in this country again. “Post Early for Christmas!” He will see the Postmaster General about this. He goes out.
The Assistant puts on her coat and says, “Well, that is that!” The policeman wants to know where she is going. She says she is leaving the post office for ever. She is going to work in the animal dispensary. Animals don’t do such silly things. She walks proudly away!
Post Early for Christmas (One act play) Summary in Malayalam
Devoid – lacking
Rheumatism – a painful disease with stiffness and inflammation
Crown – British coin worth 25 pence
Peering – looking intently
Fumbles – searches without looking
Nippy – very cold
Impudent – disrespectful
Mumbles – talk softly
Untidy – unclean
Urchin – mischievous boy
Fiddling – playing
Sinister-which make you afraid
Panic – too much fear.