Mrs. Packletide's Tiger
Discuss the following questions in detail and write the answers in your notebooks:
Question 1: Do you think the tiger shooting organized by the villagers was a serious affair? Give reasons for your answer.
Answer: Almost all the villagers were involved in organizing the shooting of tiger. For them, it was one of the rare opportunities to earn a handsome amount of money. A thousand rupees in those days must have been a huge amount; even if we take per head share in a small village. Right from children to ladies; everyone was doing his/her bit while organizing the tiger hunt. All of this shows the seriousness of the villagers.
Question 2: Do you think the writer is trying to make fun of the main characters in the story i.e. Mrs. Packletide, Miss Mebbin and Loona Bimberton? Pick out instances from the story that point to this fact.
Answer: The whole story is satirical and fun has been made on each character. For example; the story begins with the explanation of Mrs. Packletide’s wish to kill a tiger. It says that she did not wish to kill the tiger to save the people from those ferocious animals. She did not wish to attain nirvana by killing a tiger. Similarly; the story tells us how Loona Bimberton talked of nothing else but tigers during her flight. The story also tells about unique character of Miss Mebbin and how did she manage to get the money to buy a cottage.
Question 3: A person who is vain is full of self importance and can only think of himself/herself and can go to great lengths to prove his/her superiority. Do you think Mrs Packletide is vain? Give reasons in support of your answer.
Answer: Mrs. Packletide does not pursue the hobby of hunting but she wants to kill a tiger so that she could boast of her exploits. She is careful enough to choose an old and weak tiger to avoid the risks involved in hunting. She was unable to hit the tiger but wants others to believe that it was she who killed the tiger. These instances show that Mrs. Packletide is vain indeed.
Question 4: Sometimes writers highlight certain negative aspects in society or human beings by making fun of it. This is called satire. In your groups discuss whether you would classify this story as a satire. Give reasons to support your answer.
Answer: In this story, the author has highlighted two different issues. One of the issues is the unhealthy practice of killing wild animals. But it was a rage among the rich and the influential during pre-independence days. Another issue is people’s tendency to show off. These are serious issues but the story can become boring if such issues are dealt with in a serious tone. By using satire, the author can easily bring home the point and that is what has been used in this story.
Question 5: How does the writer create humor in this story
Answer: The writer uses various tools to create humor in this story. The writer has used grandiloquent language to explain some simple issues. Let us consider the following sentence:
“Village could boast of being the favoured rendezvous of an animal of respectable antecedents, which had been driven by the increasing infirmities of age to abandon game-killing and confine its appetite to the smaller domestic animals.”
This could have been written in much simpler language as follows:
A tiger had become too old to catch prey. Hence, it used to sneak into a village to capture some domestic animals for food.
But the simple sentence may not have given the satirical tone which the author wanted.
Choose extracts from the story that illustrate the character of the people listed in the table given below. There are some words given to help you. You may add words of your own. One has been done as an example: vain jealous competitive shrewd manipulative stingy materialistic spiteful
|Characters||Extracts from story||What this tells us about the character|
|Mrs. Packletide||(i) The compelling motive for her sudden Competitive deviation towards the footsteps of Nimrod was the fact that Loona Bimberton had recently been carried eleven miles in an aeroplane by an Algerian aviator, and talked of nothing else; only a personally procured tiger-skin and a heavy harvest of Press photographs could successfully counter that sort of thing||Competitive|
|ii) Mrs. Packletide had offered a thousand rupees for the opportunity of shooting a tiger without over-much risk or exertion,||Shrewd|
|(iii) Mrs. Packletide faced the cameras with a light heart, and her pictured fame reached from the pages of the Texas Weekly Snapshot to the illustrated Monday supplement of the Novoe Vremya.||Manipulative|
|Louisa Mebbin||(i) "If it's an old tiger I think you ought to get it cheaper. A thousand rupees is a lot of money."||Materialistic|
|(ii) Louisa Mebbin adopted a protective elder-sister attitude towards money in general, irrespective of nationality or denomination||Stingy|
|(iii) "How amused every one would be if they knew what really happened," said Louisa Mebbin a few days after the ball.||Manipulative|
|(iv) Louisa Mebbin's pretty week-end cottage, christened by her "Les Fauves," and gay in summer-time with its garden borders of tiger-lilies, is the wonder and admiration of her friends||Materialistic|
|Loona Bimberton||(i) As for Loona Bimberton, she refused to look at an illustrated paper for weeks, and her letter of thanks for the gift of a tiger-claw brooch was a model of repressed emotions||Jealous|
|(ii) there are limits beyond which repressed emotions become dangerous.||Jealous|
There are many amusing lines in the story. Here are a few of them. Rewrite each one in ordinary prose so that the meaning is retained. One has been done for you as an example:
Question 1: It was Mrs. Packletide's pleasure and intention that she should shoot a tiger.
Answer: Mrs. Packletide wanted to shoot a tiger
Question 2: Mrs. Packletide had already arranged in her mind the lunch she would give at her house in Curzon Street, ostensibly in Loona Bimberton's honour, with a tiger-skin rug occupying most of the foreground and all of the conversation.
Answer: Mrs. Packletide had planned in advance about the grand celebration.
Question 3: Mothers carrying their babies home through the jungle after the day's work in the fields hushed their singing lest they might curtail the restful sleep of the venerable herd-robber.
Answer: Women of the village talked in hushed tones so as not to disturb the tiger.
Question 4: Louisa Mebbin adopted a protective elder-sister attitude towards money in general, irrespective of nationality or denomination
Answer: Louisa Mebbin was too possessive of money; irrespective of currency or value.
Question 5: Evidently the wrong animal had been hit, and the beast of prey had succumbed to heart-failure, caused by the sudden report of the rifle, accelerated by senile decay
Answer: The bullet hit the goat but the ageing tiger died because of shock from the gunshot.
Question 6: As for Loona Bimberton, she refused to look at an illustrated paper for weeks, and her letter of thanks for the gift of a tiger-claw brooch was a model of repressed emotions
Answer: Loona Bimberton avoided to read newspaper for weeks and wrote a very cold letter of thanks.