12th English : The Hour of Truth (Play)
Unit 3.3 > The Hour of Truth (Play)
a) We judge people around us, based on their qualities and actions. We brand some people as good and some bad. What qualities, do you think, characterise a gentleman? Some of them may be merely external and some others internal
|Well – dressed||Courteous|
|Avoid talking aloud||Honest|
b) When we see a few coins scattered on the ground, we would probably pick them up on the sly or walk away ignoring them. What if it was an envelope full of ` 2000 bills? How are people likely to react in such a situation?
|Discuss with a partner and share your views.|
Some people may pocket it after checking whether anybody notices him. But there are some people who enquire those around whether it belongs to any one of them.
- wrecking – ruining, destroying (here, bankruptcy)
- indict – accuse or charge someone for a crime and put on trial
- testify – give evidence as a witness in court
- governor – the way John addresses his father
- go on the stand – testify during a trial in the court of law
- smash-up – complete collapse (insolvency)
- indignantly – angrily
- perjure – swear falsely
- haggle – argue, disagree
- reckoned – calculated
- misappropriate – to take other’s money dishonestly for one’s own use
- nonplussed – confused, puzzled
- baptized – named, christened
- of his own accord – voluntarily, without compulsion
- technicality – a minor detail
- shams – people who cheat others
- hypocrites – people who put on a false appearance, pretenders
- apprehension – fear
- buoyantly – cheerfully
- piteously – sympathetically
1. Rearrange the following sentences in a meaningful sequence and write the summary of the play.
- Baldwin who returned home after meeting Gresham, informed his family that Gresham had offered a hundred thousand, if he would utter the words ‘I don’t remember’ in court, during the trial.
- The family members tried to justify Gresham’s act and enticed Baldwin into accepting the money.
- Thus ‘The Hour of Truth’ had dawned relieving Baldwin of the heavy burden and guilt.
- Baldwin was an honest and upright man, working under John Gresham, in a bank.
- To save Baldwin, Mr. Marshall, President of the Third National, visited him and informed him that Gresham had confessed his crime, in order to free him from betraying his trusted friend and testifying painfully against him.
- Gresham and Baldwin had been thick friends for over 30 years and Baldwin had even named his son after Gresham.
- Baldwin felt disgusted with himself and the attitude of his family members.
- Gresham had been arrested for misappropriation of money at the bank and Baldwin was to testify against him.
- Mr. Marshall also offered Baldwin a job in his Bank, to reward him for his honesty and integrity.
- The family members who were initially against Gresham, changed their mind on hearing the huge sum offered by him.
Baldwin was an honest and upright man, working under John Gresham, in a bank. Gresham and Baldwin had been thick friends for over 30 years and Baldwin had even named his son after Gresham. Gresham had been arrested for misappropriation of money at the bank and Baldwin was to testify against him. Baldwin who returned home after meeting Gresham, informed his family that Gresham had offered a hundred thousand, if he would utter the words ‘I don’t remember’ in court, during the trial. The family members who were initially against Gresham, changed their mind on hearing the huge sum offered by him. The family members tried to justify Gresham’s act and enticed Baldwin into accepting the money. Baldwin felt disgusted with himself and the attitude of his family members. To save Baldwin, Mr. Marshall, President of the Third National, visited him and informed him that Gresham had confessed his crime, in order to free him from betraying his trusted friend and testifying painfully against him. Mr. Marshall also offered Baldwin a job in his Bank, to reward him for his honesty and integrity. Thus ‘The Hour of Truth’ had dawned relieving Baldwin of the heavy burden and guilt.
2. Answer the following questions in one or two sentences each.
a) Why did Baldwin meet Gresham?
Gresham, the president of the bank misappropriated the bank money and he was arrested. Mr. Gresham asked Mr. Baldwin the Governor of the bank and his close friend to meet him to discuss how to come out of this problem.
b) What made Martha withdraw her money from the bank?
She read in the newspaper about the wrecking of the bank and she withdrew her money on her own against the wishes of her husband.
c) How is Martha’s strong conviction in Baldwin’s integrity revealed?
Marth told her daughter Evie that her husband Baldwin never did anything wrong. She was sure that Baldwin could not have done anything wrong.
d) What had Donovan told John?
Donovan had told John that nobody had any idea that there was something wrong with the bank.
e) John feels Gresham deserves punishment. Why?
John feels that Gresham was paying his staff poorly. Even his father was underpaid. So he feels that Gresham deserves punishment.
f) What was Baldwin’s advice to Gresham?
Baldwin advised Gresham to make good the loss of the customers.
g) What did Gresham want Baldwin to do?
Gresham wanted Baldwin to save him from the case.
h) Explain the significance of the words ‘I don’t remember’.
These are the words which Gresham wants Baldwin to tell the court. If Baldwin says that he does not remember certain things, Gresham will not be punished.
i) Why does John turn wild on hearing that Gresham had offered his father money?
Gresham did not pay his father well when he was working as a governor of the bank. But now he offered him money to tell a lie. So he turns wild.
j) When would Baldwin part company with Gresham?
When Gresham ceases to be honest Baldwin would part company with Gresham.
k) What does John consider ‘a technicality’?
Nobody loses any money and nobody wants to punish Gresham. John considers this as a technicality.
l) Why was John filled with shame?
John was filled with shame because he carried the name of Gresham who would be punished for misappropriation of money.
m) How much did Gresham offer to pay Baldwin for saving his skin and how did he justify that?
Gresham offered to pay hundred thousand dollars. Gresham justified saying that Baldwin was underpaid when he was in service and the hundred thousand dollars would be the difference between what he was paid and what he had been worth to the bank.
n) What was Mr. Marshall’s offer to Baldwin?
Mr. Marshall offered Baldwin a job in the bank, the Third National.
o) How was Baldwin’s honesty rewarded?
At the end Gresham accepted his guilt so Baldwin need not give witness against his boss. Because of his honesty he got a job in the Third National.
3. Based on your understanding of the play, complete the Graphic Organiser given below.
|Title : The Hour of Truth||Author : Percival Wilde|
Parlour of a little cottage where a family awaits the return of the head, Mr. Baldwin. Baldwin and his family members discuss the problem in the Bank where Baldwin was working.
Baldwin, Martha, Evie, John, Mr. Marshall.
Gresham accepts his crime. Baldwin’s honesty is proved. Mr. Marshall offers him a job in the Third National.
Tendency to be corrupted by the power
We should not be carried away by the power of money. Honesty will be rewarded at the end.
Mr. Robert Baldwin works in the bank of Mr. Gresham, who is now in police custody for misappropriation of depositors’ money. He offers Mr. Baldwin, a truthful person, 100000/- dollars as bribe to say three words ‘I don’t remember” at the time of the trial which is going to take place the next day. The reaction to this offer from all other members of his family is the main plot of the play.
a) How did the presence of Richard Parker influence the attitude of Pi?
Pi on his way to Canada – ship wrecked – escaped in a life boat – tiger, orangutan, zebra, hyena – left only with tiger – a protection to him – seemed sedated – seasickness –other animals fear of bigger animal – brought Pi peace – wanted to tame him – tiger should die first – his love for tiger – wanted to live with tiger
‘Life of Pi’ is an abridged version of the famous novel titled ‘Life of Pi’ written by Yann Martel. Pi was on his way to Canada with his father, mother and animals of his zoo. But unfortunately the ship was wrecked and Pi escaped in a lifeboat. In the same lifeboat he had a tiger named Richard Parker, an orangutan, a zebra and a hyena. At the end he was left with the tiger. Parker’s presence was a protection for him from other animals. It behaved as if it was sedated and it suffered from seasickness. Other animals were silent because of the fear of the bigger animal. Pi accepted that Parker calmed him down. He says that one who scared him brought him peace. He wanted to tame him. His attitude was that he tiger should die first. But suddenly he realised that part of him loved the tiger. He did not want to be left alone. So he wanted to live with the tiger.
Adventures start where plans end.
b) Water is the elixir of life. Substantiate the statement with reference to the story of ‘Life of Pi’.
Pi on his way to Canada – animals of his zoo – ship wrecked – escaped with few animals – thirsty – moving from one end to other – he might die – discovered water cans – water enough for 124 days – opened the can – poured the water into his throat – he got back his life – liquid of life –
‘Life of Pi’ is an abridged version of the famous novel titled ‘Life of Pi’ written by Yann Martel. Pi was on his way to Canada with his father, mothe
4. Answer in a paragraph in about 150 words each.
a) Trace the bond of friendship between Baldwin and Gresham. Explain why Baldwin wished to attribute some credit to his friend.
money corrupts – Baldwin honest and upright – working in bank of John Gresham – good friends – Baldwin’s son Gresham – Gresham – misappropriation of money – Baldwin to testify against him – Gresham sincere – Baldwin honest – decided to part with friend – promised 100000 dollars – Baldwin’s family greedy – wanted to help Gresham – Baldwin kept his honesty.
Percival Wilde’s play “The Hour of Truth” is an intense psychological study. It studies the corrupting influence of money on people. The plot of the play explores greed from different angles. Almost all individuals in this play are tempted by money. This one act play particularly shows how easily people forget their moral values and principles. Baldwin was an honest and upright man, working under John Gresham, in a bank. Gresham and Baldwin had been thick friends for over 30 years and Baldwin had even named his son after Gresham. Gresham had been arrested for misappropriation of money at the bank and Baldwin was to testify against him. Gresham had been a sincere person and Baldwin was an honest man. Both were good friends but when Baldwin came to know about the misappropriation of money he decided to part with him. Though Gresham promised to give him 100000 dollars for saving him Baldwin did not accept the offer. At the end Baldwin’s family wanted to help Gresham because they were greedy enough to get the money from Gresham. But Baldwin kept his honesty till the end.
Integrity is telling myself the truth. And honesty is telling the truth to other people.
b) How did Martha and John react when they came to know that Baldwin had rejected the generous offer made by Gresham?
Baldwin was an honest and upright man, working under John Gresham, in a bank. Gresham and Baldwin had been thick friends for over 30 years and Baldwin had even named his son after Gresham.Gresham had been arrested for misappropriation of money at the bank and Baldwin was to testify against him.
Baldwin had determined to testify against Gresham. Baldwin’s family members were with Baldwin to testify against Gresham. When they heard that Gresham offered to give him hundred thousand dollars their perception changed. Martha was telling him that people would talk against Baldwin if he testified against Gresham. They would say that he ditched his close friend. His son John told him that he would be ashamed if Gresham was punished because he had his name with him. Their change of attitude shows how man changes when money corrupts him.
Integrity is telling myself the truth. And honesty is telling the truth to other people
c) Is Baldwin really honest or does he maintain his honesty fearing criticism? Why do you say so?
Baldwin was an honest and upright man, working under John Gresham, in a bank. Gresham and Baldwin had been thick friends for over 30 years and Baldwin had even named his son after Gresham. Gresham had been arrested for misappropriation of money at the bank and Baldwin was to testify against him. Baldwin was really an honest man. If he had not been so he would have accepted the huge offer given by Gresham. Even if he testified for Gresham he would just say ‘I don’t remember’. This would not reveal him to the public. Though his family members changed their attitude after knowing the offer, he did not accept their request. There was a possibility of losing his job but still he determined to testify against Gresham. Because of his honesty Mt. Marshall offered him a job in the Third National. So we can say that Baldwin is really an honest man.
No legacy is so rich as honesty.
d) Sketch the character of i) Robert Baldwin and ii) John Gresham
Baldwin simple life with family – governor national bank – honest, hardworking – more than 35 years – good relationship with family – kind and loyal – no compromise with morality – did not accept the offer to help Gresham – arrested for misappropriation of money – get promotion at the Third National John Gresham president of national bank – corrupt – representative of new America – money minded – misappropriates bank money – selfish – do anything to hide corrupted nature – ready to give bribes – change in the end – powerful and truthful attitude of Baldwin – a new man – will to be honest
i) Robert Baldwin is the protagonist of this play. He leads a simple life with his wife Martha and his son John and daughter Evie. He is working as the Governor of the National Bank. He is an honest, diligent and hardworking employee. He has been working in the bank for more than 35 years. He keeps a good relationship with his family members. He is kind and loyal to others. He is not ready to make any kind of compromise with his morality. When his friend John Gresham was arrested for the misappropriation of bank account. Baldwin was not ready to make any kind of compromise. Baldwin was the only witness. He is not upset when John Gresham offers a bribe of 100000 dollars to say in the court, “I don’t remember”. It is because of his deep-rooted morality and honesty, he is getting promotion at the Third National.
ii) Mr. John Gresham is the President of a national bank. He is corrupt from the beginning. He is really a true representative of the new American. He has a strong attachment with the money. He misappropriates money from his own bank. His attitude towards money is really selfish. He is ready to do anything for hiding his corrupted nature. He is ready to give and take bribes. But he changes his mind in the end with the firm resolve and truthful attitude of his friend John Baldwin. He becomes a new man. This shows that he has a will to be a man of honesty.
It takes strength and courage to admit the truth.
e) Who do you think exhibits true friendship – Baldwin or Gresham? Justify your answer.
Baldwin honest and upright – in Gresham’s bank – Gresham and Baldwin friends – named son Gresham – more than 30 years – Gresham’s misappropriation of money – Baldwin to testify against – offer of hundred thousand dollars – Baldwin not ready – ready to part with him –Gresham not honest – accepts his mistake – avoids his friend’s appearance in the court – both exhibit friendship
Baldwin was an honest and upright man, working under John Gresham, in a bank. Gresham and Baldwin had been thick friends for over 30 years and Baldwin had even named his son after Gresham. Gresham had been arrested for misappropriation of money at the bank and Baldwin was to testify against him. Gresham was ready to offer hundred thousand dollars to Baldwin to save him from the trouble. Though he was his friend Baldwin was not ready to help him. He said that they had been friends so far but now he would part with him because Gresham was not honest. Gresham at the end did not want his friend to come to the court. So he accepted his, guilt. Both of them were good friends and both of them exhibited their friendship in different ways.
Honesty is more than not lying.
It is truth telling, truth speaking, truth living and truth loving..
An idiom is an expression in English language that has a special meaning of its own. It cannot be understood
from the meanings of the individual words.
Here are a few idioms that you came across in the play you have just read. For e.g. ‘I told him he would have to make good.’ The idiom ‘to make good’ means ‘to compensate for a wrongdoing’.
Now match the idioms under column A with their meanings in column B:
|save one’s skin||a sudden unexpected event or news|
|make both ends meet||to be the most powerful|
|a bolt out of a clear sky||viewed with suspicion and distrust|
|go to grave||to protect oneself from difficulty|
|have the whip hand||manage one’s expenses within one’s income|
|under a cloud||to exit the world|
|Ans : 1 – d, 2 – e, 3 – a, 4 – f, 5 – b, 6 – c|
a) Imagine you are Baldwin and your partner is Gresham. Try your best to persuade your partner to confess the truth. Build a conversation describing how both of you would react in such a situation. Work in pairs.
Baldwin : My dear Gresham, please confess in the court. You may be pardoned.
Gresham : No, Baldwin. I’ll lose my reputation among the clients.
Baldwin : Certainly not. Honesty is the best policy. Our clients will definitely sympathize with you when they understand the circumstances.
Gresham : Look here! you’ve nothing to lose by helping me. After all, I will make up the loss without any body’s knowledge.
Baldwin : Gresham, it is a different thing. You have to run from pillar to post in order to compensate. But by confessing, you will be held in high esteem.
Gresham : I doubt it.
Baldwin : Please, listen to me. We have been thick friends for the past 30 years. You have done the wrong thing because of forces of circumstances.
I know you are a conscientious man.
Believe me. You will never lose your reputation.
Gresham : Ok, dear friend. I’ll consider and contact you tomorrow.
Baldwin : Hope you will take the right decision.
b) ‘ A friend in need is a friend indeed’. Does this hold good in all situations? Share your views with your class.
No, this doesn’t hold good in all situations. When we are confronted with physical tight corners, our friends will try their best to help us. They will take risks also. But when we face finacial crunch, they may hesitate. This is because their parents may not support them. Circumstances compel them to act in their own ways. So we should not expect our friends to help in all circumstances. Realising their inability, we should not hesitate to appreciate them. Without friendship, our life journey will be dull and drab.
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