Thursday, March 9, 2023

Class XII – English – Vistas – On The Face Of It by Susan Hill: Theme Summary Explanation and Q&A Solved


"On the Face of It" is a play by Susan Hill that explores the themes of isolation, perception, and acceptance. The story follows two characters, Derry and Mr. Lamb. Derry is a teenage boy with a scarred face who is ostracized by his peers because of his appearance. One day, Derry enters the garden of Mr. Lamb, an elderly man with a prosthetic leg, seeking a place to hide. Despite their initial distrust of each other, the two characters begin to bond over their shared experiences of being judged based on their outward appearance.


Through their conversations, Derry learns to look beyond his scars and to embrace life despite his physical differences. Meanwhile, Mr. Lamb, who is also socially isolated due to his disability, finds a companion in Derry and learns to open up to the world again. The play ultimately explores the idea that acceptance and true connection can be found when we look beyond appearances and connect with others on a deeper level.


The theme of "On the Face of It" by Susan Hill is the exploration of appearances versus reality and the idea that true connections can be formed when we look beyond physical appearance. The play also explores the theme of isolation and the effects it has on individuals who are judged based on their outward appearance. Through the characters of Derry and Mr. Lamb, Hill shows that society's perception of physical appearance can cause individuals to feel isolated and alone.


However, through their interactions, Derry and Mr. Lamb learn to look beyond their physical differences and connect with each other on a deeper level. They discover that true acceptance comes from looking beyond appearances and understanding that everyone has a unique story and value as a person. Ultimately, the play suggests that by seeing beyond outward appearances and connecting with others on a deeper level, we can find companionship and a sense of belonging that is essential to our well-being.


"On the Face of It" by Susan Hill is a short story about two characters, Derry and Mr. Lamb, who meet in a garden. Derry is a young boy who has a disfigured face, and Mr. Lamb is an old man who has lost his sight. The two characters strike up a conversation, and as they talk, they begin to see beyond each other's physical appearance.


Derry is initially hesitant to speak to Mr. Lamb, fearing that he will be ridiculed for his appearance. However, Mr. Lamb is kind and understanding, and the two quickly form a bond. Mr. Lamb tells Derry about his blindness and how he has learned to appreciate other senses, such as touch and sound.


As the conversation continues, Derry opens up to Mr. Lamb and tells him about the difficulties he has faced due to his appearance. Mr. Lamb listens intently and offers words of encouragement, telling Derry that he is a "fine boy" regardless of his appearance.


The story ends with Derry leaving the garden, feeling uplifted and hopeful. He realizes that despite their physical differences, he and Mr. Lamb share a deep connection and understanding. The story is a touching portrayal of the power of human connection and the importance of looking beyond surface appearances to see the true beauty within.


Reading with Insight


Q1. What is it that draws Derry towards Mr Lamb inspite of himself?


In the play 'On the Face of It' by Susan Hill, Derry is initially hesitant to approach Mr. Lamb, a disfigured and isolated man who spends most of his time sitting in his garden. However, as the two begin to talk, Derry is drawn towards Mr. Lamb's kindness, empathy, and sense of humor.


Despite his own physical limitations, Mr. Lamb is able to see past Derry's surface-level arrogance and hostility, and connects with him on a deeper emotional level. He listens patiently to Derry's frustrations and fears, and shares his own experiences of overcoming hardship and finding joy in small moments.


As Derry spends more time with Mr. Lamb, he begins to see the man's inner beauty and humanity, rather than his physical appearance. This allows him to confront his own prejudices and biases, and to develop a newfound respect and admiration for Mr. Lamb.


Ultimately, it is Mr. Lamb's ability to connect with Derry on a personal and emotional level, as well as his own unwavering kindness and resilience, that draws Derry towards him in spite of himself.


Q2. In which section of the play does Mr Lamb display signs of loneliness and disappointment? What are the ways in which Mr Lamb tries to overcome these feelings?


In the play "On the Face of It" by Susan Hill, Mr Lamb displays signs of loneliness and disappointment in Act II, Scene 1.


During this scene, Mr Lamb talks about his past and how he used to have friends and a wife, but now he is all alone. He mentions that his wife died many years ago and he never remarried, and all his friends have either passed away or moved away. He also speaks about his son, who he hasn't seen in years and who doesn't seem to want anything to do with him.


To overcome his feelings of loneliness and disappointment, Mr Lamb tries to connect with Derry by sharing stories about his past and trying to find common ground. He also tries to be a good listener and offer advice to Derry about his own struggles. Additionally, Mr Lamb finds joy in nature and the beauty of the world around him, which he shares with Derry. Despite his efforts, however, Mr Lamb's loneliness and disappointment continue to weigh heavily on him.


Q3. The actual pain or inconvenience caused by a physical impairment is often much less than the sense of alienation felt by the person with disabilities. What is the kind of behaviour that the person expects from others?


In the play 'On the Face of It' by Susan Hill, Mr. Lamb, who is physically impaired, feels a deep sense of loneliness and alienation. Despite his efforts to be friendly and kind, he feels that people are afraid of him and avoid him because of his physical appearance. He longs for someone to see past his disability and treat him like a normal person.


The kind of behaviour that a person with disabilities expects from others is empathy, acceptance, and understanding. They want others to recognize that they are more than their disability and to treat them with the same respect and kindness they would show to anyone else. In the play, Derry, who is also dealing with his own sense of alienation, initially avoids Mr. Lamb because of his appearance. However, as the two spend time together, Derry learns to see past Mr. Lamb's disability and appreciate him for who he is. This helps Mr. Lamb to overcome his feelings of loneliness and disappointment, and he becomes more open and trusting towards Derry.


In short, people with disabilities want to be treated with respect, kindness, and understanding. They want others to see them as individuals rather than just their disability, and to recognize that they have unique talents, interests, and feelings just like everyone else.


Q4. Will Derry get back to his old seclusion or will Mr Lamb’s brief association effect a change in the kind of life he will lead in the future?


The play 'On the Face of It' by Susan Hill does not provide a clear answer to whether Derry will go back to his old seclusion or if his brief association with Mr Lamb will lead to a change in his future. However, the play does suggest that Derry has been impacted by his interactions with Mr Lamb.


Throughout the play, we see Derry's initial resistance to Mr Lamb's attempts to engage with him slowly give way to a genuine friendship. Mr Lamb's kindness and empathy help Derry to see beyond his physical appearance and disabilities, and to connect with him on a human level. This is evident in the scene where Derry helps Mr Lamb put on his coat, showing that he is willing to assist someone who has helped him.


However, it is also clear that Derry is still struggling with his own insecurities and fears, particularly around how others perceive him. He worries that his classmates will mock him for being friends with an old man, and fears that his time with Mr Lamb may make him more vulnerable to further hurt.


Ultimately, the play leaves the question of Derry's future open-ended, suggesting that it is up to him to decide whether to continue on the path of isolation or to embrace the potential for connection and friendship that Mr Lamb has shown him.


How about...

using your imagination to suggest another ending to the above story.


As Derry sat beside Mr. Lamb, he couldn't help but feel a sense of gratitude and comfort in his presence. Despite his initial reluctance to engage with the old man, he realized that he had found an unexpected friend in Mr. Lamb.


Days turned into weeks, and weeks turned into months as the two continued to spend time together. Derry found himself enjoying Mr. Lamb's company more and more, and he couldn't imagine going back to his old life of seclusion.


One day, Derry decided to take Mr. Lamb on an adventure. They traveled to a nearby lake, where Derry rented a boat for the two of them to enjoy. As they rowed out into the water, Mr. Lamb couldn't help but feel a sense of joy and wonder. He had never felt so alive in years.


As they rowed back to shore, Mr. Lamb turned to Derry and said, "Thank you for showing me that life still has so much to offer. You have given me a reason to keep going, even when things seem bleak." Derry smiled and replied, "Thank you for reminding me that I don't have to face the world alone. I have you now, and that's all that matters."


From that day on, Derry and Mr. Lamb continued to explore the world together, experiencing new things and creating new memories. They were no longer alone, for they had found a true friend in each other.


FAQs – On the Face of It

  1. What is the title of the play and who is the author?

·       The title of the play is "On the Face of It" and it is written by Susan Hill.

  1. What is the theme of the play?

·       The theme of the play is the relationship between two unlikely characters who form a bond despite their differences.

  1. Who are the main characters in the play?

·       The main characters in the play are Mr Lamb and Derry.

  1. What is the physical condition of Mr Lamb?

·       Mr Lamb has a disfigured face as a result of an acid burn.

  1. How does Derry feel about Mr Lamb at the beginning of the play?

·       Derry is initially afraid of Mr Lamb and wants to avoid him.

  1. What happens to change Derry's attitude towards Mr Lamb?

·       Derry becomes intrigued by Mr Lamb's positive outlook on life despite his physical disfigurement.

  1. What is the climax of the play?

·       The climax of the play is when Derry confronts Mr Lamb about his loneliness and Mr Lamb breaks down in tears.

  1. What is the resolution of the play?

·       The resolution of the play is left open-ended, but it is suggested that Derry has learned to appreciate the value of human connection and empathy.

  1. What is the message of the play?

·       The message of the play is that appearances can be deceiving and that people should not be judged based on their physical appearance.

  1. What is the significance of the title "On the Face of It"?

·       The title is a play on words, as it refers to both Mr Lamb's physical appearance and the surface-level interactions between the characters, as well as the deeper emotions and motivations that underlie their interactions.