"HEAT LIGHTNING" Questions and Answers | Robert F. Carroll | Play No. 1 | 1st Year English Book 3


 " Night Mail " Poem Stanza No. 2  Explanation  and Questions-Answers (W.H. Auden)
"HEAT LIGHTNING"
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Q: Why could not the girl describe the killer?
Ans: Escaping from the killer, the girl entered the bus station. She slammed the door after her hastily. She found a man already inside. She told him that a killer was following her. But she could not describe the killer. She said,"I'am scared. Oh, God I'am scared." She saw a man was dragging a dead lady out of the car. The girl said, " I saw her hand and then__her head__her hair was light and long." Moreover, the night was dark and stormy. With such a state of mind, the girl was to describe the killer.

Q: What circumstances forced her to leaved the car?
Ans: It was a stormy night. It started raining heavily. Terrible thundering and lightning made the night still more horrible. The girl was driving home all alone. She thought that she had gas enough to reach home. Suddenly, she ran out of gas. She was helpless in such a critical situation. She decided to lock the car there and go home by bus. She had to walk to the station. She told the First Man, "There are so few cars this time of the morning?" These were the circumstances in which the girl had to rush for station.

Q:Why did the girl ask the first man for help?
Ans: The Girl requested the first man to help her because she thought that a killer was chasing her. She had seen him dragging the dead body of a woman from his car. She said, " I saw her hand  and then__ her head__her hair was light and long." So, he chased her. She tried to dodge him and reach the bus station. When she saw a man inside, she heaved a sigh of relief that now she was not alone. Helpless and alone as she was, she needed someone to help her. Naturally, she requested him to help her. So, she asked him to help her. He was the only hope for the poor girl.

Q: What was the condition of the weather?
Ans: The weather was terrible. It started raining heavily. Sharp lightning flashed every now and then."Lightning flashes and the light dims slowly." To add to the horror of the dark night, thunder echoed all around. The poor helpless Girl was all alone. It was simply the worst weather for a poor lonely girl to face. The weather made the girl more miserable. Therefore, she said, " I saw her hand  and then__ her head__her hair was light and long."

Q: How did the second man accuse the First Man of lying?
Ans: There was a glass pane in the front door of the station. "In the flash of lightning, a man's face can be seen pressed against the glass outside the door". It was the second man. He had seen a Girl through it. When he came in , he said to the first Man: " You tried to tell there was no one else here." Second man's inquisitive questions made it hard for him to conceal the truth. He had to bring the girl out of the room. So the second man accused him of lying.

Q: Does the girl become suspicious of the First Man as the play progressed?
Ans: As the play advanced, the bus arrived at the station. The second man Boarded the bus. The girl deemed that he was a killer. Angrily, she asked the First Man why he had let him in. He tried to defend himself. As they wrangled, the First Man brought out a flashlight from his pocket. It was the same that she dropped as she had faltered in the woods. This identification led to the identification of the first man as the killer. The girl became suspicious and she rushed at the Center door.

Q: What was her impression of the second man?
Ans: Trusting First Man, the girl regarded the second man as the killer. She tried to avoid him. She evaded his question about her destination and the reason for fear. So much so that when the bus came she clearly told him that she would go with the first man rather than him . She thought that he was the killer. The girl asked the first man why he had let the killer in. She felt relieved when he had gone. All this shows that she had a negative impression of the second man.

Q: Why didn't she accompany the second man?
Ans: When the bus arrived at the station, the second man told that it was empty."Empty!" She asked fearfully. The Second Man said, "I guess we'll just keep each other company..." The first man refused to go . The Girl also said, "I don't think that I'll go either. I'll wait." So the girl regarded him as the killer and refused to go with him. The play reveals that she was mistaken downright. The first man, rather the second man was the killer.

Q: Why did the Girl consider the first man her helper?
Ans: The Girl requested the first man to help her because she thought that a killer was chasing her. She had seen him dragging the dead body of a woman from his car. She said, " I saw her hand  and then__ her head__her hair was light and long." So, he chased her. She tried to dodge him and reach the bus station. When she saw a man inside, she heaved a sigh of relief that now she was not alone. Helpless and alone as she was, she needed someone to help her. Naturally, she requested him to help her. So, she asked him to help her. He was the only hope for the poor girl.

Q: What were the factors that played role in saving the Girl?
Ans: The play is really full of suspense. The reader hangs by a thread till the end of the play. Firstly, the First Man inside the station helped her restore. And when he turned out to be the killer, she ran to the front door. Now there was nobody to help her. She was alone to save herself from the killer. A dog had come in to keep away from the rain came up. It jumped at the killer and made him run away. These are the factors which played a role in saving the Girl.

Q: How did she realize the truth?
Ans: As the play advanced, the bus arrived at the station. The second man Boarded the bus. The girl deemed that he was a killer. Angrily, she asked the First Man why he had let him in. He tried to defend himself. As they wrangled, the First Man brought out a flashlight from his pocket. It was the same that she dropped as she had faltered in the woods. This identification led to the identification of the first man as the killer. The girl became suspicious and she rushed at the Center door.

Q: Compare the two men in the play.
Ans: the first man has killed a woman and tries to kill another who is witness to his crime. He asks confirmatory questions know whether she identifies him as the killer. He lies to the second man about her presence in the bus station. He bolts the door and keep out the second man. He comes in and says, "You think you own this place?" Then he discovers that the girl and the man are not together. He also discovers that the Girl and the man are not together . He also discovers that the first man has tried to hide the girl. He points out all this but does not carry it too far.

Q: Bring out the elements of suspense in the play.
Ans: Suspense is the real beauty of the play. For instance, the Girl's cart runs out of gas. We wonder what she would do now. When she finds a car nearby we become hopeful. Suspense doubles when the man turns out to be a killer. The girl escapes him and finds another man inside the station. The true identities of the First man and second man keep the Girl hanging  by a thread. Lastly, we are not sure as to the fate of the girl.

Q: Discuss 'Heat Lightning' as a melodrama.
Ans: A melodrama was meant to entertain the village simpletons. They were pleased by sentimental, tense, and exaggerated situations. The word melo means 'song'. So, loud music, rain, lightning and thunder are the salient features of a melodrama. Melodrama has a happy ending. Here too, the Girl is rescued by a dog. All this makes it a melodrama.

Q: What does the play 'Heat Lightning' teach you?
Ans: The play teaches that however clever and cunning the evil may be, they have to face the music of their misdeeds. Temporary victory may please the evil people, but ultimately they turn out innocent and great. It also teaches that vice and virtue go side by side. God tests man by giving him freedom of choice. It teaches us never to trust strangers. The girl continues to struggle. She does not surrender in any condition. She proves that god helps those who help themselves.

Q: Why the characters in Heat Lightning have no names?
Ans; In heat lightning, there are two men and a girl. They have no names in the play. In fact, names often prove deceptive. The First man appears to be sympathetic and later turns out hostile. The second man appears bad but turns out to be good. Not name but characters is the true identity of a person. So, the writer does not give his characters any names.

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