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The Dear Departed

Stanley Houghton
A story based on greed of inheritance ruining relationships. Abel
Merryweather, an old man is assumed dead. His daughter. Amelia Slater,
has the advantage of inheritance as Abel lived in her house. Before her
sister Elizabeth Jordon arrives, Amelia steals three things from her fathers
property, first she takes his slippers and asks her husband Henry Slater to
wear it. Second is a clock, it was upstairs in his room, and then it has been
shifted to her ground floor and third one is a bureau. Amelia serves tea to
her sister before going to see the dead body. They discuss the will which is
locked in the bureau. As Amelia gets up to get the key of the bureau, they
see Abel coming down the stairs. They are shocked to see him alive. When
Abel discovers the intention of his daughters, he decides to marry Mrs.
John Shorrock and changes his will.
Learning Objectives:
1. Greed of inheritance ruins relationships.
2. Old parents are not a burden. They deserve love and respect.
3. The young must not forget that they too will get old one day.
1. To appreciate drama
Questions asked in the class/ activities:
a. Do they have the grandparents living with them? Is it fun to live with
b. Do the grandparents have a say in the family matters?
c. Do they help the grandchildren in studies?
d. Can they imagine losing a family member? How would they react?
e. How is a play different from a piece of fiction?
1. Students understand the universality of the theme.

2. Peculiar problem of nuclear families

3. Understand different characters
4. They understand the how the greed of material benefits
overshadows relationships
5. Understand stage setting
6. How to write an obituary and to design condolence letters
7. Improve their vocabulary

1. Discuss the significance of the title of the play. Bring out the irony
inherent in it?

Comment on abuse and harassment of elderly people.

What message does the drama convey?
Establish Ben as a comic character.
How far do you accept Grandfather to be a unique character?
Name the three things and explain how those played an important
role in exposing the embezzlement.
7. Evaluate the use of humour in the drama.
8. How would you justify the title?
1. Discuss the characters of Amelia, Elizabeth, Ben and Henry. Do you
find similar characters around you?
2. How can we make the world a better place for the elderly?
3. Do we need old age homes?
4. Is money the only reason we need the elderly for?
5. How can the old live a happy life on their own?
Group Work

The portrayal of characters in drama

Human emotional needs and human behaviour
Real life recounting of similar incidents
A study of an old age home

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