MRS. PACKLETIDE’S TIGER – CHAPTER SUMMARY
– The story is about a lady named Mrs.Packletide who sets out in a journey to hunt a tiger in order to outwit her rival or say frenemy Loona Bimberton,who had been carried eleven miles in an aeroplane by an Algerian aviator.
-Also since Loona Bimberton was the talk of the town, she decided to gift Loona Bimberton a tiger-claw brooch on her next birthday and this drove her all the way to India to hunt a tiger.
-When she arrived in India, she promised to pay a thousand rupees if she got to shoot a tiger without much risk.
-And circumstances were favorable since she found a tiger meeting to all her requirements in a neighboring village.
-The villagers happily accepted the offer and the very next day children were posted night and day on the outskirts of the jungle to head the tiger back in case he went for fresh hunting grounds.
– Cheap goats were left carelessly to keep him satisfied.
-The only fear of the villagers was that the Tiger will die of old age before the hunt.
– The hunting night finally arrived.A scrape goat was set as a bait and a high wooden platform was setup on a comfortable and convenient tree.
-She along with her paid companion Ms.Lousia Mebbin were perched on the platform with an accurately sighted rifle and a small sized solitaire cards.
-Ms.Mebbin adopted an elderly sister attitude towards money in general as she advised that a thousand rupees were a lot for an old aging tiger.
– When the tiger arrived Mrs.Packletide hushed a complaining Ms.Mebbin and shot the bullet out of the rifle. The tawny beast sprang and rolled over,dead.
-A wave of cheers passed though the crowd of villagers who were watching the whole ordeal.
-It was Ms.Mebbin who drew attention to the fact that the gloat was killed with the bullet,not the tiger.
-The tiger died of heart attack caused by the loud and sudden sound of the rifle.
-The villagers promised to keep quiet and Mrs.Packletide faced the cameras with a light heart and got her photos published on pages of Texas Weekly and Snapshot.
-Loona Bimerton avoided looking at newspapers for weeks,sent a letter of thanks to Mrs.Packletide got the tiger-claw brooch though she was anything but thankful. And also declined the offer of luncheon party.
– But things went downhill for Mrs.Packletide when Ms.Mebbin hinted that what would happen if people will get to know the truth about what had actually happened during the hunt.
-To shut Ms.Mebbin up Mrs.Packletide had brought a weekend cottage of Six hundred and eighty bucks.
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Question and Answers
Q1 : Why did Mrs. Packletide want to kill a tiger?
Mrs. Packletide was jealous of her rival, Loona Bimberton, who had recently travelled 11 kilometres in an airplane operated by an Algerian aviator. In order to outclass her, Mrs. Packletide decided to hunt a tiger and gain media coverage through her pictures.
Q2 : What does it tell you about her?
Mrs. Packletide is full of vanity. She is a selfish person who seems to be jealous at other people’s success.
Q3 : Why did Mrs. Packletide wish to kill a tiger?
Mrs. Packletide wished to kill a tiger so that she could counter to Loona Bimberton’s claim who had been carried eleven miles in an Algerian aviator.
Q4 : What made her decide to give a party in Loona Bimberton’s honour? What did she intend to give Loona on her birthday?
Mrs.Packletide decided that once she shot a tiger, she would invite Loona Bimberton for a luncheon party. At the party she would display the newly-acquired tiger skin. The party would be an appropriate time to show off the tiger skin and talk about her tiger-shooting experience to Loona Bimberton. She intended to give a tiger-claw brooch to Loona Bimberton on her birthday.
Q5 : How was the tiger shooting arranged? What kind of a tiger was chosen for the purpose?
Mrs.Packletide offered a thousand rupees to villagers for arranging an opportunity to shoot a tiger without much risk or exertion. An old tiger that had given up hunting and confined himself to eating domestic animal was chosen for this purpose.
Q6 : In what way did the villagers help Mrs. Packletide shoot the tiger?
Answer : The villagers were very excited at the prospect of earning a thousand rupees. They posted children at the outskirt of the jungle to keep a watch on the tiger in case he wanders off to new hunting grounds. Goats were scattered to keep him satisfied and to prevent him from straying. Mothers with babies walked quietly through the jungle so as to not to disturb its sleep. The villagers were only worried about the tiger that should not die of old age before the day of shoot.
Q7 : Who was Miss Mebbin? Was she really devoted to Mrs. Packletide? How did she behave during the tiger shooting?
Answer : Miss Mebbin was a paid companion. Mrs. Packletide had acquired her so that she could witness the shooting of the tiger. She was very materialistic. She didn’t want to do more than she was paid for. In fact she also instigated Mrs. Packletide not to pay for the goat if the tiger did not eat it. She was not at all devoted to Mrs. Packletide. She was there only for the money.
Q8 : What comment did Miss Mebbin make after Mrs Packletide had fired the shot?
Why did Miss Mebbin make this comment? How did Mrs Packletide react to this comment?
Answer : Miss Mebbin brought to everybody’s notice that Mrs.Packletide had not killed the tiger but the goat. The tiger died because of a heart-failure caused by the sound of the gun shot. Miss Mebbin intended to blackmail Mrs. Packletide with this piece of information. She wanted to take more money from her. Mrs. Packletide was very annoyed at this disclosure. However, she told herself that Miss Mebbin was only a paid companion who would keep the secret to herself if given more money.
Q9 : How did the villagers react to the tiger’s death?
Answer : The villagers were only bothered for their thousand rupees. They did not pay any heed to Miss Mebbin’s revelation that Mrs. Packletide had not killed a tiger but a goat. They readily believed that Mrs. Packletide had shot the beast lest they lose their money.
Q10 : Do you think Mrs. Packletide was able to achieve her heart’s desire? Give reasons for your answer.
Answer : At the very beginning of the story it is made clear that Mrs. Packletide had made up her mind to shoot a tiger and get her pictures published in newspapers to show off to Loona Bimberton. She managed to shoot an animal, the goat. The tiger died of heart-failure. She, however, got her pictures with the dead tiger published in the newspapers. She also gifted a tiger-claw brooch to Loona Bimberton. She also hosted a luncheon party for Loona Bimberton which the latter declined to attend. Thus Mrs. Packletide achieved what her heart desired.
Q11 : How did Miss Mebbin manage to get her week-end cottage? Why did she plant so many tiger lilies in her garden?
Answer : Louisa Mebbin blackmailed Mrs. Packletide into buying her the weekend cottage or else she would have told Loona Bimberton that it was not the tiger but a mere goat that Mrs. Packletide had shot. The tiger lilies would always remind of how she had procured the cottage.
Q12 : “The incidental expenses are so heavy,” she confides to inquiring friends. Who is the speaker? What is she referring to here?
Answer : Mrs. Packletide is the speaker. The lines are said in response to questions regarding why she did not hunt anymore. Mrs. Packletide is referred to the expenses that she incurred when she hunted for the first time, she paid the villagers, she paid Louisa Mebbin and even had to buy her a cottage.
Q13 : Do you think the tiger shooting organized by the villagers was a serious affair?
Give reasons for your answer.
Answer : The tiger shooting organised by the villagers was a serious affair. They were very keen to earn their thousand rupees. They posted children at the outskirts of the jungle to keep a watch on the tiger in case he wanders off to new hunting grounds. Goats were scattered to keep him satisfied and to prevent him from straying. Mothers with the babies walked quietly through the jungle so as to not to disturb its sleep. The villagers had only one worry that the tiger should not die of old age before the day of shoot.
Q14 : 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.
Mrs. Packletide’s Tiger is a humourous story. The author makes fun of almost all the characters. He satirises Mrs.Packletide’s obsession with killing a tiger so as to show off in front of Loona Bimberton. He makes fun of Louisa Mebbin’s materialistic nature. She was very particular about how every penny was spent. He makes fun of Loona Bimberton who refused to attend Mrs. Packletide’s luncheon party because she was jealous of her achievements.
Q15 : 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 : The story begins with Mrs. Packletide’s obsession to procure a tiger skin so that she can show it off to Loona Bimberton. To obtain the tiger skin Mrs.Packletide goes to extreme lengths; she offers a thousand rupees to the villagers to shoot a tiger without much risk or exertion. She acquires a paid companion, Louisa Mebbin, a witness to her extraordinary feat. She makes sure her pictures appear in international newspapers. Finally, she buys a weekend cottage for Louisa Mebbin to prevent her from telling anybody that it was not the tiger but a goat she had shot because the tiger merely died of a heart attack. All this proves that Mrs. Packletide was a vain woman.
Q16 : 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 : This story is definitely a satire. The author not only makes fun of the situation but also of the characters. Mrs. Packeltide’s actions were largely directed by dislike of Loona Bimberton. The motive behind tiger hunt was to show off to her. Loona Bimberton did not look at Mrs. Packletide’s pictures in the newspapers. Her letter of thanks for the tiger-claw brooch was a model of repressed emotions. She declined to attend the luncheon party because she wouldn’t be able to see people praising Mrs. Packletide. Both Louisa Mebbin and the villagers are only concerned about their remuneration. Louisa Mebbin even blackmailed Mrs. Packletide into buying her a cottage. The villagers happily believed that Mrs. Packletide had shot the tiger and not the goat lest they lose their fee. The whole situation of the tiger hunt is also laced with satire. An old tiger who had given up hunting was chosen for the purpose. The tiger dies of a heart-failure than a gun shot. The author paints a picture of a society that is essentially governed by wealth and mutual dislike for each other.
Q17: How does the writer create humor in this story?
Answer : The author makes fun of each character and situation. The characters of Loona Bimberton, Mrs. Packletide, Louisa Mebbin and the villagers are all ridiculed for their peculiar character traits.The tiger hunt is mocked a; an old, infirm tiger is chosen for the hunt making it the least dangerous expedition. The power of money is so strong that the villagers agree that it was not a goat but a tiger that was shot. Louisa Mebbin agrees to keep this a secret in return of money. Thus the author creates humour in the story by highlighting the negative aspects in society or human beings.
Some More Questions:
Answer the following question in about 30-40 words.
- Why did Mrs. Packletide want to kill a tiger?
- Loona Bimberton had enjoyed a joy ride in an aero plane with Algerian pilot. She always boasted of this feat. Mrs. Packletide had a strong dislike of Loona. She wanted to outshine Loona by attempting a much daring feat. Therefore she wished to kill a tiger.
- How did the circumstance prove favorable for Mrs. Packletide?
- An old tiger use to roam about in the jungle around the village. It was too old and weak to kill a big game. So it uses to feed itself on goats, sheep, and other domestic animals Mrs. Packletide availed herself of the god sent opportunity. She made efforts to obtain the tiger. Hence, the circumstances proved favorable for her.
- In what two ways did Mebbin show her elder sister’s attitude during the tiger’s hunt?
- Miss Louisa Mebbin was a paid companion of Mrs. Packletide. She had adopted a protective elder sisterly attitude towards money in general. She smartly intervened in preventing Mrs. Packletide from paying unnecessary tips in some Moscow hotel. She pointed out that Mrs. Packletide has wrongly paid a thousand rupees for the old, weak, and ailing tiger.
- What did Louisa Mebbin plant in her garden? Why did she do so?
- Louisa Mebbin exploited the situation .She threatened Mrs. Packletide that she would pass on her discovery to Loona Bimberton .To keep her mouth shut Mrs. Packletide bought a cottage for her –Mebbin named the cottage ,Les Fauves (wild beast) She planted tiger lilies there. It reminded her of the secret of the tiger‘s death every time.
Long Answer Question:
- Packletide’s tiger is indeed a humorous story. Saki, the author employs several techniques to bring in the element of humor. Mention three incidents in the story you find most humorous and the reasons for calling them humorous? (Word limit: 150)
- Packletide Tiger is a humorous story from the beginning to the end Mrs. Packletide’s motive for killing the tiger is preposterous as it had become a prestige issue. None of them wanted to face the reality. The pettiness and hunger for publicity of the characters evoke laughter. The publicity achieved by the two arch rivals surpassed their achievements is quite funny as compared to their dubious talents. Also, the way in which the villagers connive with the theory that the tiger had indeed died by Mrs. Packletide’s shot so as to earn the promised thousand rupees evokes laughter. Last but not the least, Louisa’s naming the cottage ‘Les fauves’ and growing tiger- lilies as a constant reminder of her victory over her arch rival are some of the incidents of humor.
Short answer type questions:
- What were the circumstances which compelled Mrs. Packletide to undertake the tiger shooting expedition?
- What happened at the tiger shooting spot? What were the benefits and difficulties Mrs. Packletide has after the event?
- What were the humorous elements in the story?
- Was Mrs. Packletide an Indian or a foreigner? How do you know?
- Who was Loona Bimberton? What was Mrs. Packletide‘s attitude to her?
- What did Mrs. Packletide want to do before she left the country?
- What seemed to happen when the rifle “flashed out” what really happened?
- Why did Mrs. Packletide dress the way she did for the country ball?
- Describe the three steps taken by the villagers to keep the tiger in good humor?
- How did Mrs. Packletide react to Loona Bimberton‘s adventure?
- What causes the tiger‘s death?
- What was Mrs. Packletide‘s plan to do after shooting the tiger?
- Why did Loona Bimberton refuse to look at the illustrated weekly?
Long answer type questions:
- Do you agree with the view that the author ridicules the pretentious nature of the upper class of then prevailing society? Justify your answer.
- Describe the character of Mrs. Packletide.
- At the end of the story we develop hatred towards Mrs. Packletide. What is the reason for this? Explore the elements in the story.
- “The pettiness and hunger for publicity of the characters evoke laughter.” Justify your answer quoting from the lesson Mrs. Packletide‘s Tiger.
- In “Mrs. Packletide‘s Tiger,” Saki (H.H. Munro) tackles the human beings’ fascination with wild-game hunting, as well as the timeless drive to keep up with the Bimberton‘s. Discuss.
- What sort of an attempt did Mrs. Packletide make? What was the result?
- Differentiate Loona Bimberton and Mrs. Packletide.
- Suppose you are Mrs. Packletide. Years later you think of tiger hunt-episode. You decide to write in your diary what led you to give up the big game of hunting. Write a page of Mrs. Packletide‘s diary.
- Suppose you are Miss Mebbin. Your cottage is the wonder and admiration of your friends. Write a page of your diary recording how you managed to buy a pretty week-end cottage and maintain it so well.