Patrica Hampl’s essay talks about the second world War which caused a great fall in the faith of women in marriage and family life. In this essay, the writer has symbolically mentioned about tea-cup. The writer’s mother got married in 1939 and passed her life with her husband. She handed down the same tradition to her daughter by giving the teacup to her. However, many women lost their husbands, happy family life as well as their virginity in the devastating war. As a result, the fortune and the future of the women of writer’s generation seemed insecure and dark. Thus, the writer and her generation are against the importance of marriage and family. For them, marriage is painful. It is a tragedy and an end. Before 1939, the women had sexual relationship with their husband. However, the writer’s generation refuges to carry such previous traditions. The destructive war fills a sense of fear in the minds. Hence the writer and her generation are afraid of the dark future and the sense of loss after marriage.
The story/essay tells us much about the mother daughter relationship. The teacup connects the daughter with her mother in many ways. Hampl’s (writer) mother bought the teacup in 1939 and later she handed it down to her daughter. Through it, the mother handed down her tradition and culture to her daughter. Not only that, the writer reads the history of her mother in the teacup. The cup reminds the history of her mother’s marriage, happy family life, her culture, tradition and many things. The story also speaks about the importance of family life before the war and the failure in its significance after the war. Before 1939, women were passing happy married life with their husband and children. They tried to hand down their possessions, culture and traditions to their daughters. Hampl’s mother did the same by giving the teacup as a gift to her daughters. But Hampl didn’t like to carry on tradition. She didn’t like to preserve the teacup. The falling of flowers in the teacup showed the decline of cultural norms and values. To get married and to bear the children is considered as a great loss for them. It showed the differences between two generation in different aspect. They visualized their dark future and cursed themselves of being a women.
Important Questions and Answers:
a. Describe the mother’s attitude towards marriage.
Ans: The Second World War was a gloomy period for women. Bombs were exploding and men were dying. Married women were crying for their poor destiny. Looking at these windows, unmarried young girls were afraid of their future. The fate of the world by the war grew a critical question over the importance of a family life. The sense of the war terrified them and they were afraid of marriage.
b. What do you mean by “many things fell that year”?
Ans: The statement suggests that many events took place in 1939. The beginning of Second World War had destroyed and ruined everything. Bomb fell from the sky on people, human bodies fell like rain. Hampl’s mother and other bride fell and lost their virginity. Flowers fell into teacups. Cities after cities and whole nation fell and vanished from the map of the world. Tears fell from the loved ones. Everything got charred in the bonfire of war.
c. Explain “The cup is a detail, a small uncharted finger from the mid century bonfire.”
Ans: The writer’s mother bought the teacup in the year 1939. It was the beginning of the Second World War. In the mid 20th century, the war broke out as a bonfire. It took the life of 55 million people and destroyed many things. Moreover, the war ended the existence of many small and powerless countries. The beautiful teacup was made in Czechoslovakia but the war destroyed the art and culture of the country too. However, the cup is still beautiful with the golden lining, decals of flower and the stamp of Czechoslovakia. The teacup carries the history of Hampl’s mother. It is a witness to the event that took place during the Second World War. Therefore, it is a detail, a small uncharted finger from the mid-century before.