Summary of Look at a Teacup
‘Look at a teacup’ depicts the effect of II world war and cultural change in the post-war period. Description of art, loss of faith in marriage and gap in attitude are the major concern of this story. The teacup is the symbol of tradition, art and culture and its fading color indicates the declining traditional ethos (norms).
Patricia Hampl explains the teacup which was bought in 1939 by her mother. 1939 was the marriage year of her mother. It was also the beginning year of the 2nd world war. Her mother had bought many teacups and saucers from the sale market. They were made in Czechoslovakia and had stamped on the bottom. Patricia says that at present there is tea in a cup and from outside the level of tea can be easily seen. There is also a thin band of gold around the edges of the saucer and cup.
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There is also a band of gold on the inner circle of the saucer, but it has been worn out. The cup is in a water-pale green color and shiny. No, any two flowers are the same. Inside the cup different flowers are scattered, some are at the bottom. Because of fine decorations, teacup and saucer are bright, delicate and definite.
Patricia Hampl says that nothing sad full situation occurred in her mother’s life. For the mother’s family life, the happiness of her husband and children were important but Hampl’s work was most important. Mother desires marriage, husband, and family for daughter. Hampl says that her separation with mother might begin when she found her parents kissing and hugging each other.
During the Second World War, her mother was happy in her family, although there was great destruction outside. The mother wants to talk about the present but Hampl goes back to the past. Each piece of the past takes her back to think about the destruction of war. She wants to write history of the 2nd world war.
Patricia has got all the cups and saucers from her mother. Patricia wants to know all about the past but her mother doesn’t like to talk about it. Mother asked her daughter to look ahead; it means marriage, family, and children. In her time, sexuality was impossible before marriage. But, just the opposite of it, marriage is painful for Hampl. It’s just falling into the net. She wants to live without doing marriage.
Patricia Hampl says that 1939 was the period of the end. Everything fell down this year. There was fear of the bomb. Millions of life and property were destroyed. After the war, marriage and conjugal life collapsed. People lost their faith in marriage. Hample argues that to write history teacups and her mother’s description and attitudes were enough? Looking at teacup could explore total history.
‘Look at the teacup’ is the highly significant story as it gives a total description of the deadly effect of the 2nd world war, fading culture and tradition, loss of faith in marriage, and the generation gap. For mother marriage, family life, decoration of the house and planning for a happy future are important.
She has not even thought about marriage. The teacup is a symbol of past, speaks and total history. It s fading color indicates declining cultural norms and values. Falling flowers stand for the death and destruction of the 2nd world war. For mother, the teacup is the continuation of family life but for daughter it the history, which is full of terror, death, and destruction.