Plot time line – emily of emerald hill - act 1


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Plot time line – emily of emerald hill - act 1

  2. 2. PLOT/TIME LINE – Developing Reading, Remembering and Info-gathering Skills A PLAY BY STELLA KON ACT TWO
  3. 3. P.3 This Act begins with Emily at home telephoning Susie, her sister- in-law. Emily tells us how busy and capable she is when she tells Suzie she has “a lot to do” for her immediate family- (Richard’s going to England soon and his 20th birthday dinner celebrations) and her relatives. ACT ONE To the public, Emily wants to be known as Mrs. Gan Joo Kheong. Richard, her eldest son, will be twenty years old soon. He is leaving for further studies to England in the following month. Emily also invites her close friend, Bee Choo to Richard’s birthday dinner the next day. P.4 Emily clearly dotes on “big strong sonny” twenty-year-old Richard and sees herself as a part of her son as she seems rather pleased with her comment, “strong son, beautiful mother.Richard loves to ride horses and play polo. Emily reminds Richard she “wants him to be a good boy and make her proud of him”. Thus he must not invite undesirable “samseng” friends, like Chong Soo Boey. P.5
  4. 4. P.6 Emily introduces us to her house and home – Emerald Hill, “an old mansion in a big compound”, just “off Orchard Road” built in 1902 by her father-in-law, Mr. Gan Eng Swee. Emily has been living there since she was fourteen years old when she was married to Kheong in 1929. Emily has four children – Richard, Charles, Edward and Doris. Emily has servants and baby amahs to help her manage her household. ACT ONE Emily plays a leading role in restoring Emerald Hill mansion to its former glory from its wartorn state of WW2. The family mansion is fully restored in 1950 with Emily as the one in charge of running the place. She is extremely proud of her refurbished home. It has a “big glass chandelier”, “polished shining marble floors”, “balustrades on the wide staircase”, “tall windows”, “hinged wooden louvres”, “long curtains of printed English cotton”, “big, airy bedrooms”, “high ceiling”, “white mosquito net”, “a modern electric fan”, “two new bathrooms”, and new bathrooms and toilet facilities. Emily “keeps herself busy, running the household, looking after all the family”. P.7 Emily directs her servants to work according to the various activities of her family members. She gives clear and firm instructions to her servants when delegating housework to them. P.8
  5. 5. P.9 Emily proudly proclaims to us that she is “the Mistress of Emerald Hill”. She used to be “frightened” when she first arrived at Emily Hill mansion. She used to be “scared” of her mother-in-law and sisters- in-law. Emily was “an orphan from a poor family” and Joo Kheong is twice her age. Her father- in-law has arranged for a poor girl like her to marry into the family as Kheong’s second wife after his first wife passed away childless. ACT ONE Emily recalls her unhappy childhood: Her father, Gan Boon Swee, broke off with her mother and married a “sing-song girl”. Her mother became “a bit crazy” and threw Emily away while her father subsequently “went bankrupt”. Emily has fond memories of her father and reveals to us that when her father died, her mother “could not be bothered with her”. Emily moved to live with one relative after another. P.10 Emily recounts the initial difficulties she faced with her older sisters-in-law when she did not have anybody to help her around Emerald Hill Mansion. Her old school friend, Bee Choo’s mother found her a servant to help her out. Emily confesses to Bee Choo that she “doesn’t care for her sisters-in-law. The only one she wants to worry about is her mother-in-law”. She is keen to win over her mother-in-law. P.11
  6. 6. P.12 Emily gradually gets to wait on her mother-in-law when she plays cards with her friends at home and eventually inches out Susie to be the bona fide senior daugher-in- law. She becomes her mother-in- law’s favourite. ACT ONE Emily tells us about her business of giving birth to four children and hints of Kheong’s detachment from child-rearing responsibilities. Richard was the first son of the eldest son in the Gan family. His birth makes the grandparents “very happy”. P.13 Emily becomes increasingly capable in managing her children’s affairs and also using her time to “direct” the household. She likes to “keep her hands busy with something”. P.14
  7. 7. P.15 As a capable matriarch, Emily’s thriftiness is reflected in her transforming her late mother-in-law’s old cheong sams into “patchwork quilts” for all the family members for “many years”. Over the years, she has also become influential with her ideas of how best to bring up her children and use them to her advantage to influence other people in the house. ACT ONE Emily does “everthing” for Richard in his growing-up years because she does not want Richard to “worry about any problems” and because “she loves him”and wants him “to be happy”. She does not fail to remind Richard that he also “want to make her happy too”. Emily makes all kinds of decisions, big and small for the rest of her family members: influencing Kheong’s investment decisions and so on. P.16 Emiy never sits still. She influences Kheong to become interested to get involved in politics of pre-independent Singapore by joining the newly formed Legislative Council. She makes the decision for Richard to further his studies in “a famous college in London”. She never stops reminding him to “do everything that she wants him to do” for otherwise she would be “sad”. P.17
  8. 8. P.18 Emily tells us that she takes a lot of pride in hosting dinners and parties to “entertain” at Emerald Hill. She fits into the role of the matriarch of the Gan family neatly because she enjoys organising parties and playing host to her guests. ACT ONE Emily proves herself to be the perfect hostess and quite an adept socialite who knows how to manage the well-heeled and important guests who flock to her parties and dinners. P.19 Emily manages the different guests adeptly. She shows us here in her interaction with Mr. Chan, that she even plans Richard’s future career path for him by highlighting to the potential employer that Richard is going to graduate with a law degree from England and she is going to send him to work for Mr. Chan. P.20
  9. 9. P.21 Emily is the livewire of the party and the dinner. She manages to hold everybody together, keep herself busy and enjoy herself as the hostess. ACT ONE Two years pass by. Richard has been in England for nearly two years and Emily is complaining to Bee Choo on the telephone that Richard may be “playing too much and neglecting his studies”. We also know that Richard is not writing regularly enough to satisfy Emily’s wish. P.22 Richard writes suddenly to inform Emily that he has dropped out of university and has become a horse-riding instructor in Salisbury. He is aware of Emily’s objection to his decision but he informs her that he has made up his mind and is quite happy with his present situation. P.23
  10. 10. P.24 Emily rushes off to Salisbury and reprimands Richard for being ungrateful to her and having forgotten “all the sacrifices” she has made and “dragging down all her hopes into the mud”. She scolds her son for breaking her heart. ACT ONE Emily mocks Richard for making a bad decision and demands that Richard give up his job and return to complete his education at the University. She also wants Richard to admit that he has made a terrible mistake. P.25 Emily claims to be proud of Richard for obeying her orders. She changes her mind about him pursuing his university law degree and wants him to return to get married and start a family in Singapore. Then she receives a bad news: Richard has committed suicide by hanging himself. P.26
  11. 11. P.27 Emily mourns the loss of her “big strong son”, Richard. The family tells other people that Richard has died in a horse riding accident. ACT ONE HANG IN THERE. WE STILL HAVE ACT 2.