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Villa for Sale Summary in English by Sacha Guitry
Villa for Sale Summary in English
This one-act play is set in France. The cast consists of five characters. The action takes place during the course of an evening and revolves around the sale of a villa. The owner of the villa, Juliette, is anxious to sell it as she needs the money. She stays alone with her maid. As the play starts, Juliette is expecting a customer, the agency people are sending. As she and her maid discuss the prospective sale of the villa, her maid discloses that she has got a role in a film, like many other local people and suggests Juliette try for a film role, too, as it will help ease her financial problems. Juliette is not very keen to act in films and angrily tells her maid that she is ‘not quite so hard up as that yet! ’
While the two are talking, Jeanne comes in with her husband Gaston. From the moment they enter, Gaston expresses his displeasure about the villa and finds a number of faults with it. In fact he shows no desire in buying a house at all as he feels Jeanne’s parents and nieces and nephews will spend summers with them. On the other hand, Jeanne finds the villa excellent and tries to persuade Gaston to buy the villa for her.
Juliette counts the many advantages the house possesses to please the customers. The house has electricity, gas, water, telephone, and drainage. The bathroom is beautifully fitted and the roof was entirely repaired the previous year. She says she will sell the villa entirely furnished with all the fixtures, just as it is, with the exception of one little picture signed by the famous painter, Corot. While Juliette asks for two hundred and fifty thousand francs, and quotes two hundred thousand francs as her last price, Gaston bargains for the house with Juliette and quotes the ridiculously low price of sixty thousand francs, knowing it will not get accepted. Juliette rejects the offer but Jeanne expresses a desire to see the upper floor before she leaves and Juliette eagerly takes her upstairs.
While Gaston waits for the two women to return, the actual customer Juliette was waiting for, an American lady, Mrs Al Smith, comes in. Her hurry to buy the villa without even looking at it, at whatever the price asked for, is exploited by Gaston. This episode is the most entertaining part of the play. In a moment, the reluctant buyer is transformed into a skillful seller. Gaston shows himself to be ingenious and totally unscrupulous. He counts the plus points of the villa. But all his salesmanship is not needed as Mrs Al Smith has already made up her mind to buy the villa. She is a big star and wants the villa as it is near Paramount Studios, where she is going to shoot some films.
Gaston is able to sell the villa to her for three hundred thousand francs. When Jeanne returns she expresses her opinion about the unsuitability of the house. But now Gaston, who has already sold the house to Mrs A1 Smith, coxes Juliette to talk about the additional facilities the villa offers and buys the villa, including the Corot, for two hundred thousand pounds. Thus, Gaston makes a profit of a hundred thousand francs and a painting by Corot with his resourcefulness.
Villa for Sale Summary Questions and Answers
Copy and complete the following paragraph about the theme of the play using the clues given in the box below. Remember that there are more clues than required.
Juliette, the owner of a Villa wants to sell it as she is in need of money. Moreover, she is not in favour of the house. Jeanne and Gaston, a couple, visit her with the aim of buying the Villa. While Jeanne is enthusiastic about buying, Gaston detests the idea as he does not want his in laws in that house. Also, he finds the asking price of 300 thousand francs to be expensive. When Jeanne and Juliette go around the house, another customer walks in and starts talking to Gaston taking him to be Juliette’s husband. Gaston strikes a deal with the customer by which he is able to give 200 thousand francs to the owner and keep one hundred thousand francs for himself.
Answer the following questions briefly.
a. Why does Jeanne want to buy a villa?
Jeanne wants to buy a villa for her parents. Buying a villa will ensure that her parents and her sister’s children can live with them.
b. Why is Gaston not interested in buying the villa in the beginning?
Gaston is not interested in buying the villa in the beginning because he does not want his parents-in-law and sister- in-law’s children to live with them. He also feels that the asking price of the villa is too high for its size.
c. Mrs. Al.Smith makes many statements about the French. Pick out any two and explain them.
Mrs Al Smith has typically American prejudices against the French. She says ‘You French people have a cute way – of doing business! ’ This reflects her distrust for the French way of doing business. She is extremely judgmental about it because the price of the villa has not been written on the signboard and she is astute enough to realize that the buyer may, thus, be exploited.
She also says ‘Frenchmen usually have to consult about ten people before they get a move on.’ This, again is a generalized and prejudiced judgement against all French people wherein Mrs A1 Smith feels that French people cannot conduct business quickly and efficiently because they talk to a lot of people before making a decision.
d. Juliette says “…………. now I have only one thought that is to get the wretched place off my hands. I would sacrifice it at any price”. Does she stick to her words? Why/Why not?
No, Juliette does not stick to her words. She says that she will sacrifice the villa at any price, but refuses to go below 200 thousand francs as the selling price.
e. Who is better in business – Juliette or Gaston? Why?
Gaston is a much better businessman because not only does he sell a house that is not even his yet, but he makes a profit of 100 thousand francs and a painting by Corot, from the deal.
f. Do you like/dislike Gaston? Give your reasons.
Encourage the students to come up with their own answers.
Yes, I like Gaston because of his intelligence and ingenuity. He is smart and quick, and can remain cool under pressure. This is an admirable characteristic in any human being and I like him for it.
No, I don’t like Gaston because while he is sharp, he is unscrupulous and lack of scruples is not something that can be pardoned in any human being.
Read the following extracts and answer the questions that follow by choosing the correct options.
A. But the sign has been hanging on the gate for over a month now and I am beginning to be afraid that the day I bought it was when I was the real fool.
a. Why is Juliette disappointed?
She is unable to find a suitable buyer for her villa.
b. Why does she call herself a fool?
She had bought the villa for more than it was worth.
B. ‘But your parents would take possession of it, every year from the beginning of spring until the end of September. What’s more they would bring the whole tribe of your sister’s children with them.’
a. What does Gaston mean by ‘take possession’?
Her parents would stay with them for a long time.
C. ‘While you were upstairs, I have been thinking a lot about your Papa and Mamma.
a. What is the discrepancy between what Gaston said earlier and what he says now?
Earlier he did not want Juliette’s parents to stay with them but now he is showing concern for them.
b. What does the above statement reveal about Gaston’s character?
He is an opportunist.
Select words from the box to describe the characters in the play as revealed by the following lines. You may take the words from the box given on the next page.
|Lines from the play||Speaker||Quality revealed|
|a.||One hundred thousand francs if necessary and that’s only twice what it cost me.||Juliette||greedy|
|b.||If you don’t want the house, tell me so at once and we’ll say no more about it.||Jean||Overbearing|
|c.||No! Iam very fond of your family, but not quite so fond as that.||Gaston||Haughty and Disapproving|
|d.||Quite so. I have, but you haven’t.||Gaston||Boastful|
|e.||I have never cared such a damned little about anybody’s opinion||Gaston||Haughty and Boastful|
|f.||On the principle of people who like children and haven’t any can always go and live near a school.||Gaston||Witty|
|g.||The garden is not very large, but you see. it is surrounded by other gardens.||Juliette||Clever and Materialistic|
|h.||I will be philanthropic and let you have it for two hundred thousand.||Juliette||Cunning|
|i.||I have been thinking a lot about your Papa and Mamma. You see, I am really unselfish.||Gaston||Clever|