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Driving Miss Daisy - Book Report/Review Example

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Driving Miss Daisy is a play which brought its author, Alfred Uhry, the prestigious Pulitzer Prize and later Oscar award for its screenplay when it was made into a movie. The movie got the Academic Award for Best Picture, and Jessica Tandy got the Award for Best Actress for playing the role of Miss Daisy…
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Driving Miss Daisy
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Driving Miss Daisy

The lady is Daisy Werthan, a patrician widow staying in Atlanta, Georgia all by herself barring Idella, another African American who is her housemaid. It so happens in the story that one fine day Miss Daisy crashes her car to the utmost disgruntlement of her son, Boolie (the role played by Dan Aykroyd), who decides forever against his mother driving a car since she will not be offered insurance at this age.
The good old lady, however, doesn't see any logic in this decision of her son and this for her is nothing but limited mobility. On the top of it she has to now endure the presence of the chauffeur who is appointed by her son and who has the responsibility of driving the lady wherever she would like to go. It is this odd match turning in the long run into a unique relationship which forms the crux of the plot. They are indeed poles apart. Hoke's halting diction is set against Daisy's eloquence; his origin against hers; his obligation against her initial toughness; but amidst this incongruity they discover a lot which they have in common and find a kind of solace in one another. Hoke gets twenty-five years of financial security and Daisy gets someone to grow old with.
Initially Daisy is reluctant to be driven by Hoke for two reasons. First, people would think she is too old to drive and second, they might think she is being snobbish. Gradually she realizes the need for a chauffeur and to ensure her mobility she accepts his service. Daisy sells off her old car to Hoke in order to purchase a new one. Hoke's problem is that he cannot read. Daisy, thus, gets a chance to revive her old profession as she used to be a school teacher, who had tackled many such hopeless cases. She finally succeeds in enabling Hoke read. Thus, they help each other overcoming the obstacles in their lives. Year by year Daisy grows full of appreciation for Hoke because of his skills, his reticence, his wisdom and his patience.

The playwright, here, introduces the milieu. The historical context is that of America during the 1940's when discrimination in the matter of race was persistent across the continent. Once while driving Daisy to Alabama on the occasion of her brother's birthday, Hoke tells her that this is his first trip outside Georgia, his home state. Daisy can see that Hoke is being treated badly by people because of his origin. Now she can visualize more clearly the ugly aspect of racism. When Idella dies, for example, no member of the white community except Daisy's family is present at her funeral. It is at this point that the work becomes a period piece.

With the decaying health at the age of ninety, Daisy grows unstable. Boolie decides to send his mother to an old-age home. After a few years, even Hoke stops driving as he is now 85. Boolie sells off the house in the meantime which is symbolic of the decline of the South. He, along with Hoke, pays a visit to Daisy in the old-age home. Daisy, now ninety-seven, indicates to her son that she would like to be left with Hoke. Her son makes fun of this desire of her to meet Hoke alone. The play ends with Hoke feeding Daisy with a piece of pie and she telling her loyal chauffeur that he is her best friend.

The play is an evidence of the fact that true friendship cuts across race, colour and creed. A relationship between an employer and an employee that is unlikely to evolve into anything better ultimately turns into a lasting friendship. In these two characters ... Read More
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