The Play, The Boy Comes Home" Summary, Theme, Questions and Characters.

In this article, I have explained the short play "The Boy Comes Home by Milne. This play is included in the syllabus of my B.A. from Punjab University. This is one of the most important plays of Milne. I have given the summary, theme, characters, and important questions which are important for the examination point of view. I used simple language so that students can easily learn these questions.

The Play "The Boy Comes Home"

 by A. A. Milne

Introduction, Characters, Summary, Theme, Questions, 

1. Introduction of the Poet

English author AA Milne was born in 1882. . AA Milne served in two World wars. He joined the British army as a captain in the world I. He also participated in world war II. He is a famous novelist, playwright, and poet. He worked as a journalist and in the army for many years. His plays are said to be characterized by laughter. His works show the comedy of existence.A. A. Milne died on January 31, 1956. His One Act play

 "The Boy Comes Home" is said to be drawn to his war memories. We find the writer's personality and his view in this play. This one-act play deals with many social issues in funny manners. The play, The Boy comes Home revolves around a young man who comes back after serving four years in the army The boy comes is a one-act light comedy play dealing with the return of a young boy that went to the war four years ago. In this play, Milne throws light upon the generation gap and the social crises that defined the society

2. Characters

I. Philip

(A young man of 23 old )

 Philip is a young man of twenty-three years old. He returns from war after four years. He is a carefree type of person. He is joyful in his nature. He is deeply attached to his aunt Emily. Philp is a hero of youth. He is an ideal personality who knows how to deal the things to control humans. The character of Philip shows how the war destroyed innocent youth.

II. James

(Philip's Uncle)

 Philip's uncle and guardian of Philip is an old man with an unimpressive personality. He is a man of short stature with a thin beard. He emphasizes the importance of punctuality. He's very particular about the great value of morning time. He is unsympathetic and devoid of human sentiments and emotions He dislikes emotional expression associated with war, country, or human relations. He is a very good businessman and thinks practically. He wants to impose his views on others forcefully. He is a rigid and inflexible character.

III. Aunt Emily

 ( Wife of uncle James) 

 She is a kind-hearted woman. Emily is an Aunt of Philip and loves Philip. She feels concerned about her welfare of Philip. There is a mark of love and frankness in her conversation with Philip. She is loved and respected by Philip.

IV. Mrs. Higgins

 ( House cook) 

Mrs, Higgins work as a cook in James's house of James. She acts according to the instruction of Mr. James and served breakfast at 8 daily. When she is ordered breakfast at 10 by Philip, she refused to do so. She adjusts herself according to the situation. Mrs. Higgins is very aggressive in the begging. She talks very impudently to aunt Emily. When Philip compels her to act upon his order or leave the service. She changes her mind and serves breakfast.

V. Mary


Mary is the popular maid in the house. She seems to be a little sympathetic to Mrs. Higgins. She tries to make it clear to Philip that the same old routine and rules are prevented in the house as they were 4 years before when he went to war. She is stunned by his order, hesitates for a while, and then clings to aunt Emily for support as she feels fainting soon she leaves the room to convey the message.

3. Summary

The boy comes home is written by AA Milne. It is one act play that discusses many social issues in a light manner. The play “The boy comes Home “is a humorous play. The plot of the play revolves around two major characters Philip and his uncle James. 

The title refers to a boy who comes home after serving in the army for four years. There are two important characters in the play. One is Philip who comes home after serving in the army for four years. He is a young boy 23 years old. 

The second important character is James the owner and guardian of Philip. The third character is Philip’s aunt, the wife of James. The fourth character is Mrs. Haggins who is the house cook. The fifth character is Mary who is the maid of the house but the most important characters are Philip and his uncle James. 

The plot of the play revolves around the conflict found between Philip and his uncle James. Uncle James is shown in the play as a strict and disciplined man. When Philip comes home after serving four years in the army, he gets up late the next morning which affects uncle James very much. Philip called the maid and ask for breakfast. 

He was told that breakfast has already been served at 8 o clock. He was told that he can not get anything according to the rule of the house set by uncle James. He asks mary to order the house cook to boil some eggs for him. Uncle James comes home to see Philip. He asked him what he will do professionally with his life. He tries to impose him to join his business of jam.

He starts waiting for him near the fire. Suddenly he falls into deep sleep and sea a dream in which he is threatened by Philip on behaving strictly toward him. He sees that Philip has taken off his revolver and says to him, he has no problem killing his uncle because he killed many uncles in the war. He also says that he wants to be an architect and he does not want to join his business of jam. Meanwhile, uncle James woke up. Now he has changed and he is completely a changed person.
When Philip comes to talk to him. He behaves very politely with Philip. He asks if he wants to be an architect but Philip is not interested in being an architect. Philip agrees to join the business of jam. Uncle James is not sure of his dreams.

4. Theme

I. War
II. Guidance and instruction 
III. Generation Gap
IV. Appearance and reality

The first important theme of the play is war. Human values have not importance only force is rule of today the most important theme of the play is the generation gap. When we read the play we find the authoritative attitude of uncle James. He treats Philip like a schoolboy and decides everything for Philip.

War is the most important theme of the play. The playwright artistically presented the horror of war on the social front. He wishes to make us aware that war is the antidote to social life. Philip knows that human values have no importance. He knows that put down force is the rule of society

The generation gap is another important theme of the play. The play writes suggests that our elders are right but at the same time, our elders should understand their young generation and give importance of their views. 

The third important theme of the play is appearance. Appearance is often deceptive. Uncle James looks harsh and strict but only one dream reveals what actually he is. 

5. Questions

I.  A character sketch of Philip

Mr. Philip is the central character of the play. He creates humor and fun in the play. He is a pleasant-looking well built person of twenty-three. he has served in the army for four years and has come back home from France after the end of the war. He has fought against the Germans. He is a man of strong determination and possesses an air of decisiveness.

 He is an authoritative person. He does not allow the servants to take any liberty with him. He orders Mary to bring breakfast for him. She refused breakfast because he is late for it. Mrs. Higgins tells him frankly that she is not allowed to cook breakfast for anyone. Mr. Philip makes her payment and dismissed her. It is intolerable to him. His threat works wonder Mrs. Higgins immediately gives him breakfast.

He is a courageous and bold person. . He lives in his uncle's house and rises later in the morning. Philip smokes and does not respect his uncle. His uncle tries to correct his behavior. He refuses to obey his uncle. This shows he does not learn any lessons from military training.

He is a courageous and bold person. The military career has produced in him enough courage to confront his uncle. In the war, he makes many advances on the battlefield. In one battle half of the company is lost but he remains undaunted. he also confronts his uncle plainly that he cannot live with him. This annoys his uncle. he takes out his pistol and aims at him. His uncle soon gives in before him.

II. A character sketch of Uncle James

James is another important character who runs in the plot of the play. He is Philip's real uncle. He brought up Philip after the death of his brother.. He is dull and unimpressive in his appearance however he stands for old values and traditions of life. he is a strict businessman. He is famous for maintaining discipline in the house.

He is a very strict man. he reacts sharply to any change in the routine of his life. he does not want any insolation from his nephew Philip. He takes him to task for getting up late in the morning. He tells him clearly that he does not like his habit of smoking. He is a man of principles. When Philip demands from him the wealth his father left. He refuses to pay him the money. He tells him that according to the will of his father he cannot pay him the money till he reaches the age of twenty-five.

 He is very proud of his money. This has made him a rude person. He tells Philip that he can use the force of money to set him. right. Philip does not yield to him Philip brings out a pistol from his pocket and tells his uncle that he has killed twenty Germans with it. Later on, he brings a bomb from his other pocket. He warns his uncle that he will use both of these if he does not pay him the money. His uncle has to obey him. he proves a weak and timid person. Outwardly he looks like a lion and out inwardly comes out a jackal. He is a jackal in the grab of the lion.

III.  " The Boy Comes Home" is a light comedy.

"The Boy Comes Home " by Milne is a comic play. The humor of the play is tame and passive. It does not depend upon extravagant or the creation of funny characters. The play revolves around two characters Philip and his uncle.

 The conflict between the old and new generations gives birth to passive humor. The universal problem of the generation gap has been presented in a light-hearted manner. The writer shows that the old and the young people have different lode of thinking and possess different temperaments. The young people are carefree liberal and self-willed. They do not respect the old values of morality. The old people are disciplined dictatorial and harsh in their attitude.

The play has an atmosphere of fun and mirth. Uncle James is a man of regular habits. He runs a business of jam. His nephew comes home after serving in the army. He is twenty-three years old. His father had died and he lives under the guardship of his uncle.

 He is supposed to get the money and property left by his father when he reaches the age of twenty-five. he wants to become an architect but his uncle forces him to join his business. The fun of the play lies in the conflict which exists in the temperament of both the uncle and his nephew.

The uncle is a harsh and domineering type of person. He rebukes Philip for smoking in his presence. he also objects to his late breakfast and blames him for not being punctual. Philip does not like the harsh attitude of his uncle and tells him frankly that he needs a separate house.

 He cannot live with him. He asks his uncle to give him an allowance till he reaches the age of twenty-five but his uncle refuses to do so. Thisphew deepens and gives an amusing conflict between the wills and temperaments of both the uncle and the nephew deepens and gives an amusing color to the story. 

IV. The Boy Comes Home is a play about the generation gap.

The Boy Comes Home is a light comedy in which the writer has discussed a very important issue in an entertaining way. comments generation gap and the general mentality of the youth that participated in world war 1. The main action of the play takes place in the dream. of Mr. James. However, the dream opens James's eyes to the reality that the time has, at last, changed and it demands a different response from the elders towards their young ones.
As the begins, we come to know Philip has come home after serving in the army for four years during World war 1. He is a young man whose parents have passed away. They made his uncle, his guardian, so he was living with him before he went to the front. A strict discipline chartered by his uncle is observed in his uncle's house. He is a businessman who values time a lot that impressive yet he wants to dominate others in all affairs. He believes in the power of purs. He does not think that army has given Philip any experience for successful social life.

On the other hand, Philip is an entirely different person from what he was before he joined the army. He is fed up with a disciplined life and wants to live a bit leisurely. He gets up at the usual hour and asks for breakfast. at this time. He is told that Mrs. Higgens, the kitchen maid, will mind giving breakfast at this time, He tackles the matter in an authoritative way and makes Mrs. Higgins submit his will. It is the first reflection of the fact the boy has learned how to respond to bullying.

When aunt Emily, Jame's wife, tells James of the incident, she means to convey to her husband that he should not Philip like a small dad. James tells his wife that he wants to see Philip in order to discuss his future plans. When Emily goes to convey his message to Philip, James is asleep under the impact of the warmth of the fire.

In his dreams, Philip sees that Philip comes from the inner room. James asks him what he wants to do now. Philip tells him that he wants to study to become an architect. James considered it an absurd idea. He suggests that Philip should join him in his jam business. He thinks that is a waste of time to start studying after losing four years in the war. Philip argues that if he has lost four years, everyone in the country is in the same situation.

James as the guardian proposes to apply the power of purs. At this Philip flares up and brings out a pistol and threatened his uncle to use the power of a weapon to counter of a purse. James gets frightened and pleads to him that he can do whatever he wants to do

At this point, James wakes up and finds Philip coming from the inner room. James is unable to distinguish between reality and dreams. He asks Philip what he wants to be. He is astonished to hear that Philip wants to join the jam business at once. As they leave the room. J.ames is still astonished if it is a dream or reality

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