The Snake and the Mirror | Question and Answer |
Thinking about the Text
I. Discuss in pairs and answer each question below in a short paragraph (30–40 words).
Question 1. “The sound was a familiar one.” What sound did the doctor hear? What did he think it was? How many times did he hear it? (Find the places in the text.) When and why did the sounds stop?
Answer The doctor lived in a small room that was full of rats. He heard the sound of rats, running back and forth the beam. He heard the sound thrice but then it stopped suddenly as if the rats had seen a snake in front of them.
Question 2. What two “important” and “earth-shaking” decisions did the doctor take while he was looking into the mirror?
Answer The doctor took two “important” and “earth-shaking decisions” while he was looking into the mirror. Firstly he decided to shave daily and grow a thin moustache. Secondly he decided to keep an attractive smile always on his lips.
Question 3. “I looked into the mirror and smiled,” says the doctor. A little later he says, “I forgot my danger and smiled feebly at myself.” What is the doctor’s opinion about himself when:
(i) he first smiles, and
(ii) he smiles again?
In what way do his thoughts change in between, and why?
Answer (i) He had an inflated opinion about himself when he first smiled looking in the mirror, when he was admiring his looks and profession.
(ii) Later the doctor smiled at his helplessness and foolishness. But his thoughts changed after he encountered the snake and accepted his stupidity.
Question II. This story about a frightening incident is narrated in a humorous way. What makes it humorous? (Think of the contrasts it presents between dreams and reality. Some of them are listed below.)
Question (i) The kind of person the doctor is (money, possessions)
Answer The doctor is not a rich person.He hardly has any money and lives in a house without electricity.He lived in a small rented room with no electricity and lots of rats in it, since he just started with his medical practice, he didn’t have much.He is not a man of possession or money.
(ii) The kind of person he wants to be (appearance, ambition)
Answer He wants to be a rich and attractive person.That is why he decides to shave and grow a thin moustache.
Question 2. (i) The person he wants to marry
Answer He wants to marry a woman doctor who has plenty of money and a good medical practice.He wants her to be fat so that she couldn’t run after him to catch him.
(ii) The person he actually marries
Answer The person he actually marries is a thin reedy person with the gift of a sprinter.
Question 3. (i) His thoughts when he looks into the mirror
Answer While looking into the mirror, he found his smile attractive. He decides to grow a thin moustache and keep smiling to show the joy and satisfaction he carries within.
(ii) His thoughts when the snake is coiled around his arm
Answer He turned into a stone and sat like stone image in the flesh.The sight of the snake frightened him. He didn’t tremble or cry out but his mind was active and felt the presence of the creator.He decides to write the words ‘O God’ outside little heart.
Thinking About Language
1. Here are some sentences from the text. Say which of them tell you, that the author:
(a) was afraid of the snake,
(b) was proud of his appearance,
(c) had a sense of humour,
(d) was no longer afraid of the snake.
1. I was turned to stone.
2. I was no mere image cut in granite.
3. The arm was beginning to be drained of strength.
4. I tried in my imagination to write in bright letters outside my little heart the words, ‘O God’.
5. I didn’t tremble. I didn’t cry out.
6. I looked into the mirror and smiled. It was an attractive smile.
7. I was suddenly a man of flesh and blood.
8. I was after all a bachelor, and a doctor too on top of it!
9. The fellow had such a sense of cleanliness…! The rascal could have taken it and used it after washing it with soap and water.
10. Was it trying to make an important decision about growing a moustache or using eye shadow and mascara or wearing a vermilion spot on its forehead?
|Sentence||About The Author|
|I was turned to stone.||(a) was afraid of the snake|
|I was no mere image cut in granite.||(c) had a sense of humour|
|The arm was beginning to be drained of strength||(a) was afraid of the snake|
|I tried in my imagination to write in bright letters outside my little heart the words, ‘O God’.||(c) had a sense of humour|
|I didn’t tremble. I didn’t cry out.||(d) was no longer afraid of the snake|
|I looked into the mirror and smiled. It was an attractive smile.||(b) was proud of his appearance|
|I was suddenly a man of flesh and blood.||(c) had a sense of humour|
|I was after all a bachelor, and a doctor too on top of it!||(b) was proud of his appearance|
|Was it trying to make an important decision about growing a moustache or using eye shadow and mascara or wearing a vermilion spot on its forehead.||(d) was no longer afraid of the snake|
|The fellow had such a sense of cleanliness … ! The rascal could have taken it and used it after washing it with soap and water.||(c) had a sense of humour|
Expressions used to show fear
Can you find the expressions in the story that tell you that the author was frightened? Read the story and complete the following sentences.
(1) I was turned ……………….
(2) I sat there holding ……………….
(3) In the light of the lamp I sat there like ……………….
(1) I was turned to stone.
(2) I sat there holding my breath.
(3) In the light of the lamp I sat there like a stone image in the flesh.
In the sentences given below some words and expressions are italicised. They variously mean that one
- is very frightened.
- is too scared to move.
- is frightened by something that happens suddenly.
- makes another feel frightened.
Match the meanings with the words/ expressions in italics, and write the appropriate meaning next to the sentence. The first one has been done for you.
(1) I knew a man was following me, I was scared out of my wits,
(2) I got a fright when I realised how close I was to the cliff edge.
(3) He nearly jumped out of his skin when he saw the bull coming towards him.
(4) You really gave me a fright when you crept up behind me like that.
(5) Wait until I tell his story—it will make your hair stand on end.
(6) Paralysed with fear, the boy faced his abductors.
(7) The boy hid behind the door, not moving a muscle.
(1) very frightened
(2) frightened by something that happens suddenly
(3) very frightened
(4) frightened by something that happens suddenly
(5) makes another feel frightened
(6) too scared to move
(7) too scared to move
Report these questions, using if/whether or why/when/where/how/which/what. Remember the italicised verbs change into the past tense.
(1) Meena asked her friend, “Do you think your teacher will come today?”
Answer Meena asked her friend if she thought her teacher would come that day.
(2) David asked his colleague, “Where will you go this summer?”
Answer David asked his colleague where he would go that summer.
(3) He asked the little boy, “Why are you studying English?”
Answer He asked the little boy why he was studying English.
(4) She asked me, “When are we going to leave?”
Answer She asked me when we were going to leave.
(5) Pran asked me, “Have you finished reading the newspaper?”
Answer Pran asked me if I had finished reading the newspaper.
(6) Seema asked her, “How long have you lived here?”
Answer Seema asked her how long she had lived there.
(7) Sheila asked the children, “Are you ready to do the work?”
Answer Sheila asked the children if they were ready to do the work.