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Kerala State Syllabus 10th Standard English Solutions Unit 1 Chapter 2 The Snake and the Mirror (Short Story)
The Snake and the Mirror Textual Questions and Answers
What was the topic that came up for discussion between the doctor and his friends?
The topic was encounter with snakes.
What does the expression ‘full-blooded cobra’ suggest?
It suggests it was fully grown, strong and energetic.
“The sound was a familiar one.” What was the sound?
The sound of rats running across the beam.
“In those days I was a great admirer of beauty…” Pick out the phrases and expressions from the story that justify the statement.
Taking a close look at my face in the mirror, shave daily, grow a moustache to look more handsome.
What are the two ‘important’ and ‘earth-shaking’ decisions that the doctor takes while looking into the mirror?
One was to grow a moustache and the other was to keep the attractive smile on his face to look more handsome.
‘Again came that noise from above.’ Did the doctor pay much attention to the noise? Why?
He didn’t pay much attention to the noise. It was the noise of rats running across the beam. It was a familiar sound.
What kind of a woman does the doctor want to marry? Why?
He wants to marry a lady doctor with plenty of money and a good medical practice. She should also be fat. He wanted her to be fat so that in case he makes a mistake and wants to run away, she should not catch up with him.
What happened when the doctor was sitting on his chair?
A full-blooded cobra fell from the roof. It came over the back of the chair and coiled itself on the doctor’s shoulder.
How did the doctor react when the snake landed on him?
He sat there holding his breath like a stone. He was too afraid to make any move.
Why did the doctors in the chair ‘like a stone image in the flesh’?
He did not know what to do. He had no time to react. He was terrified and was almost turned into a stone.
In the story the snake is compared to three objects. What are they?
A rubber tube, a leaden rod and a human being.
Why did he feel that he was a stupid doctor?
He had rats in his room. He could naturally expect a snake some day. He should have kept with him some antidote for snake poison. But he did not have any.
“I was suddenly a man of flesh and blood.” What does the doctor mean by.this statement?
When the snake was on him, he was sitting like a stone. But when it moved away, he acted like a man. He got up from his chair and went out through the door into the veranda. From there he jumped tb the yard and fled for his life.’
Why did the doctor run to his friend’s house? Did the snake harm the doctor? Why?
He ran to his friend’s house so that he could have a bath and clean himself after being touched by the snake. The snake did not harm him, except that it terrified him. The snake must have thought it had fallen into a stone as the man sat like one. Moreover, the snake got busy admiring itself looking into the mirror.
“…the thief had left behind one thing ass final insult!” What was the insult?
The thief took everything except the dirty vest of the doctor. If people saw the dirty vest, they would have a poor opinion of the doctor. And this was adding insult to injury.
The Snake and the Mirror Textual Activities and Answers
Pick out sentences from the story ‘The Snake and the Mirror’ and complete the table below. These sentences tell you the condition of the narrator. Some hints are given.
|Was afraid of the snake||Was proud of his appearance|
|I was turned to a stone.||I looked into the mirror and smiled.|
|Was afraid of the snake||Was proud of his appearance|
|I was turned to a stone.||I looked into the mirror and smiled.|
|I sat there holding my breath.||It was an attractive smile.|
|I wanted to write the words ‘O God’ on my little heart.||I would shave daily.|
|I sat like a stone image in flesh.||I would grow a thin mustache to look more handsome.|
|I felt the presence of the creator.||I would keep smiling to be more attractive.|
|At my slightest movement, the snake would strike me.||I was a bachelor and a doctor.|
The story is about a frightening incident narrated in a humorous way. What makes it humorous?
The writer has made use of certain striking contrasts in the sto,y to bring about humour. Pick out such expressions from the story and write them.
A. i) The kind of person the doctor was : He is a poor man. His earnings were meagre. He had, only Rs. 60 with him. He lived in a small rented room. There was no electricity in the room. It was infested with rats. He is concerned with his appearance He is also conscious that he is a doctor. He realizes that he is capable of committing blunders.
ii) The kindof person he wanted to be : He wants to appear more handsome. For that he will keep a thin moustache and keep smiling. He wants to be a successful and rich man.
B. i) The person he wanted to marry : He wants to marry a lady doctor with money and also good practice. He wants her to be fat so that she does not catch up with him if he makes a mistake and wants to run away.
ii) The person he actually married : He marries a thin and slender woman. She could run like a spnnter.
C. i) His thoughts when he looked into the mirror : He was proud of his looks. He wanted to appear more handsome, For that he would shave daily and he would grow a thin moustache. He also would keep smiling to add to his glamour.
ii) His thoughts when the snake coiled around him : He was so terrified that he turned into a stone. He thought of God. He felt pain when the snake coiled around his arm. He would be in trouble ¡f the snake bit him. He had no medicine against snake poison. He considers himself as a poor, foolish and stupid doctor.
Now based, on what you have written, prepare short paragraphs on the use of contrasts in the story to bring out the humour.
Basheer has used contrasts to bring humour into a frightening story where a full-blooded cobra coils around a doctor. The doctor is a poor man. His earnings were meager. He had only Rs. 60 with him. He lived in a small rented room. There was no electricity in the room. It was infested with rats. He is concerned with his appearance. He is conscious that he is a doctor. He realizes that he is capable of . committing blunders. But he wants to appear smart and more handsome. For that he will keep a thin mustache and keep smiling. He wants to be a successful and rich man.
He wants to marry a lady doctor with money and also good practice. He wants her to be fat so that she does not catch up with him if he makes a mistake and wants to run away. But he ends up marrying a thin and slender woman. She could run like a sprinter. He was proud of his looks. He is a doctor and he would marry a rich woman. He wanted to appear more handsome. He was feeling happy when suddenly from the beam a cobra fell down and coiled around him. All his thoughts about making himself more handsome and getting married vanished like mist in sunshine. He was so terrified that he turned into a stone. He thought of God. He felt pain when the snake coiled around his arm. He would be in trouble if the snake bit him. He had no medicine against snake poison. He considers himself as a poor, foolish and stupid doctor. When the snake releases its hold on him we see him fleeing for his life.
In the story the snake did not harm the homeopath. The homeopath in turn did not hurt it. Keeping Basheeris vision on nature and its beings, commend on this story.
In the story the snake did not harm the homeopath. The homeopath in turn did not hurt it. By saying this, Basheer is emphasizing the principle of “Live and Let Live”. Man and animals are supposed to co-exist in this world. As man has the right to live, the animals also have the right to live.
It is a known fact that animals do not harm people unless they are provoked and feel threatened. No snake will deliberately come and bite you. But we deliberately kill snakes. A snake will attack only if it feels threatened and its escape route is blocked. If they see people, they will either try to hide or run away. They bite only when people step over them unknowingly or chase them and block their escape route. In that sense man is the only ‘animal’ that kills for pleasure. Animals of prey may kill to satisfy their hunger. But we do it for fun.
Basheer is of the view that we should let animals live their life without interfering with them, unless they prove dangerous to us. Peaceful coexistence is what he insists. It is an interesting story in which the homeopath has fine dreams about his future wife.
Collect similar stories in English or Malayalam, showing the harmony of nature. An example is “Bhoomiyude AvakSsikal” by Basheer.
The Snake And The Mirror About the author:
– Basheer – 1908-1994
Basheer (1908-1994) is called Beypore Sultan. He is a humanist, freedom fighter, novelist and short story writer. He is (iked by the critics and the common people. His important works are Balyakalaskhi, Shabdangal, Pathummayude Aadu, Mathilukal, Ntuppuppakkoranendarnnu, Janmadinam and Anargha Nimisham. He received Padma Shri in 1982.
The Snake And The Mirror Summary in English
1. We were discussing snakes. Then suddenly a homeopath asked, “Has a full-blooded cobra ever coiled itself round any part of your body?” We all fell silent. The doctor continued with his story.
2. “It was 10 o’clock on a hot summer night. I had my meal at a restaurant and returned to my room. I heard a noise when I opened the door. There were rats in my room. I lighted the kerosene lamp on the table.
3. The house was not electrified. It was a small rented room. I had started my medical practice. The income was very little. I had Rs. 60 in my suitcase. With drier shirts and dhotis I had also a black coat which I was then wearing.
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4. I took off my black coat, white shirt and vest and hung them up. I opened the two windows. It was an outer room with one wall facing the open yard. It had a tiled roof with long supporting gables, resting on the beam over the wall. No ceiling. Rats ran along the beam. I made by bed and pulled it close to the wall. I could not sleep. I went to the veranda. There was no breeze.
5. I went back and sat on a chair. I opened my box and took out a book The Materia Medica’. There was a table with a lamp, a large mirror and a comb.
6. One feels tempted to look at the mirror if it is close. I took a look. I admired beauty and I wanted to make myself handsome. I was unmarried. I felt I had to make my presence felt. I combed my hair and adjusted the parting to look straight and neat. Again I heard that sound from above.
7. I looked closely at my face. I made an important decision. I would shave daily and grow a small mustache. I was a bachelor and a doctor.
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8. I looked into the mirror and smiled. I made another important decision. I would keep smiling to look more handsome.
9. I lit a beedi and paced up and down the room. Another nice thought came to me. I would marry. I would marry a woman doctor with a lot of money and good practice. She should be fat, for a good reason. If I made some foolish mistake and needed to run away, she should not be able to run after me and catch me.
10. I sat back on the chair. There were no sounds from above. Suddenly there was a dull thud as if a rubber tube had fallen to the ground. I looked back. A fat snake came over the back of the chair and landed on my shoulder. The snake’s landing on my shoulder and my turning my head happened at the same time.
11. I did not jump, tremble or cry out. There was no time to do any such thing. The snake slithered along my shoulder and coiled around my left arm. Its hood was spread out and it was just 3 or 4 inches from my face!
12. I was turned to a stone. But my mind was active. The door opened into darkness. The room was dark.
13. I thought of God, the creator of this universe. God was there. If I said something and he did not like it, there would be trouble. I wrote in my imagination the words “O God” on my heart.
14. There was some pain on my left arm. It was as if a rod of fire was slowly but powerfully crushing my arm. The arm was losing its strength. What could I do?
15. Even if I moved a little, the snake would bite me. Death was just 4 inches away. Suppose the snake bites me, what medicine would I take? There were no medicines in the room. I was a poor, foolish and stupid doctor. I forgot my danger and smiled at myself.
16. God liked it. The snake turned its head. It looked into the mirror. It saw its reflection. It may not be the first snake to look into a mirror. Was it admiring its beauty? Was it planning to grow a mustache or using eye shadow and mascara or wearing a vermilion spot on its forehead?
17. Was it a female snake? I will never know. It slowly unwound itself from my arm and slithered into my lap. From there it crept onto the table and moved towards the mirror. Perhaps it wanted to see itself more clearly.
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18. I was no more a stone. I was suddenly a man of flesh and blood. I got up from the chair. I went quietly into the veranda. From there I jumped into the yard and ran for my life.”
19. The story ended. All the listeners were relieved. Somebody asked, “Doctor, is your wife very fat?” The doctor said his wife was thin and a great runner. Somebody wanted to know if the snake came after him.
20. The doctor replied: “I ran till I reached a friend’s house. Then I put oil on my body and took a bath. I changed my clothes. The next morning with my friend I went to the room to take my things. Some thief had removed everything except my dirty vest.”
Somebody wanted to know if the doctor saw the snake the following day. The doctor said he had never seen it again. It was a snake which was proud of its own beauty.
The Snake And The Mirror Summary in Malayalam
The Snake And The Mirror Glossary