Short Questions (2 Marks)
Question 1 : What were the two important decisions taken by the doctor to look more handsome?
Answer : The two important decisions taken by the doctor while looking into the mirror to look more handsome were:
i) He would shave daily and grow an thin moustache.
ii) He would always keep the attractive smile on his face.
These two decisions were taken because he was a bachelor and wanted himself to look prettier.
Question 2 : How did the doctor show presence of mind when he encountered the snake?
Answer : The doctor showed great presence of him when he encountered the snake. He neither jumped nor cried out. He sat still on the chair like a statue, holding his breath. His body was still but his mind remained very active.
Question 3 : What was the first important decision taken by the doctor in ‘The Snake and the Mirror’ and why?
Answer : The first important decision taken by the doctor was that he would shave daily and grow a thin moustache because he wanted to look more handsome as an eligible bachelor and a respectable professional, i.e., doctor.
Question 4 : What made the doctor think “Death lurked four inches away.”?
Answer : The doctor thought that death lurked four inches away because the snake had coiled around his upper arm and the snake’s head was hardly four inches from his face. The snake could bite him at any moment and he could surely die if the snake bit him.
Question 5 : Why did the snake leave the doctor’s arm?
Answer : The snake left the doctor’s arm because it saw its reflection in the mirror, was fascinated (attracted) by it and wanted to enjoy its reflection by going closer to the mirror. In this way, the snake freed the arms of the doctor.
Question 6 : After the encounter with the snake, why did the narrator want to remove his things from his room? Why did he find that he had little to carry?
Answer : The narrator wanted to remove his things from his room and run away to his friend’s house because he was afraid of the snake coming there again.
He found that he had little to carry because some thief had stolen most of his belongings in the night when he ran away to the house of his friend.
Question 7 : How did the snake change the writer’s opinion about himself?
Answer : Before the encounter with the snake, the writer was proud of being a doctor. Coming face to face with the snake made him humble.
He realised he was only a poor stupid doctor. He was not sure which medicine was to be taken in case he was bit by a snake.
Long Questions (8 Marks)
Question 1 : In the story ‘The Snake and the Mirror’ a frightening incident is narrated in a humorous way. What makes it humorous?
Answer : The story ‘The Snake and the Mirror’ is a mixed double of horror and comic. There is a horror of encounter with a snake and the comic was in the way it was narrated as well as the way thief did their work. The frightening incident is humorous because the doctor could think in a humorous way even when the snake was coiled round his arm. He thought of himself a poor, foolish and stupid doctor because he had no medicines for treatment of snakebite, which would be needed if the snake bit him. Being a doctor, he must know and keep it with him but unfortunately he had not. He was compelled with the situation and could do nothing but watch. When the snake was looking at its image in the mirror, the doctor thought that it was admiring its own beauty. 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? The doctor even wondered what sex the snake was, male or female? The doctor was near the danger as the snake was coiled round him but he was down with the humour and narrated the episode very comically. This makes the narration humorous.
Question 2 : Describe in detail the doctor’s feelings when he saw the snake coiled round his arm?
Answer : It was night and the doctor had returned after having his dinner. He came to his place and made his bed. But, before going to sleep, he wanted to look himself in the adjoining (nearby) mirror. He sat in front of the mirror and was looking at himself in an admiring way. He was about to take some important decisions when a snake fell down there and coiled itself around the arm of the doctor. When the doctor saw the snake coiled around his arm, he simply froze and sat holding his breath. He felt then the presence of God. He felt that he had said something which God did not like and God was angry with him. He realised that he was just a poor, foolish and stupid doctor. He forgot his danger and smiled feebly at himself. He felt that God appreciated this because the snake uncoiled itself from his arm and went nearer to the mirror to have a clever look at its own image in the mirror.
Question 3 : Justify the title of the story ‘The Snake and the Mirror’.
Answer : The title of the story is the sole indicator of its outline, theme and plot. The narrator of the story has centered around the snake and the mirror. Though, most part of the story is around the snake and the mirror, yet the story revolves around the narrator. Further, the narrator is saved from potential danger posed by the snake due to the snake noticing its image in the mirror and uncoiling itself from the narrator’s arm to move closer to the mirror. Thus, the mirror also plays an important part in the story by attracting the snake towards itself, thus allowing the narrator to escape from the room and avoid the snake. Due to the snake, the narrator escaped from his place and all his belongings were stolen by thieves, making the story comical further. Thus, the title is justified.
Question 4 : What are the similarities between the doctor and the snake? What traits of their characters are revealed here? How are these traits helpful?
Answer : When one reads the whole story then one can find what are the similarities between the doctor and the snake. There are striking similarities between the doctor and the snake. Both are victims of self-adoration. The doctor takes two ‘earth-shaking’ decisions on seeing his image in the mirror – to shave daily and to grow a thin moustache, besides wearing an attractive smile on his face to look handsome. After all, he was a doctor and on top of it, a bachelor. The smile and proper grooming will be suitable in getting a suitable match. On the other hand, the snake was enjoying its reflection in the mirror at closer quarters by uncoiling itself from the doctor’s arm and moving closer to the mirror. Both doctor and snake revealed the characters like vanity and self-realisation. These traits are helpful in self-evaluation and take necessary measures to improve ourselves. These things reflect what one is and what one wishes to be. These traits are helpful in grooming one’s nature and personality.
Question 5 : Without the mirror, the story will lose its charm and reality. Justify.
Answer : Every story has a protagonist (main character) which leads the story and keeps the readers intact. It anchors the theme and the characters as well. In this story, mirror is the protagonist which does the functions very well. Had it not been there in the story then it would seem tasteless and without charm. The mirror fascinates both the doctor and the snake. While looking in the mirror, the doctor makes two important decisions, i.e. shaving daily and growing a thin moustache to make himself more handsome and keeping a smile on the face all the time to look better. The snake feels attracted to look at itself in the mirror and leaves the doctor’s arms to sit on the table in front of mirror. The doctor finds and opportunity to move away to save himself. Thus, without the mirror, the story will lose its charm and reality.