Class 9- The Snake and the Mirror Full Analysis

The Snake and the mirror,Snake,Viakom Muhammad Basheer

Chapter 5, Vaikom Muhammad Basheer’s ‘The Snake and the Mirror’ Summary, Theme, Character Sketch, Important Passages, Textbook Question Answers with Extra Questions.

Chapter 5- The Snake and the Mirror by Vaikom Muhammad Basheer

Next on Beehive: Poem 5- A Legend of the Northland by Phoebe Cary


Admiring: Looking at with pleasure or satisfaction; regarding with approval or esteem.
Coiled: Twisted or wound together in a spiral.
Crept: Moved slowly and quietly to avoid being noticed.
Hood: In this context, refers to the expanded, neck-like part of a cobra or similar snake when it feels threatened.
Leapt: Past tense of a leap, meaning to jump or spring a long way, to a great height, or with great force.
Materia Medica: A Latin term meaning “medical material” that refers to the body of collected knowledge about the therapeutic properties of any substance used for healing.
Meagre: Lacking in quantity or quality; inadequate.
Parting: The line dividing hair on the scalp, usually created by combing hair in opposite directions.
Quarters: A place of residence; lodgings.
Smeared: Spread or applied thinly or thickly in a rough or sticky way.
Slithered: Moved smoothly and quietly with a twisting or sliding motion, like a snake.
Sprinter: A person who runs short distances at high speed, typically in track and field competitions.
Thud: A dull, heavy sound, such as that made by a solid object falling to the ground.
Unwound: Removed or loosened the coils or twists of something.
Vermilion: A bright red pigment made from mercury sulfide, traditionally used as a cosmetic or in religious rituals.

Summary “The Snake and the Mirror”:

“The Snake and The Mirror” by Viakom Muhammad Basheer tells the story of a doctor encountering a snake in his room. While getting ready, the snake wraps around his arm, leaving him frozen with fear. Surprisingly, the snake seems interested in its reflection and releases him. The doctor escapes, feeling both scared and relieved. Later, he discovers his room has been robbed, except for his dirty vest left behind by the thief. The story mixes fear, humour, and irony, showing how people react unexpectedly in dangerous situations. It teaches us about the unpredictability of life and how, even in frightening moments, there can be moments of strange humour and relief.

Theme “The Snake and the Mirror”:

Finding Humour in Danger: The Humour in ‘The Snake and The Mirror:

In “The Snake and The Mirror,” humour is a lens through which the theme of human vulnerability and resilience is explored. Despite the potentially frightening situation of a snake coiling around the doctor, the story uses humour to lighten the mood and add an element of absurdity. The doctor’s comical thoughts and reactions, such as considering marriage to a wealthy, overweight woman as an escape plan, inject humour into the story.

The story also highlights the irony of the thief’s selective cleaning, leaving behind a dirty vest, which adds to the comedic tone. The main message is that it’s important to find the absurdity and maintain a sense of humour to cope with adversity in unpredictable situations. Even in moments of fear and danger, humour can help us navigate them with resilience and courage.

Character Sketch:

The main character of “The Snake and The Mirror” is a young doctor who serves as the story’s central focus. Here’s a detailed character sketch of the young doctor:

  • Background and Profession: The doctor is a newly established doctor who has recently established his medical practice. This indicates that he is likely in his early adulthood and career development stages. His choice of profession suggests a commitment to helping others and a desire to contribute positively to society.
  • Appearance-Conscious: The doctor exhibits a degree of vanity and self-awareness regarding his appearance. He is described as someone who cares about his looks, as evidenced by his efforts to groom himself and maintain a neat appearance. This trait reflects a certain level of confidence and self-assurance.
  • Naivety and Humour: Despite his professional qualifications, the doctor displays moments of naivety and humour throughout the story. His humorous inner monologue and absurd thoughts, such as considering marrying a wealthy, overweight woman for an escape plan, add a comedic element to the narrative. This suggests he possesses a playful and imaginative mindset, even in potentially dangerous situations.
  • Resilience and Quick Thinking: When confronted with the unexpected presence of a snake coiled around him, the doctor demonstrates resilience and quick thinking. Despite the initial shock, he remains calm and rationally assesses the situation. His ability to react swiftly and make decisions under pressure reflects a resourceful and adaptable nature.
  • Survival Instinct: The doctor’s actions during the encounter with the snake highlight his instinct for self-preservation. Instead of panicking or succumbing to fear, he evaluates his options and takes decisive steps to ensure his safety. This underscores his ability to prioritise survival and adapt to challenging circumstances.
  • Sense of Humour and Perspective: Throughout the story, the doctor’s humorous outlook and lighthearted approach to adversity shine through. Despite facing a potentially dangerous situation, he maintains a sense of humour and finds amusement in the absurdity of his situation. This suggests that he possesses a resilient spirit and an optimistic attitude towards life’s challenges.

In short, the narrator of “The Snake and The Mirror” is a young doctor characterised by his appearance-conscious nature, moments of naivety and humour, resilience, quick thinking, survival instinct, and a lighthearted perspective on adversity. These traits combine to create a dynamic and engaging character who guides the story with wit, resourcefulness, and a healthy dose of humour.

Important Passages/ Lines:

The following are the important lines/ passages highlighting key moments and themes in the story ‘The Snake and The Mirror’.

1. “Has a snake ever coiled itself round any part of your body? A full-blooded cobra?” The question about encountering a cobra immediately sets the stage for the story’s theme of facing danger and the unknown. It introduces the element of suspense and anticipation, drawing readers into the narrative.

2. “The house was not electrified; it was a small rented room.” The story’s plot establishes the doctor’s modest and humble living conditions by stating that the house lacks electricity and is a small rented room. This detail adds depth to the setting, highlighting the doctor’s simple lifestyle and setting the stage for future events.

3. “I made my bed and pulled it close to the wall. I lay down, but I could not sleep.” The doctor in the story couldn’t find peace and could not sleep after making his bed. This created an atmosphere of restlessness and anticipation, hinting at the upcoming encounter with a snake. The doctor’s vulnerability is heightened by his inability to sleep, increasing the tension in the story.

4. “I made an important decision — I would shave daily and grow a thin moustache to look more handsome.” Deciding to shave daily and grow a thin moustache reflects the doctor’s desire to improve his appearance and self-confidence. As a bachelor and a doctor, he must present himself as handsome and professional. This decision highlights his concern for his image and hints at his aspirations for success and social acceptance.

5. “I would marry. I would get married to a woman doctor who had plenty of money and a good medical practice.” Expressing his intention to marry a wealthy woman doctor with a successful medical practice reveals the doctor’s practical and ambitious nature. Through marriage, he seeks financial security and social status, indicating a desire for stability and advancement. This decision reflects his pragmatic approach to relationships and underscores his aspirations for a better future.

6. “No sooner had I turned than a fat snake wriggled over the back of the chair and landed on my shoulder.” The sudden appearance of a fat snake on the doctor’s shoulder creates a moment of shock and tension in the story. The unexpected intrusion disrupts the doctor’s thoughts and actions, signalling the beginning of a dramatic and potentially dangerous encounter. This event marks a turning point in the story, shifting the focus from the doctor’s internal reflections to an external threat that demands his immediate attention and response.

7. “The snake slithered along my shoulder and coiled around my left arm above the elbow.” The description of the snake slithering along the doctor’s shoulder and coiling around his left arm creates a vivid image of the physical closeness and danger the doctor faces. This moment intensifies the tension in the story as the doctor becomes increasingly aware of the immediate threat posed by the snake’s presence. The detail of the snake coiling around his arm adds to the sense of confinement and helplessness, emphasising the doctor’s vulnerability in this precarious situation.

8. “I felt then the great presence of the creator of this world and this universe.” The doctor’s realisation of the significant presence of the creator of the world and universe highlights a moment of spiritual awareness and contemplation amidst the chaos and fear of the snake encounter. This line suggests a deeper connection to something larger than himself, evoking themes of faith, awe, and reverence for the divine. It signifies a shift in perspective for the doctor, prompting him to accept the mysterious and transcending aspects of existence in the face of danger.

9. “The snake turned its head. It looked into the mirror and saw its reflection.” When the snake turns its head and looks into the mirror, it introduces a surreal and unexpected element to the chapter. This action humanises the snake, as it displays curiosity or self-awareness by observing its reflection. The snake’s interaction with the mirror adds personality to its character and motives, inviting speculation about its intentions and behaviour. This moment also serves as a reminder of the unpredictable and enigmatic nature of the natural world, further heightening the tension and uncertainty of the scene.

10. “But we found we had little to carry. Some thief had removed most of my things.” The discovery that most of the doctor’s belongings have been stolen by a thief adds a new layer of complication and adversity to the story. This unexpected turn of events worsens the doctor’s already dire situation, leaving him with even fewer resources and options for dealing with the snake and its potential threat. The thief’s presence introduces a secondary conflict. It reinforces the theme of vulnerability and loss, as the doctor must now contend with the aftermath of both the snake encounter and the theft.

11. “The room had been cleaned out! But not really, the thief had left behind one thing as a final insult!” The realisation that the thief has emptied the room adds a sense of betrayal and violation to the doctor’s already challenging situation. The phrase “cleaned out” suggests a thorough and deliberate theft, leaving the doctor with nothing of value. However, the thief’s decision to leave behind one item as a final insult adds a bitter twist to the situation. This detail highlights the malicious intent behind the theft and adds insult to injury for the doctor, highlighting the cruelty and callousness of the thief’s actions.

12. “My vest, the dirty one. The fellow had such a sense of cleanliness…!” The discovery that the thief left behind the doctor’s dirty vest, despite taking everything else of value, is a final indignity for the doctor. The juxtaposition/contrast of the thief’s apparent sense of cleanliness with the act of theft adds a darkly ironic and absurd element to the situation. It emphasises the arbitrary and irrational nature of the thief’s actions and the doctor’s disbelief and frustration at the situation’s absurdity. This detail emphasises the story’s theme of loss and injustice as the doctor grapples with the aftermath of the theft and the snake encounter.

13. “I’ve never seen it since. It was a snake which was taken with its own beauty!” The doctor’s reflection on the snake’s disappearance reveals a sense of wonder and irony. The notion that the snake was enamoured with its beauty, as suggested by its behaviour in front of the mirror, adds a surreal and humorous twist to the story. It resembles the doctor’s preoccupation with appearance and the snake’s seemingly vain behaviour. This detail injects a note of silliness and irony into the story, offering a moment of reflection and insight into the chaos and uncertainty of the doctor’s ordeal.

14. “From there it crept onto the table and moved towards the mirror.” The snake’s movement onto the table and towards the mirror is significant in the story. It indicates the snake’s continued fascination with its reflection and adds to the surreal and unexpected nature of the encounter. This action further heightens the tension and uncertainty of the scene as the doctor grapples with the snake’s presence near the mirror. The snake’s movement towards the mirror also reinforces its mysterious and unpredictable behaviour, adding to the story’s sense of danger and intrigue.

15. “I quietly went out through the door into the veranda. From there I leapt into the yard and ran for all I was worth.” The doctor’s decision to quietly exit the room through the door and leap into the yard emphasises his automatic response to the threat posed by the snake. His action reflects a sense of urgency and self-preservation as he seeks to escape the immediate danger and find safety.

The phrase “ran for all I was worth” conveys the intensity of the doctor’s flight from the scene, emphasising the gravity of the situation and his determination to evade harm. This line highlights the doctor’s resourcefulness and quick thinking in the face of danger, adding to his characterisation as a resilient and adaptive individual.

Questions Answers “The Snake and the Mirror”:

Thinking About The Text:

Q1: “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?

A1: The doctor heard a familiar noise when he returned to his room after dinner. He believed it to be the movement of rats, as he mentioned that they shared the room. The text indicates that he heard the noise twice, as it recurs after he looks into the mirror. The sounds stopped when the snake appeared, interrupting the doctor’s thoughts and actions.

Q2: What two “important” and “earth-shaking” decisions did the doctor take while he was looking into the mirror?

A2: The doctor made two significant decisions while looking into the mirror. Firstly, he shaved daily and grew a thin moustache to enhance his appearance. Secondly, he resolved to marry a wealthy woman doctor to secure financial stability and social status. These decisions reflect his desire for self-improvement and advancement in life.

Q3: “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 

A(i): When the doctor first smiles into the mirror, he does so with a sense of admiration and confidence. He sees himself as someone who values appearance and believes in making a good impression.

(ii) he smiles again? In what way do his thoughts change in between, and why?

A(ii): However, when he smiles again after forgetting his danger, his opinion about himself changes. His smile becomes feeble, indicating a sense of vulnerability and uncertainty. In between these two moments, the doctor’s thoughts shift as he becomes preoccupied with the danger posed by the snake. The sudden appearance of the snake interrupts his initial self-assuredness, leading to a change in his perception of himself and his surroundings.

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.)

Write short paragraphs on each of these to get your answer.

1. (i) The kind of person the doctor is (money, possessions)

    (ii) The kind of person he wants to be (appearance, ambition)

The humour in the story arises from the contrasts between the kind of person the doctor is and the kind of person he wants to be. Initially, the doctor is portrayed as someone with modest means, as indicated by his small rented room and meagre earnings. However, he aspires to a life of wealth and luxury, as seen in his desire to marry a wealthy woman doctor. The juxtaposition of his current circumstances with his ambitious dreams adds a comedic element to the story, highlighting the absurdity of his fantasies in the face of reality.

2. (i) The person he wants to marry.

   (ii) The person he actually marries.

Another source of humour in the story comes from the disparity between the person the doctor wants to marry and the person he marries. He dreams of marrying a wealthy woman doctor with a successful medical practice, envisioning a life of financial security and social status. However, in reality, he ends up marrying someone entirely different from his ideal, as indicated by his humorous remark about his wife being a thin, reedy person with the gift of a sprinter. This contrast between his idealised vision and the unexpected reality of his marriage adds a comedic twist to the story, showcasing the irony of his situation.

3. (i) His thoughts when he looks into the mirror

   (ii) His thoughts when the snake is coiled around his arm.

The humour in the story is also derived from the doctor’s contrasting thoughts when he looks into the mirror versus when the snake is coiled around his arm. Initially, when he looks into the mirror, he is preoccupied with self-improvement and vanity, as seen in his decision to shave daily and grow a thin moustache to enhance his appearance. However, when confronted with the danger of the snake, his thoughts shift dramatically to fear and uncertainty, highlighting the absurdity of his earlier concerns about his appearance in the face of a life-threatening situation. This contrast highlights the humorous tone of the story, as the doctor’s trivial worries are overshadowed by the immediate danger he faces.

Thinking About Language:

I. Here are some sentences from the text. Say which of them tell you, that the author: 

(a) was afraid of the snake:

  • 1. “I was turned to stone.”
  • 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.”

(b) was proud of his appearance:

  • 6. “I looked into the mirror and smiled. It was an attractive smile.”

(c) had a sense of humour:

  • 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.”

(d) was no longer afraid of the snake:

  • 2. “I was no mere image cut in granite.”
  • 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!”

II. Expressions used to show fear:

A: The lines are selected from Paragraph 7.

  1. I was turned to stone.
  1. I sat there holding my breath.
  1. In the light of the lamp, I sat there like a stone image in the flesh.

III. In the sentences given below some words and expressions are italicised. 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. (very frightened)
  1. I got a fright when I realised how close I was to the cliff edge. (frightened by something that happens suddenly)
  1. He nearly jumped out of his skin when he saw the bull coming towards him. (frightened by something that happens suddenly)
  1. You really gave me a fright when you crept up behind me like that. (makes another feel frightened)
  1. Wait until I tell his story — it will make your hair stand on end. (makes another feel frightened)
  1. Paralysed with fear, the boy faced his abductors. (is too scared to move)
  1. The boy hid behind the door, not moving a muscle. (is too scared to move)

IV. Reported questions:

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?” 

2. David asked his colleague, “Where will you go this summer?” 

3. He asked the little boy, “Why are you studying English?” 

4. She asked me, “When are we going to leave?” 

5. Pran asked me, “Have you finished reading the newspaper?


  1. Meena asked her friend whether she thought their teacher would come that day.
  1. David asked his colleague where he would go that summer.
  1. He asked the little boy why he was studying English.
  1. She asked me when we were going to leave.
  1. Pran asked me if I had finished reading the newspaper.


Using some of the expressions given above in exercise III, talk about an incident when you were very scared. 

Sample Story:

One summer evening, I stepped out onto the balcony to enjoy the cool breeze. Suddenly, the railing gave way, and I found myself clinging to the edge for dear life. My heart raced as I dangled precariously above the ground below. I screamed for help, but no one seemed to hear. Fear gripped me as I struggled to maintain my grip, my fingers slipping on the smooth surface. Time seemed to stand still as I desperately prayed for someone to come to my rescue. Eventually, my neighbour heard my cries and rushed to help, pulling me to safety. Shaken and trembling, I thanked them profusely, grateful to be alive. That terrifying experience taught me to never take safety for granted.


The following paragraph is about the Indian cobra. Write it down with appropriate punctuation marks. 

A: Tally your dictation answers with the correct  answer below:

The Indian cobra is the common name for members of the family of venomous snakes, known for their intimidating looks and deadly bite. Cobras are recognised by the hoods that they flare when angry or disturbed; the hoods are created by the extension of the ribs behind the cobras’ heads. Obviously, the best prevention is to avoid getting bitten. This is facilitated by the fact that humans are not the natural prey of any venomous snake. We are a bit large for them to swallow whole, and they have no means of chopping us up into bite-size pieces. Nearly all snakebites in humans are the result of a snake defending itself when it feels threatened. In general, snakes are shy and will simply leave if you give them a chance.


Q1: Try to rewrite the story without its humour, merely as a frightening incident. What details or parts of the story would you leave out? 

A1: The story may have the  following omissions or changes: 

  • Remove or tone down the humorous descriptions of the doctor’s thoughts and decisions, such as his aspirations for a wealthy wife and preoccupation with his appearance.
  • Focus on emphasising the doctor’s fear and vulnerability during the encounter with the snake, without any humorous commentary or reflections.
  • Modify or remove humorous elements, such as the snake’s interaction with the mirror, to maintain a consistent tone of fear and tension.
  • Highlight the doctor’s physical and emotional distress during the ordeal, emphasising his struggle to escape from the snake and the terror of being trapped in a life-threatening situation.
  • The story should maintain a sense of urgency and suspense, focusing on the doctor’s desperate attempts to survive and overcome the danger posed by the snake.
I returned to my small, dimly lit room on a hot summer night. As I settled in, a familiar noise from above caught my attention. Suddenly, a fat snake slithered over the back of my chair and coiled around my arm. Paralysed with fear, I felt its cold, scaly body pressing against me. The room darkened as the snake’s hooded head loomed dangerously close to my face. Desperate to escape, I quietly fled onto the veranda and leapt into the yard, my heart pounding. The memory of that terrifying encounter haunted me long after, a reminder of the unpredictable dangers lurking in the shadows.

2. Make up a story about what the monkey is thinking, or why it is looking into a mirror. Write a paragraph about it. 


In the heart of the Delhi ridge, a curious monkey discovered a shiny piece of mirror among the rustling leaves and chirping birds. Intrigued by its reflection, the monkey gazed into the mirror with wonder and fascination. As it carefully examined its appearance, the monkey’s thoughts wandered. Perhaps it pondered its place in the vast jungle, comparing itself to its fellow primates. Or maybe it simply enjoyed the novelty of seeing its likeness staring back at it. Whatever the reason, the monkey was captivated by its image for that fleeting moment, lost in a world of self-reflection and the tranquil beauty of the forest.


Compare the two translations on the basis of the following points. 

• the tense of narration (past and present tense) • short, incomplete sentences. 

In translation A, the narration is in the past tense, while in translation B, it is in the present tense. Both translations use short, incomplete sentences, but translation B has slightly longer sentences than translation A.

• sentence length Which of these translations do you like? Give reasons for your choice.

I prefer translation A. The use of past tense in A gives the excerpt a sense of reflection and hindsight, which adds depth to the storytelling—also, the shorter sentences in A create a brisker pace and enhance the readability of the text. In conclusion, Translation A feels more evocative and engaging to me.

Extra Questions “The Snake and the Mirror”:

Short Answer Type Questions: 

Q1: What is the setting of the story?

A1: The story is set in a small rented room where a doctor with limited means resides. The room lacks electricity and has a tiled roof; rats regularly inhabit it.

Q2: What important decision does the doctor make while looking into the mirror?

A2: While admiring himself in the mirror, the doctor shaves daily and grows a thin moustache to enhance his appearance. He believes in presenting himself as a handsome bachelor and a doctor.

Q3: How does the doctor react when the snake lands on him?

A3: The doctor remains remarkably calm when the snake lands on his shoulder. Despite the suddenness of the encounter, he doesn’t jump, tremble, or cry out. Instead, he describes himself as turning to stone, with his mind very active.

Q4: How does the doctor describe his sensation when the snake coils around his arm?

A4: The doctor describes a sensation of intense pain in his left arm, akin to a thick leaden rod or molten fire slowly crushing it. He feels his arm draining of strength, leaving him helpless in the face of impending danger.

Q5: What does the doctor do when the snake moves towards the mirror?

A5: Seizing the moment, the doctor hesitantly rises from his chair. He slips out of the room through the veranda, his movements as stealthy as a cat’s. In a swift, agile leap, he lands in the yard and breaks into a run, leaving the snake behind in the room.

Q6: What does the doctor’s decision suggest about his character?

A6: The doctor’s swift fleeing from the room shows his quick thinking and ability to react under pressure. Despite the difficult situation, he remains composed and resourceful, prioritising his safety.

Q7: How does the doctor’s description of his life companion contrast with his earlier musings?

A7: Initially, the doctor fantasises about marrying a wealthy, fat woman for practical reasons. However, reality diverges from his expectation, as he reveals his actual wife is thin and agile, with qualities different from his earlier idealisation.

Q8: What is the doctor’s reaction to discovering his belongings missing?

A8: Despite the shock of finding his room ransacked, the doctor maintains a sense of humour. He acknowledges the thief’s ironic sense of cleanliness in leaving behind his dirty vest, finding amusement in the situation despite the loss.

Q9: How does the doctor’s encounter with the snake affect his perspective on life?

A9: The encounter with the snake likely serves as a wake-up call for the doctor, reminding him of the unpredictability of life and the fragility of his existence. It may prompt him to reconsider his priorities and appreciate the value of safety and security.

Q10: What does the doctor’s laughter suggest about his attitude towards the snake incident?

A10: The doctor’s laughter indicates a sense of amusement or perhaps relief in hindsight. Despite the situation’s initial terror, he now finds humour in the absurdity of the thief’s actions and the snake’s fascination with its reflection, showing resilience and acceptance of life’s quirks.

Q11: How does the doctor’s experience with the snake reflect his faith or belief in a higher power?

A11: The doctor’s experience with the snake prompts him to acknowledge God’s presence and contemplate divine intervention. His thoughts about writing “O God” on his heart and feeling the creator’s presence suggest a reliance on faith and recognising his vulnerability in the face of danger.

Q12: How does the doctor’s reaction to the snake demonstrate his ability to adapt to challenging situations?

A12: Despite the shock of having a snake coil around his arm, the doctor remains remarkably composed and quickly formulates a plan to escape. His calm nature and swift action in leaving the room show his adaptability and resourcefulness in confronting unexpected circumstances.

Q13: How does the doctor describe the thief’s act of leaving behind his dirty vest?

A13: The doctor humorously remarks on the thief’s ironic sense of cleanliness in leaving behind his dirty vest, finding amusement in the thief’s peculiar choice of what to steal and leave behind.

Q14: What is the doctor’s response to the question about reencountering the snake?

A14: The doctor responds with laughter, indicating that he has not reencountered the snake since the incident. His laughter suggests relief and disbelief at the situation’s absurdity.

Q15: How does the doctor characterise the snake’s behaviour towards its reflection?

A15: The doctor describes the snake as admiring its beauty or contemplating decisions akin to humans, such as growing a moustache or wearing makeup. This characterisation adds a touch of humour to the story.

Long Answer Type Questions

Q1: How does the doctor’s initial encounter with the snake occur, and what is his initial reaction?

A1: The doctor’s initial encounter with the snake happens when he sits in his room, grooming himself in front of a mirror. Suddenly, he feels a dull thud, and when he turns around, a fat snake lands on his shoulder. Despite the shock of the unexpected visitor, the doctor remains remarkably composed. 

He doesn’t jump, tremble, or cry out; instead, he sits still as the snake coils around his arm, barely inches away from his face. His initial reaction is stunned disbelief and a sense of being turned to stone as he processes the gravity of the situation with a mind that remains active in the surreal encounter.

Q2: Describe the doctor’s living conditions and financial situation as the story depicts.

A2: The doctor’s living conditions are modest and indicate his financial struggles. He resides in a small rented room without electricity, emphasising his limited means. Its lack of amenities and reliance on a kerosene lamp for light highlights the room’s simplicity. 

The doctor’s financial situation is precarious/unstable; he has just begun his medical practice and earns meagerly. This is evident from his possession of only sixty rupees and minimal clothing and belongings stored in his suitcase. Despite his aspirations to groom himself and appear handsome, his circumstances reflect a life marked by financial constraint and humble beginnings in his pursuit of establishing himself as a doctor.

Q3: What significant decision does the doctor make while looking into the mirror, and how does it lead to an unexpected turn of events?

A3: While looking into the mirror, the doctor makes the significant decision to shave daily and grow a thin moustache to enhance his appearance. This decision is driven by his desire to present himself as handsome, mainly because he is unmarried and a doctor. However, this seemingly innocuous decision leads to an unexpected turn of events when, while grooming himself, he hears a noise from above. 

As he turns to investigate, a fat snake unexpectedly lands on his shoulder, disrupting his grooming session and plunging him into a surreal and potentially dangerous situation. Thus, his decision to focus on his appearance inadvertently/by accident leads to a startling encounter with the snake, dramatically altering the course of his evening.

Q4: How does the doctor react when the snake coils around his arm, and what thoughts run through his mind?

A4: The doctor remains remarkably composed despite the shock when the snake coils around his arm. He neither jumps, trembles nor cries out. Instead, he sits still as if turned to stone, with his mind actively processing the situation. Thoughts of fear and uncertainty flood his mind, compounded/ worsened by the realisation of the imminent danger posed by the snake’s proximity to his face. 

He contemplates/considers the potential consequences of any movement, knowing that the slightest twitch could provoke the snake to strike. Amidst the tension, he also reflects on the presence of God. He contemplates his mortality, seeking solace/comfort in spiritual thoughts amidst the surreal and potentially life-threatening encounter with the snake.

Q5: What symbolism is suggested when the doctor reflects on the presence of God during his encounter with the snake? Does it have a humorous tone?

A5: During the doctor’s encounter with a snake, he reflects on God’s presence, which suggests themes of faith, mortality, and the human condition. The doctor’s contemplation/reflection of God’s presence reflects a search for spiritual guidance and comfort during a moment of danger, symbolising humanity’s inclination to turn to higher powers during times of crisis. 

Although the situation is critical and dangerous, the doctor’s reflection on God’s presence is not meant to be humorous. Instead, it adds depth to the story by highlighting the doctor’s introspection and recognition of something greater than himself amidst the surreal and potentially life-threatening encounter with the snake.

Q6: According to the doctor’s observations, how does the snake’s behaviour change when it sees its reflection in the mirror?

A6: According to the doctor’s observations, when the snake sees its reflection in the mirror, its behaviour changes. Initially coiled around the doctor’s arm, the snake’s attention is diverted towards its reflection in the mirror. It appears intrigued or captivated by the sight, suggesting self-awareness or curiosity. 

The doctor speculates/guesses whether the snake is admiring its beauty or contemplating its appearance, humorously pondering if it is deciding on matters like growing a moustache or applying cosmetics. This behaviour change adds a surreal and somewhat humorous touch to the encounter, highlighting the unexpected and unpredictable nature of the snake’s response to its reflection in the mirror.

Q7: How does the doctor escape from the snake, and what does he discover about his belongings the following day?

A7: The doctor manages to escape from the snake by quietly getting up from the chair, carefully leaving the room, and exiting the veranda. From there, he leaps into the yard and runs to safety. Once he feels secure, he smears oil all over himself, bathes, and changes into fresh clothes at a friend’s house. 

The following day, when he returns to his room with his friend and discovers his belongings, he finds that most of his possessions have been stolen by a thief. However, in a somewhat ironic twist, the thief has left behind the doctor’s dirty vest, showcasing an unexpected sense of cleanliness amidst the theft.

Q8: How does the doctor’s description of the thief’s actions add humour to the story’s conclusion?

A8: The doctor’s description of the thief’s actions adds humour to the story’s conclusion by juxtaposing the seriousness of the theft with a comedic detail. Despite the gravity of the situation, the thief’s unexpected consideration for cleanliness provides a humorous twist. The fact that the thief, after ransacking/looting the doctor’s room and stealing most of his belongings, chooses to leave behind the dirty vest highlights the situation’s absurdity. 

It evokes a sense of irony and amusement, as the thief’s act of theft is undermined by his peculiar sense of hygiene. This unexpected detail adds lightheartedness to the otherwise tense and surreal/bizarre narrative, leaving readers with a memorable and humorous conclusion.

Q9: What humorous detail does the doctor reveal about the item left behind by the thief?

A9: The humorous detail revealed by the doctor about the item left behind by the thief is that it’s his dirty vest. Despite the thief’s audacious act of stealing most of the doctor’s belongings, including valuable items, he bizarrely chooses to leave behind the doctor’s dirty vest. 

This detail adds a touch of irony and humour to the situation, highlighting the absurdity of the thief’s actions.  Instead of taking all valuable items, the thief’s decision to leave behind the dirty vest suggests the thief’s peculiar sense of cleanliness, providing a humorous twist to the story’s conclusion.

Q10: How does the doctor conclude his encounter with the snake, and what insight does he share about the snake’s behaviour afterwards?

A10: The doctor concludes his encounter with the snake by quietly escaping from the room and seeking refuge elsewhere. He reflects on the incident with a mix of relief and humour, highlighting the situation’s absurdity. He shares insight into the snake’s behaviour afterwards, suggesting that he never saw the snake again. 

He humorously attributes the snake’s disappearance to its preoccupation with its beauty, implying that the snake was so enamoured/captivated by its reflection in the mirror that it chose to leave the doctor’s presence. This lighthearted conclusion adds a comedic element to the story, offering readers a whimsical perspective on the snake’s behaviour and the doctor’s surreal encounter.

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