The Mirror (By- Silvia Plath)
Qu1- ‘I have no preconceptions’. Who says this?
Qu.2- What separates the mirror and the wall?
Ans. People who see their reflection
Qu. 3- The moon and the candle are liars because
Ans. everything looks good in dim light
Qu.4- The lady looks into the mirror and her eyes fill with tears because
Ans. She is not beautiful anymore
Qu. 5- The old lady began using this mirror
Ans. as a young girl
Extract Based Questions-
Read the stanzas given below and answer the questions.
1. I am silver and exact. I have no preconceptions.
Whatever I see I swallow immediately
Just as it is, unmisted by love or dislike.
Qu. 1- Who is “I” in the above passage?
Ans. In the above passage, “I” is the mirror
Qu. 2- Why does it claim to have no preconception?
Ans. The mirror can rightly claim to have no preconception because it gives the exact reflection of the object before it.
Qu. 3- Why has it been described as “unmisted”? What is the image it is trying to convey about its nature?
Ans. A misted mirror cannot give the exact image of the object before it and the mirror is not affected by love or dislike or any other human emotions. It gives a proper and exact image, and it is trying to convey that its nature is not biased or prejudiced.
Qu. 4- Who is the speaker? Which figure of speech is used in ‘I swallow’?
Ans. The speaker is the mirror itself. The poet has personified the mirror as an individual.
2. I am not cruel, only truthful –
The eye of a little god, four-cornered.
Most of the time meditate on the opposite wall.
Qu. 1-How is the mirror not cruel, but truthful?
Ans. The person who does not like his or her own image calls the mirror cruel. The truth however, is that mirror is only truthful – giving the true image.
Qu. 2-Explain “The eye of a little god, four-cornered”
Ans. The mirror is rectangular or square and so the poet calls it four-cornered. It is also like a little god, because it has god-like impartiality.
Qu. 3-How does the mirror “meditate”?
Ans. When there is no one before the mirror, it keeps on reflecting the wall before it. The word “reflect” also means thinking or meditating or introspecting.
3. Now I am a lake. A woman bends over me, Searching my reaches for what she really is
Then she turns to those liars, the candles or the moon. I see her back and reflect it faithfully,
She rewards me with tears and an agitation of hands,
I am important to her
Qu. 1-How is the mirror “a lake”?
Ans. The mirror is described as a lake, because the woman who stands before it, seeing her image tries to look deep into every part of her image. The depth and clarity can be seen in a lake only. Also anyone can drown in a lake. So when one looks in the mirror, one is “drowned” in it, yet one can come out, of it “alive”.
Qu. 2-What is the woman searching for in the depth of the lake?
Ans. The women bends over to see her reflection in the lake. She was once young and beautiful, but now she is wrinkled and old. She wants to see her young, beautiful face once again, so she searches inside the lake (mirror) for that
Qu. 3-Why have the candles and the moon been called liars?
Ans. “The moon” and “the candles” have been called liars, because they do not give intense light, which makes the face look beautiful as the wrinkles cannot be seen clearly. In their dim light, the woman who has now grown old can see her youthful face minus the wrinkles. Since this is not the true image of the woman, they have been referred to as “liars”.
Qu. 4 -Why is the woman in tears?
Ans. The woman is in tears because of the loss of her youth and beauty due to her ageing.
Qu. 5 Explain: .Searching my reaches’.
Ans.‘Searching my reaches’ means looking into me (mirror) for her lost youth and beauty.
4. I see her back, and reflect it faithfully.
She rewards me with tears and an agitation of hands.
I am important to her. She comes and goes.
Qu. 1-Who is “she” and what does the mirror do to her?
Ans. “She” here is the woman in whose house the mirror is fixed on the wall. The woman looks in to the mirror and it reflects her image as it really is
Qu. 2-How does “she” react to her face when she sees it in the mirror?
Ans. “She” is the woman who looks at herself in the mirror and she feels sad because she has grown old and developed wrinkles. She moves her hands this way and that to express her despair or sadness or worry or anger at this physical change.
Qu. 3-Explain “I am important to her. She comes and goes”.
Ans. The mirror says that it is important to the woman because she uses it everyday to see her face.
In me she has drowned a young girl, and …. Like a terrible fish.
5. Each morning it is her face that replaces the darkness.
In me she has drowned a young girl, and in me an old woman
Rises toward her day after day like a terrible fish
Qu. 1-How has “she” drowned a young girl in the mirror?
Ans. She-meaning the woman was once a young girl. But now she has grown old. The physical changes brought about due to age and time seems to have “drowned” the young girl in the mirror and the older varnish of the woman now is reflected every time the woman looks at herself in the mirror.
Qu. 2-How does “she” reacts when “she” looks at her face reflected in the mirror?
Ans. “She” (the woman) feels very sad at the physical change. She looks into the depths of the mirror to see her young face again, but she cannot find it. She feels very upset over this fact.
Qu. 3-Why does “she” behave like a terrible fish?
Ans. She (the woman) behaves like a terrible fish which is out of water because she still imagines herself to be young and beautiful and cannot accept the fact that one grows old with the passage of time. She still has romantic ideas about her youth and beauty.
Answer the following questions in detail
Qu.1-What is the central theme of the poem “mirror”?
Answer: The poem “Mirror” by Sylvia Plath, is a comment on a woman’s desire to look beautiful and always look young. For some woman, their day begins by looking into the mirror. She is glad when she finds herself looking young, charming and beautiful, but is inconsolable when the reality is otherwise.
For an old woman, the mirror is like a lake. She looks carefully deep into the mirror to see the youth that has drowned in it. She then looks to candles and the moon to reveal her appearance, but the mirror calls them liars, because they hide many of her short comings like her age, and the wrinkles.
Qu.2- The mirror view of life is difficult to accept. Do you agree with the statement? Substantiate your answer with examples from the poem.
Answer: The mirror does not lie, it gives only the real or true image of a person standing before it. It has no preconceived nations – it has god like fairness. However, very often it is difficult to accept reality. Especially women like to like to live in denial. They do not like to see their wrinkles reflecting loss of age and youth. They would prefer to believe that they restill beautiful and young. Like the woman in the poem they turn to the mirror every day looking for assurance of their beauty which they think is everlasting. They would prefer to see their faces in moonlight or candle light because they blur and hide much of their ugliness.
Qu. 3-Imagine you are the lady in the poem ‘Mirror’ and pen down your feelings about your changing reflection in the mirror and how it has troubled you.
Answer: As usual I received a shock when I looked into the mirror I noticed a few more grey hair and some lines appearing around my eyes. My skin looks pale and blotchy. I hate looking into the mirror which highlights every ugly line on my face. I prefer to look in the candle light and moonlight as my face appears softens hiding all my ugliness and age. The mirror may be reflecting the real image but I am unable to reflect.
Q.4: The woman in the poem ‘Mirror’ searches for something in the depth of the mirror. What is it?
Answer: The woman in the poem ‘Mirror’ searches for her lost youth and beauty. She is also having a close look at her face to gauge the damage that time has done.
Q.5: How the poem ‘Mirror’ brings out the inevitability of ageing and the death?
Answer: The poem brings out our sense of anxieties and confusion which is the result of ageing. Nobody wants to grow old; everyone desires to remain young and beautiful ever. We fail to understand that life is transitory and ageing and death are unavoidable and inevitable. Hence, we need to develop an objective outlook and an inner strength to face all stages of life gracefully.
Q.6: Why has the mirror been called the “The eye of a little God”?
Answer: The mirror sees everything from all the four directions. The mirror has an all around perception. The mirror is unbiased and fair like God. The mirror gives its judgment in the form of images very truthfully. The God also is omnipresent and impartial to everyone.
Q.7: Who disturbs the mirror’s meditation and how?
Answer: The mirror keeps on gazing at the opposite wall steadily like a person meditating with a stir in his mind and body. The mirror’s meditation is disturbed by darkness or whenever some one comes in between the mirror and its opposite wall.
Q.8: Who calls the ‘mirror’ cruel and why?
Answer: The woman calls the mirror cruel. She wants to live in a world of illusion and does not want to accept the truth that she has grown old. She does not have the maturity to understand that the mirror only reflects back what comes in front of it. It does not have the power to change somebody’s appearance. But the woman finds it difficult to acknowledge the truth and so, she the ‘mirror’ cruel.
Q.9: The poet says that the mirror has no preconceptions and is only truthful. Explain.
Answer: The mirror is free from preconceptions and prejudices. It shows only the true image of an object. Its view is not tinted. The mirror does not get carried away by emotions. It has a clear vision and does not get misted by looking at beautiful people or ugly faces. It is unbiased, unmisted. It is never bothered about the feelings of the person looking at it. It performs its job honestly and in the best manner. It shows the people their true images in true colour. Like God, a mirror gives an impartial judgment through its images. Though people call it cruel, it is not so because it reflects the true image of a person without any distortion.
Q.10: Why have the candles and moon been called liars?
Answer: The candles and the moon are called liars because under their dim and dull light the woman is not able to see the wrinkles and the lines on her face. The dim lights hide the reality that she has grown old and has lost her beauty; thus making her feel beautiful and satisfying her vanity.
Q.11: Why does the woman turn to liars like the candles and moon again?
Answer: The woman wants to view her beautiful face in the mirror. But time and ageing have ruined her beauty and her face is full of wrinkles. So, in order to satisfy her vanity she turns to the candles or the moon which make her look beautiful in their soft and faint light.
Q. 12: Why is the woman agitated and has tears in her eyes?
Answer: The woman looks at herself in the mirror every day. She is fond of viewing her beauty in the mirror and rejoicing and exulting over it. But when she sees her wrinkled and ageing face in the mirror she is upset, agitated and has tears in her eyes.
Q.13: How does the mirror important to the woman?
Answer: The mirror is important to the woman because she looks at herself in the mirror every day to see her face. It is important to her because through it she meets her true self. She also muses over past, present and future. She is upset when she sees her wrinkled and ageing face but she turns again to the mirror because it is an important part of her life.
Q.13: How do you consider the poem – optimistic or pessimistic? Explain.
Answer: The poem ‘Mirror’ does have a tone of pessimism in it. The poet is a pessimistic person. She has set high aspirations for herself which she is not able to achieve and goes into depression. In the