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THE SNAKE AND THE MIRROR
By– Vaikom Muhammad Basheer
IMPORTANT PASSAGES FOR COMPREHENSION
(Page 56) It was a hot summer night; about ten o’clock. I had my meal at the restaurant and returned to my room. I heard a noise from above as I opened the door. The sound was a familiar one. One could say that the rats and I shared the room. I took out my box of matches and lighted the kerosene lamp on the table.
The house was not electrified; it was a small rented room. I had just set up medical practice and my earnings were meagre. I had about sixty rupees in my suitcase. Along with some shirts and dhotis, I also possessed one solitary black coat which I was then wearing.
1. Where did the narrator have his meal?
2. What did he do after having his meal?
3. What time did he return to his room?
4. What kind of weather was it?
5. What happened as he opened the door?
6. What kind of sound did he hear?
7. What did he do after coming into the room?
8. Where did the narrator live?
9. Why had he to light a kerosene lamp?
10. How did the narrator earn his living?
11. How much money did he have with him?
12. What clothes did he have with him?
1. He had his meal at the restaurant.
2. He returned to his room.
3. It was at about 10 o’clock.
4. It was a hot summer night.
5. He heard a noise from above.
6. It was the familiar sound of rats.
7. He lighted the kerosene lamp.
8. He lived in a rented room.
9. Because the house was not electrified.
10. He was a medical practitioner.
11. He had only sixty rupees with him.
12. He had some shirts, dhotis and a black coat.
(Page 56) I took off my black coat, white shin and not-so-white vest and hung them up. I opened the two windows in. the room. It was an outer room with one wall facing the open yard. It had a tiled roof with long supporting gables that rested on the beam over the wall. There was no ceiling. There was regular traffic of rats to and from the beam. I made my bed and pulled it closer to the wall. I lay down but I could not sleep. I got up and went out to the veranda for a little air, but the Wind God seemed to have taken time off.
1. What clothes did the narrator take off?
2. What did he do with the clothes he had taken off?
3. What does he say about the vest he was wearing?
4. How many windows were there in the room?
5. What kind of roof did the room have?
6. What supported the gables?
7. What ‘regular’ traffic does the narrator talk about?
8. Where did he put his bed?
9. Why do you think he could not sleep?
10. Why did he go out to the veranda?
11. Was it airy outside?
1. He took off his coat, his shirt and vest
2. He hung them up.
3. He says that it was not so white.
4. It had two windows.
5. It was a tiled roof with long gables.
6. A beam supported the gables.
7. It was the continuous movement of rats over the beam.
8. He put it close to the wall.
9. It was very close and hot
10. He went out to have a little air.
11. No, it was close outside also.
(Page 57) One feels tempted to look into a mirror when it is near one. I took a look. In those days I was a great admirer of beauty and I believed in making myself look handsome. I was unmarried and I was a doctor. I felt I had to make my presence felt. I picked up the comb and ran it through my hair and adjusted the parting so that it looked straight and neat.
1. What is one tempted to do near a mirror?
2. What had the narrator been an admirer of?
3. How did he want to look?
4. Was the narrator then married?
5. What was his profession?
6. What did he do with the comb?
7. How did he adjust the parting through his hair?
8. Why do you think he wanted to make his presence felt?
9.Which word in the passage means ‘attracted”?
1. One is tempted to look in the mirror.
2. He had been an admirer of beauty.
3. He wanted to look handsome.
4. No, he was unmarried.
5. He was a doctor.
6. He ran it through his hair.
7. He made it straight and neat.
8. Because he was unmarried and was looking for a good wife.
9. tempted = attracted.
(Page 57) I took a close look at my face in the mirror. I made an important decision. I would shave daily and grow a thin moustache to look more handsome. I was after all a bachelor and a doctor! I looked in the mirror and smiled. It was an attractive smile. I made another eat. shaking decision. I would always keep that attractive smile on my face …. to look more handsome. I was after all a bachelor, and a doctor too on top of it!
1. Who does `I’ in the passage refer to?
2. What did he look at in the mirror?
3. Was the narrator married?
4. What was his profession?
5. What was the first important decision he made
6. How did he feel about his smile?
7. What did he decide to do to look more handsome?
8. Why do you think he wanted to look handsome?
9.Which word or phrase in the passage means ‘of great importance’?
1. It refers to the narrator who was a doctor.
2. He looked at his face.
3. No, he was a bachelor.
4. He was a doctor.
5. He decided to shave daily and grow a thin moustache.
6. He thought it was an attractive smile.
7. He decided to keep a smile on his face always.
8. He wanted to look handsome so that he could have a good wife.
9. earth-shaking = of great importance.
(Page 57-58) Suddenly there came a dull thud as if a rubber tube had fallen to the ground … surely nothing to worry about. Even so, I thought I would turn around and take a look. No sooner had I turned than a fat snake wriggled over the back of the chair and landed on my shoulder. The snake’s landing on me and my turning were simultaneous. I didn’t jump. I didn’t tremble. I didn’t cry out. There was no time to do any such thing. The snake slithered along my shoulder and coiled around my left arm above the elbow. The food was spread out and its head was hardly three or four inches from my face!
1. What kind of noise did the narrator hear?
2. What did he think at first about the noise he had heard?
3. What had actually happened?
4. What did the narrator see when he turned around
5. What has the snake been compared to?
6. Why did the narrator not jump or cry on seeing the snake?
7. What did the snake do after it had landed on the narrator’s shoulder?
8. What did the snake have on its head?
9. How far was the snake’s head from the narrator’s arm?
10. Which word in the passage means ‘a dull low sound’?
1. It was a dull thud like a rubber tube falling to the ground.
2. He thought there was nothing to worry about.
3. A snake had fallen on the back of his chair.
4. He saw a fat snake landed on his shoulder from the back of the chair.
5. It has been compared to a rubber tube.
6. There was no time to do any such thing.
7. It coiled itself around the narrator’s left arm.
8. It had a hood on its head.
9. Hardly three or four inches.
10. thud = a dull low sound.