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The Snake and the Mirror Extra Questions and Answers

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NameThe Inchcape Rock
AuthorVaikom Muhammad Basheer
The Snake and the Mirror Extra Questions and Answers

The Snake and the Mirror Summary

“The Snake and the Mirror” is a short story written by Vaikom Muhammad Basheer, a well-known Indian author and social reformer from Kerala. The story is a simple and humorous tale of a man who is fascinated by his own reflection in a mirror. The man, who is poor and uneducated, becomes obsessed with his reflection and begins to neglect his work and family in order to stare at himself in the mirror.

The story begins with the protagonist, a simple farmer, discovering a mirror in his neighbor’s house. He is fascinated by his own reflection and begins to spend all of his time looking at himself in the mirror. His wife and children try to intervene, but he is too entranced to listen to them. He begins to neglect his work, his family, and even his own appearance, as he is constantly looking at himself in the mirror.

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One day, while he is admiring himself in the mirror, a snake appears in the room. The man is terrified and tries to run away, but the snake blocks his path. The man then has a realization that the snake is also admiring its own reflection in the mirror and is not trying to attack him. The man and the snake stare at each other’s reflection for a while, and the man finally understands the snake’s obsession with its own reflection.

The Snake and the Mirror Extra Questions and Answers

Q1: What two ‘important’ and earth shaking’ decisions did the doctor take while he was looking into the mirror?

Ans: While he was looking into the mirror, the doctor made an ‘important’ decision to shave daily and grow a thin moustache to look more handsome. He made another ‘earth shaking’ decision to always keep an attractive smile on his face to look more handsome.

Q2: What kind of woman did the doctor want to marry and why?

Ans: The doctor wanted to marry a lady doctor with a good medical practice. Besides it she should be a flat woman. If we made some silly mistake she should not be able to catch him.

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

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

Ans: (i) The doctor sits in front of the mirror. He makes an important decision. He decides that he wll shave daily & grow a thin moustache to look more handsome. The decision makes him smile.

(ii) The snake has a tight grip on his arm. The doctor thinks that death is just four inches away from him. If the snake bites him, what medicine he will take. There was not any such medicine in the room. He calls himself a poor, foolish & stupid doctor. He forgets his danger & smiles faintly at his foolishness.

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Q4: What did the doctor do as soon as he reached his friend’s house? Why?

Ans: Immediately after reaching his friend’s house, the doctor applied oil to his entire body, took a bath & put on fresh clothes. He did so because the snake had slightered over his back, shoulder & arm. He wanted to get rid of his creepy (annoying & unpleasant) feeling & any possible ill-effects of a snake’s touch.

Q5: Why did the doctor remark, ‘the snake was taken with its own beauty’?

Ans: The doctor remarks that the snake was ‘taken with its own beauty’ because it kept looking into the mirror just like the doctor used to when he would admire his looks while in front of the mirror.

Q6: How was the narrator saved from the snake?

Ans: The snake turned its head to look into the mirror. It unwound the coil on the narrator’s arm. It fell into the narrator’s lap. From there, it moved towards the mirror. The narrator got time. He ran out of the room.

Q7: After this escape, what did the narrator do?

Ans: He reached his friend’s house. He came back his room the next day. He made up his mind to move to another place. Since some thief had already taken away most of his things, he had to carry only a little luggage.

Q8: What kind of girl narrator wanted to marry?

Ans: The narrator wanted to marry a lady doctor who had plenty of money. She should also have a good medical service. Moreover she had to be fat so that she couldn’t catch him when he run away.

Q9: Describe the thought that come to narrator’s mind as he sat still, with the snake on his shoulder.

Ans: The narrator thought that he was a foolish doctor as he had got no medicine to take in case the snake bit him. He smiled at his own realization, and forgot the danger. He thought it must have pleased God.

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Q10: Write a note on the elements of humour and irony in the story ‘The snake and the Mirror’.

Ans: Though the narrator’s encounter with the snake was a horrible incident, but the author describe the entire episode in a humorous tone. The story is replete with humorous elements that keep the readers amused. The narrator’s reference to sharing his room with lots and lots of rats was quite funny. He even describes his poverty in a comical manner. The mention of a ‘solitary black coat’ and ‘not-so-white vest’ are quite funny, not pathetic. His dream of marrying a fat, rich lady doctor gives us laughter, particularly because he did not want to be chased by his wife. The entire mood and language of the story is full of humour.

Similarly, the story also presents quite a few examples of irony too. The doctor dreams of a happy future, but ironically gasps (a short labored intake of breath with the mouth open) for life a few moments later. It is also ironical that a practicing doctor does not have sufficient medicines in his house for his own treatment. Irony also strikes the doctor when his dreams of marrying a fat girl are shattered. Ironically, his wife is a thin reedy person with the gift of a sprinter.

Q11: What possessions did the doctor have in his room?

Ans: The doctor had sixty rupees, a few shirts, dhotis, one solitary black coat, a bed, a chair, a table and a lamp.

Q12: What was the doctor’s opinion about the snake when it was looking in the mirror?

Ans: The doctor was of the opinion that looking into the mirror, the snake might be admiring its own beauty. It might be trying to make an important decision about growing moustache or using eyeshadow and mascara or wearing a vermilion spot on its forehead.

Q13: What familiar sound did the doctor hear? What did he think it was? Why did the sounds stop?

Ans: The doctor heard the familiar sound of rats come from the tiled roof. He heard it three times. When the doctor sat in the chair the sound stopped becuase the snake had reached the ground.

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