Class 9 English Chapter 5 The Snake and the Mirror

Class 9 English Chapter 5 The Snake and the Mirror, NCERT/SCERT Class 9 English Beehive Question Answer to each chapter is provided in the list of SEBA ইংৰাজী Class 9 Question Answer so that you can easily browse through different chapters and select needs one. Class 9 English Beehive Prose Chapter 5 The Snake and the Mirror Question Answer can be of great value to excel in the examination.

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Class 9 English Chapter 5 The Snake and the Mirror

SEBA Class 9 English Chapter 5 The Snake and the Mirror Notes covers all the exercise questions in Assam Board SEBA Textbooks. The SEBA Class 9 English Beehive Chapter 5 The Snake and the Mirror provided here ensures a smooth and easy understanding of all the concepts. Understand the concepts behind every chapter and score well in the board exams.

The Snake and the Mirror

Chapter – 5

BEEHIVE (PROSE)

TEXTUAL QUESTIONS AND ANSWERS

Thinking about the Text

I. Discuss in pairs and answer each question below in a short paragraph (30-40 words).

1. “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 ?

Ans: The doctor heard a noise from above him as he entered his house. He was accustomed to rats in his house and so he thought it was the usual sound of the rats moving to and from the beam. He heard the sound thrice.

We know from further reading that a snake had entered the room, so the rats must have all hidden in their holes on its arrival, and thus the sound of their scampering stopped.

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

Ans: The first “important decision that the doctor took while looking into the mirror was that he would shave daily and grow a thin moustache to look more handsome; and the second “earth shaking” decision he took was that he would always l’eep his attractive smile on his face.

3. “I looked into the mirror and smiled,” says the doctor. A little later he says, “I forgot my danger and smile feebly at  myself.” What is the doctor’s opinion about himself when:

(i) he first smiles?

Ans: When the doctor first smiles he appreciates his smile a being attractive and decides to wear it always. He think of himself as a young, unmarried and handsome doctor who needed to make his presence felt.

(ii) he smiles again ? 

Ans: When he smiles the second time he realises that he i after all a poor and foolish doctor since he did not have with him the proper medicines that he would require the snake struck him.

(iii) In what way do his thoughts change in between and why ? 

Ans: His thoughts change drastically in between because one moment everything seemed to be in his favour and he was admiring and appreciating himself, yet in the ne moment he had a snake coiled around his arm, and nothing that he did not have the needed medicines, he realised. was not so smart after all.

II. This story about a fright tening incident is narrated in humorous way. What makes it humorous ? (Think of the contrasts it presents between dreams and reality. Some of them are listed below.)

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

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

2. (i) The person he wants to marry. 

(ii) The person he actually marries. 

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

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

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

Ans: 1. (i)The kind of person the doctor is: poor, meagre possessions.

(ii) The kind of person he wants to be: attractive, handsome and married happily to a rich fat doctor.

2. (i) The person he wants to marry: a rich, lady doctor who had a good medical practice, and who would be so fat that she would not be able to catch him if he ever had to run after making a silly mistake.

(ii) The person he actually marries: a very thin woman, 

who could run very fast.

3. (1) His thoughts when he looks into the mirror:  that he is a very handsome man and a doctor so he should try his outmost to become even more handsome.

(ii) His thoughts when the snake is coiled around his arm: that he was a poor, foolish doctor with no medicine in his room to save him if the snake happened to bite him.

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, (b) was proud of his appearance, (c) had a sense of humour, (d) was no longer afraid of the snake.

1. I was turned to stone.

2. I was no mere image cut in granite.

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..

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

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!

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.

Ans: 1. I was turned to stone – (a) was afraid of the snake

2. I was no mere image cut in granite – (d) was no longer afraid of the snake

3. The arm was beginning to be drained of strength – (a) was afraid of the snake 

4.I tried in my imagination to write in bright letters outside  my little heart the words, ‘O God’-(c) had a sense of humour

5. I didn’t tremble. I didn’t cry out – (a) was afraid of the snake

6. I looked into the mirror and smiled. It was an attractive smile – (b) was proud of his appearance

7. I was suddenly a man of flesh and blood-(d) was no longer afraid of the snake

8. I was after all a bachelor, and a doctor too on top of it! – (b) was proud of his appearance 

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 – (c) had a sense of humour 

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/ had a sense of humour

II. Expressions used to show fear.

Can you find the expressions in the story that tell you that the author was frightened? Read the story and complete the following sentences.

1. I was turned __________

2. I sat there holding ________

3. In the light of the lamp I sat there like __________

Ans: 1. I was turned to stone.

2. I sat there holding my breath.

3. 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. They are variously mean that one. 

is very frightened.

is too scared to move.

is frightened by something that happens suddenly. 

makes another feel frightened.

Match the meanings with the words/expressions in italic 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)

2. I got a fright when I realised how close I was to the cliff edge. 

3. He nearly jumped out of his skin when he saw the bull coming towards him. 

4. You really gave me a fright when you crept up behind me like that.

5. Wait until I tell his story- It will make your hair stand on end.

6. Paralysed with fear, the boy faced his abductors.

7. The boy hid behind the door, not moving a muscle. 

Ans: 1. I knew a man was following me. I was scared out of my wits (very frightened)

2. I got a fright when I realised how close I was to the cliff edge. (frightened by something that happens suddenly)

3. He nearly jumped out of his skin when he saw the bull coming towards him. (is very frightened) 

4. You really gave me a fright when you crept up behind me like that. (is frightened by something that happens suddenly)

5. Wait until I tell his story-it will make your hair stand on end. (make another feel frightened)

6. Paralysed with fear, the boy faced his abductors. (is too scared to move)

7. The boy hid behind the door, not moving a muscle. (is too scared to move)

IV.  Reporting questions Study these sentences:

His friend asked, Did you see the snake the next day, doctor?” His friend asked the doctor whether/if he had seen the snake the next day.

The little girl wondered, “Will I be home before the TV show begins?” The little girl wondered, if/whether she would be home before the TV show began.

Someone asked, “Why has the thief left the vest behind?” 

Someone asked why the thief had left the vest behind. 

The words if/whether are used to report questions which begin with do, will, can, have, are, etc. These questions can be answered ‘yes’ or ‘no’.

Question beginning with why/when/where/ how/ which/what are reported using these same words. 

The reporting verbs we use in questions with if/whether/why/when etc. are: ask, inquire and wonder.

Remember that in reported speech.

the present tense changes to past tense.

here, today, tomorrow, yesterday, etc. change to day, the next day, the day before, etc.

I/you change to me/him/he, etc. as necessary.

Example: 

He said to me, “I don’t believe you.” 

He said he did not believe me.

She said to him, “I don’t believe you.”

She told him that she did not believe him.

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 ?”

6. Seema asked her, “How long have you lived here ?”

7. Sheila asked the children, “Are you ready to do the work ?” 

Ans: 1. Meena asked her friend if she thought her teacher would come that day.

2. David asked his colleague where he would go that summer. 

3. He asked the little boy why he was studying English.

4. She asked me when we were going to leave.

5. Pran asked me if I had finished reading the newspaper.

6. Seema asked her how long she had been living there. 

7. Sheila asked the children if they were ready to do the work.

Speaking

Using some of the expressions given above in exercise III, talk about an incident when you were very scared. You may have a competition to decide whose story was the most frightening.

Suggestion: 

Sample story

Wait until I tell you my story of how I was chased by a bull. It will make your hair stand on its end. I was returning back from work the other day, when I suddenly felt that somebody was following me. Seeing a hooded figure just a few steps behind me, scared me out of my wits and I quickened my pace. I could think of nothing else but getting out of the place and going somewhere crowded. In my haste to get away I did not notice that I was heading straight towards an angry bull. I realised it, but too late; before I could change directions, the bull had already seen me. Seeing it coming towards me, I nearly jumped out of my skin.

I was so scared that I stood rooted to the spot, paralysed with fear. Suddenly I felt a hand grab me and pull me to safety, out of the bull’s way. I turned to thank my rescuer and realised it was the same guy who had been following me. I did not know what to do or where to run now. But imagine my surprise when the man lifted his hood and I saw that it was none other than my friend, Harry. He had planned to give me a fright by creeping up behind me on that lonely road. I heaved a sigh of relief and then gave him a piece of my mind. In the end, all’s well that ends well but we both got more than what we had bargained for.

Dictation

The following paragraph is about the Indian cobra. Read it twice and close your book. Your teacher will then dictate the paragraph to you. Write it down with appropriate punctuation marks.

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 reels threatened. In general snakes are shy and will simply leave if you give them a chance.

[Note: Students should to themselves with their teacher’s help.]

Writing

1. Try to rewrite the story without its humour, merel as a frightening incident. What details or parts of the story wou! you leave out ? 

2. Read the description given alongside this sketch from a photograph in a newspaper (Times of India, 4 September 1999). Make up a story about what the monkey is thinking, or why it is looking into a mirror. Write a paragraph about it.

THE FAIREST OF THEM ALL

A monkey preens itself using a piece of mirror, in the Delhi ridge. 

[“To preen oneself’ means to spend a lot of time making oneself look attractive, and then admiring one’s appearance. The word is used in disapproval.]

Suggested Answer

1. Close encounters with a Snake

It was a hot summer night when the doctor returned to his room. As he entered, he heard some sounds in the ceiling, but he put it down to the usual scampering of rats, and thought about it no more. As the doctor got busy with his thoughts, he heard the sound a second time and then a third, but ignored it.

The doctor was seated on the chair near the mirror, lost in his own world, when he suddenly heard a loud thump, as if a rubber tube had. fallen to the ground. Just as he turned to check the cause of the sound, a fat snake wriggled over the back of his chair and landed on to his shoulder. The doctor froze; fear paralysing his muscles and not letting him move. And as he watched, the snake slithered down from his shoulder and wrapped itself around his left arm. The hood was spread out and its head swayed, not even three or four inches separating it from the doctor’s face.

The doctor, body turned to stones, sat unmoving and sent up a fervent prayer to God. The pain in his hand was getting worse and he wondered what he would do if the snake bit him; he did not have any medicines to treat himself with. Realising this he accepted his fate and smiled feebly. Just then as if in answer to his prayers the snake turned his head and looked into the mirror. It saw its own reflection and slowly began moving towards the mirror. The doctor waited until the snake had uncoiled from his arm and had moved near the mirror. He was amazed to see that the snake stood transfixed, watching its own reflection. Slowly, holding his breath, the doctor got up from the chair and moved towards the verandah. Once there he ran with all his might and did not stop until he reached his friend’s house. Fear did not allow him to return home that night. He also decided to move his things from there and look for another accomodation. However when he went home the next morning with his friend, he discovered that a thief had taken away all his possessions!

2.  The Fairest of Them All

A monkey at the Delhi ridge happened to find a broken piece of mirror during his usual hunt for food. Curiosity made him pick it up and taste it, it seemed so cold and tasteless. He was about to throw it away when he turned it and there he was! Another monkey was staring back at him from that mirror. The monkey dropped the glass in surprise. However curiosity got the better of him and he gingerly picked it up again. There was the same face again. Deciding that having a friend was not such a bad idea, especially one he could carry around he smiled at the face. The face smiled back. Puzzled, he scratched his head, and so did the face. Soon he realised that this friend was copying all his actions. What fun would such a friend be? Disgusted he threw the mirror on the ground and moved on.

Translation

The text you read is a translation of a story by a well-known Malayalam writer Vaikom Muhammad Basheer. 

In translating a story from one language to another, a translator must keep the content intact. However, the language and the style differ in different translations of the same text.

Here are two translations of the opening paragraphs of a novel by the Japanese writer, Haruki Murakami. Read them and answer the questions given below:

AB
When the phone rang I was in the kitchen, boiling a potful of spaghetti and whistling along with an FM broadcast of the overture to Rossini’s The Thieving Magpie, which has to be the perfect music for cooking pasta.
I wanted to ignore the phone, not only because the spaghetti was nearly done, but because Claudio Abbado was bringing the London Symphony to its musical climax.
I’m in the kitchen cooking spaghetti when the woman calls. Another moment until the spaghetti is done; then I am, whistling the prelude to Rossini’s La Gazza Ladra along with the FM radio Perfect spaghetti – cooking music! 
I hear the telephone ring but tell myself. Ignore it. Let the spaghetti finish cooking. It’s almost done, and besides, Claudio Abbado and the London Symphony Orchestra are coming to a crescendo.

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

the tense of narration (past and present tense)

short, incomplete sentences

sentence length

Which of these translations do you like? Give reasons for your choice

Suggested Answer:

Translation A: Past tense, written using complete sentences of no length.

Translation B: Present tense written using short, incomplete sentences.

I prefer Translation B more because the use of present tense combined with the style of writing, using short sentences, makes it a far more interesting read. Unlike translation A, translation B is happening in the moment, as I read along, thus I move with the writer. As a reader, translation B serves to capture my attention and imagination more than translation A.

ADDITIONAL QUESTIONS WITH ANSWERS

Answer the following questions :

1. What time was it when the doctor returned to his room ? Where had he been ?

Ans: It was around ten in the night when the doctor returned to his room.

He had been out having his dinner at a nearby restaurant.

2. What did the doctor do after entering his room ? 

Ans: After entering his room, the doctor took off his black coat, white shirt and not-so-white vest and hung them up. Next he opened the two windows in the room.

3. Which book did the doctor open ? 

Ans: The doctor opened the book named ‘Materia Medica’.

4. Why did he decide to grow a moustache ? 

Ans: While gloating over his looks, the doctor thought that having a moustache would make him appear even more attractive and so he decided to grow a moustache.

5. Why did he want his future wife to be fat ? 

Ans: The doctor wanted his future wife to be fat so that she could not. catch him if he ever made a silly mistake and had to run.

6. What did the doctor imagine the snake was thinking while looking at its reflection ? 

Ans: The doctor, when he saw the snake looking at itself in the mirror, thought that it was trying to admire its beauty and just like him, was on the verge of making an important decision as to what would make it look more beautiful. The doctor imagined the snake was debating on whether it should grow a moustache or should begin using eye shadow or mascara or maybe even contemplating whether wearing a vermilion spot on its forehead would make it look better.

Reference to the context

1. “I took a close look at my face in the mirror. I made an important decision”

(a) Who is the speaker ?

Ans: The speaker of the above quoted sentence is the doctor in the prose piece ‘The snake and the mirror’.

(b) What decision does he make ? Why ?

Ans: The doctor decides to shave daily and grow a thin moustache to appear more handsome.

2.”Death lurked four inches away.”

(a) Who is the speaker ?

Ans: The speaker of the above quoted sentence is the doctor in the prose piece ‘The Snake and The Mirror’.

(b) What form of ‘Death’ is the speaker referring to” 

Ans: The speaker is referring to ‘Death’ in the form of the snake coiled around his left arm, which was just inches away from his face and within easy striking distance of his face.

3. “It was a snake which was taken with its own beauty.”

(a) What makes the speaker say that the snake was taken with its own beauty ?

Ans: The speaker says that the snake was taken with its own beauty because when it saw its reflection in the mirror, it left the  doctor’s arm to go and further admire itself in the mirror.

(b) Explain the phrase “taken with”.

Ans: Taken with means to be attracted by.

Multiple Choice Questions

1. Looking at himself in the mirror the doctor decided to 

(a) shave daily and keep a thin moustache.

(b) cut off his thin moustache.

(c) marry a thin attractive woman.

(d) become a doctor and look more handsome.

Ans: (a) shave daily and keep a thin moustache.

2. The doctor wanted his future wife to be fat

(a) so that she could not catch him if he needed to run away.

(b) so that she could prot. et him against snakes.

(c) so that he would look more handsome.

(d) because he could not find a thin girl. 

Ans: (a) so that she could not catch him if he needed to run away.

3. The word ‘meagre’ means

(a) small in quantity.

(b) boastful.

(c) in large quantity. 

(d) happy.

Ans: (a) small in quantity.

4. Where was the snake before it climbed up the chair onto doctor’s shoulder ?

(a) hunting rats overhead on the beam.

(b) hiding below his chair.

(c) chasing rats below the doctor’s bed.

(d) near the mirror on the table. 

Ans: (a) hunting rats overhead on the beam.

5. What did the doctor do when the snake moved on to the table ? 

(a) slowly got up from the chair and went out of the room.

(b) sat in his chair, watching the snake and too afraid to move.

(c) prayed to God.

(d) called out to his friends.

Ans: (a) slowly got up from the chair and went out of the room.

THINKING ABOUT LANGUAGE (Additional Exercises)

1. From the phrases given below, select the phrase which suits the meanings given in bracket in the sentences.

(a) a burning issue.

(b) at the zenith.

(c) call into question. 

(d) gain ground.

(e) ins and outs. 

(f) take heart.

(i) New findings _____ the safety of use of mobile phones. (raises doubt about) Ans: call into question

(ii) Consumption of South Indian dishes is ____ all over India. (becoming popular)

Ans: gaining ground.

(iii) Do you know the ____ of this job ? (details)

Ans: ins and outs.

(iv) Currently in India, communalism is ____ (a critical problem)

Ans: a burning issue.

(v) In spite of all failures, Mr Raj ____ and continued to work hard. (to cheer oneself up)

Ans: took heart.

(vi) During Akbar’s reign, India reached ____ of prosperity. (at the highest level) 

Ans: the zenith.

2. In the text, you have come across certain expressions which mean frightened. Now from the following column, match the meanings of the expressions showing various emotions of happiness, nervousness, surprise, etc.

ExpressionsMeanings
(i) taken aback(a) be frightened
(ii) bounce off the walls(b) feel very happy
(iii) take alarm(c) become greatly excised
(iv) tread on air(d) shocked or surprised by something
(v) up in arms about(e) be nervously excited
(vi) go ape(f) be very angry

Ans: (i)―(d); (ii)―(e); (iii)―(a); (iv)―(b); (v)―(f); (vi)―(c) 

3. A few questions have been given.

Report these questions using if / whether or why / when / where / how / which/ what. 

(i) She said “Do you like to look at yourself in the mirror ?” 

Ans: She asked whether I liked to look at myself in the mirror.

(ii) He said to Rahul, “Has a snake ever coiled itself round. any part of your body ?” 

Ans: He asked Rahul whether a snake had ever coiled itself round any part of his body. 

(iii) She said to the doctor, “Is your wife very fat ?”

Ans: She asked the doctor whether his wife was very fat. 

(iv) He said to Rahim, “What are you looking so wretched about ?”

Ans: He asked Rahim what he was looking so wretched about.

(v) She said to her father, “Does the seagull fly across the sun, alone and without a nest ?” 

Ans: She asked her father whether the seagull flew across the sun, alone and without a nest.

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