The Snake And The Mirror | Class IX English Chapter 9 | Questions And Answers | Grammar

Score good marks in your CBSE Class 9 English exam with the help of our worksheets, notes and questions and answers.

Discuss in pairs and answer each question in a short paragraph.

1. “The sound was a familiar one.” Which sound did the doctor hear? What did he think it was? How many times did he hear it? When and why did the sounds stop?

The doctor heard a sound when he opened the door. He thought it was a rat because in his own words, he shared the room with rats. He heard it three times. The sound stopped coming when the snake fell from above.

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

As he looked at his face in the mirror, the doctor decided that he would shave daily and grow a thin moustache to look more handsome. The second earth-shaking decision was that he would always keep an attractive smile on his face to look more handsome.

3. ‘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?

When he first smiles he thinks of himself as an attractive, young doctor who can impress others. When he smiles again, his opinion of himself has changed and now he thinks of himself as a poor, foolish and stupid doctor. He now realizes that he is now on the brink of death as the snake can bite him anytime. The presence of the snake changed the way he looked at himself.

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

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

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

The doctor is a poor person who has just set up his medical practice. His earnings are meager and he possesses only a few shirts, dhotis and a black coat. He also lives in a rented home that is not electrified. Notwithstanding his poverty, the doctor wants to come across as an attractive person. He is concerned about his looks and decided to shave daily and grow a thin moustache to appear more attractive.

2. (i) The person he wants to marry

(ii) The person he actually marries

The doctor wanted to marry a rich female doctor who had a good medical practice. He also wants his future wife to be fat so that she cannot catch up with him when he runs after making a silly mistake.

He ended up marrying a thin woman who could run really fast.

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

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

When the doctor looks into the mirror, he finds a young and attractive person. He is concerned about his looks and decides to shave daily and wear a smile all the time to look even more attractive.

When the snake coils around him, he stops worrying about his looks. Fear is the only emotion that he feels now and he is worried that the snake may bite him at any moment. So, he sits there motionless as if he was cut in stone.  

Thinking about language

1. 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. (The writer was afraid of the snake.)

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

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

4. I tried in my imagination to write in bright letters outside my little heart the words ‘O God.’ (The writer was afraid of the snake.)

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

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

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

8. I was after all a bachelor, and a doctor too on top of it. (The writer 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. (The writer 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 vermillion spot on the forehead? (The writer had a sense of humour.)

Reported questions

We use if or whether to report yes/no questions.

‘Can you help me?’ she asked.

She asked if / whether I could help her.

‘Do you know why Sheena is angry with me?’ Shyam asked Rani.

Shyam asked Rani if she knew why Sheena was angry with him.

Note that in order to report Wh-questions, we use the same question words.

‘What is your name?’ she asked me.

She asked me what my name is/was.

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

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?’


1. Meena asked her friend if / whether 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 / whether I had finished reading the newspaper.

6. Seema asked her how long she had lived there.

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

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