Snake - Important Questions

1.         Why does the poet decide to stand and wait till the snake has finished drinking? What does this tell you about the poet? (Notice that he uses 'someone' instead of 'something' for the snake.)
2.         In stanza 2 and 3, the poet gives a vivid description of the snake by using suggestive expressions. What picture of the snake do you form on the basis of this description?
3.         How does the poet describe the day and the atmosphere when he saw the snake?
4.         What does the poet want to convey by saying that the snake emerges from the 'burning bowels of the earth'?
5.         Do you think the snake was conscious of the poet's presence? How do you know?
6.         How do we know that the snake's thirst was satiated? Pick out the expressions that convey this.
7.         The poet has a dual attitude towards the snake. Why does he experience conflicting emotions on seeing the snake?
8.         The poet is filled with horror and protest when the snake prepares to retreat and bury itself in the 'horrid black, dreadful hole’. In the light of this statement, bring out the irony of his act of throwing a log at the snake.
9.         The poet seems to be full of admiration and respect for the snake. He almost regards him like a majestic God. Pick out at least four expressions from the poem that reflect these emotions.
10.       What is the difference between the snake's movement at the beginning of the poem and later when the poet strikes it with a log of wood? You may use relevant vocabulary from the poem to highlight the difference.
11.     The poet experiences feelings of self-derision, guilt and regret after hitting the snake. Pick out expressions that suggest this. Why does he feel like this?
12.       'I have something to expiate'. Explain.
13.       What was the poet on his way to do when he first became aware of the snake?
14.       What was the snake doing?
15.       What did the ‘voice of his education’ tell the poet he should do?
16.       How did he actually feel about the snake when the voices told him to kill it?
17.       What caused the poet’s horror towards the snake?
18.       What did the poet do?
19.       What does he feel after having done it?
20.       What does the poet mean by “the voices of my accursed education.” Why are they accursed?
21.       Why does the poet call the snake one of the ‘Lords of Life’?
22.       Why does the poet call his sin a ‘pettiness’?

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