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The Frog and the Nightingale by Vikram Seth


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A PowerPoint Presentation of the poem "The Frog and the Nightingale by Vikram Seth. The presentation contains a brief introduction to the poet, bibliography, theme of the poem, a detailed summary, characteristics of the frog and the nightingale, poetic devices used, MCQs and a crossword.

The Frog and the Nightingale by Vikram Seth

  1. 1. The Frog and the Nightingale - Vikram Seth
  2. 2. Vikram Seth was born on 20 June 1952. He is an Indian novelist and poet. He received primary education at Welham Boys' School and then moved to The Doon School. While at Doon, Seth was the Editor-in-chief of The Doon School Weekly. While studying at Corpus Christi College, Oxford, he developed an interest in poetry and learned Chinese. After leaving Oxford, Seth moved to California to work on a graduate degree in economics at Stanford University. He then went on to study creative writing at Stanford and classical Chinese poetry at Nanjing University in China. A polyglot, he has studied several languages including Welsh, German, French, Mandarin, English, Urdu and Hindi. He has received several awards including Padma Shri, Pravasi Bharatiya Samman, WH Smith Literary Award and Crossword Book Award. Vikram Seth - Life
  3. 3. Vikram Seth – Bibliography Novels  The Golden Gate (1986)  A Suitable Boy (1993)  An Equal Music (1999)  A Suitable Girl (2013) Poetry • Mappings (1980) • The Humble Administrator's Garden (1985) • AllYouWho SleepTonight (1990) • BeastlyTales (1991) • Three Chinese Poets (1992) • The Frog and the Nightingale (1994)
  4. 4. Theme of the Poem The poem highlights the plight of those gullible people whose simplicity and credulous nature makes them complete misfits in the world of manipulation.The go-getters elbow their way to the forefront pushing the deserving to the background.The shy and the timid fail to put their foot down and the dominating and the domineering go about exploiting them without any sense of remorse or guilt.
  5. 5. The Frog and the Nightingale - Vikram Seth Other creatures loathed his voice, But, alas, they had no choice, And the crass cacophony Blared out from the sumac tree At whose foot the frog each night Minstrelled on till morning night. Once upon a time a frog Croaked away in Bingle Bog Every night from dusk to dawn He croaked awn and awn and awn.
  6. 6. And the whole admiring bog Stared towards the sumac, rapt, And, when she had ended, clapped, Ducks had swum and herons waded To her as she serenaded And a solitary loon Wept, beneath the summer moon. Toads and teals and tiddlers, captured By her voice, cheered on, enraptured: "Bravo! " "Too divine! " "Encore! " So the nightingale once more, Quite unused to such applause, Sang till dawn without a pause. Neither stones nor prayers nor sticks. Insults or complaints or bricks Stilled the frog’s determination To display his heart's elation. But one night a nightingale In the moonlight cold and pale Perched upon the sumac tree Casting forth her melody Dumbstruck sat the gaping frog.
  7. 7. “Did you… did you like my song?” “Not too bad - but far too long. The technique was fine of course, But it lacked a certain force.” “Oh!” the nightingale confessed. Greatly flattered and impressed That a critic of such note Had discussed her art and throat: “I don't think the song's divine. But - oh, well - at least it's mine.” Next night when the Nightingale Shook her head and twitched her tail, Closed an eye and fluffed a wing And had cleared her throat to sing She was startled by a croak. "Sorry - was that you who spoke? " She enquired when the frog Hopped towards her from the bog. "Yes," the frog replied. "You see, I'm the frog who owns this tree In this bog I've long been known For my splendid baritone And, of course, I wield my pen For BogTrumpet now and then."
  8. 8. "Well I charge a modest fee." "Oh!" "But it won't hurt, you'll see" Now the nightingale inspired, Flushed with confidence, and fired With both art and adoration, Sang - and was a huge sensation. Animals for miles around Flocked towards the magic sound, And the frog with great precision Counted heads and charged admission. "That's not much to boast about". Said the heartless frog. "Without Proper training such as I - And few others can supply. You'll remain a mere beginner. But with me you'll be a winner" "Dearest frog", the nightingale Breathed: "This is a fairy tale - And you are Mozart in disguise Come to earth before my eyes".
  9. 9. Though subdued and sleep deprived, In the night her throat revived, And the sumac tree was bowed, With a breathless, titled crowd: Owl of Sandwich, Duck of Kent, Mallard and MiladyTrent, Martin Cardinal Mephisto, And the Coot of Monte Cristo, Ladies with tiaras glittering In the interval sat twittering - And the frog observed them glitter With a joy both sweet and bitter. Though next morning it was raining, He began her vocal training. "But I can't sing in this weather" "Come my dear - we'll sing together. Just put on your scarf and sash, Koo-oh-ah! Ko-ash! Ko-ash! " So the frog and nightingale Journeyed up and down the scale For six hours, till she was shivering and her voice was hoarse and quivering.
  10. 10. Every day the frog who'd sold her Songs for silver tried to scold her: "You must practice even longer Till your voice, like mine grows stronger. In the second song last night You got nervous in mid-flight. And, my dear, lay on more trills: Audiences enjoy such frills. You must make your public happier: Give them something sharper snappier. We must aim for better billings. You still owe me sixty shillings." Day by day the nightingale Grew more sorrowful and pale. Night on night her tired song Zipped and trilled and bounced along, Till the birds and beasts grew tired At a voice so uninspired And the ticket office gross Crashed, and she grew more morose - For her ears were now addicted To applause quite unrestricted, And to sing into the night All alone gave no delight.
  11. 11. Now the frog puffed up with rage. "Brainless bird - you're on the stage - Use your wits and follow fashion. Puff your lungs out with your passion." Trembling, terrified to fail, Blind with tears, the nightingale Heard him out in silence, tried, Puffed up, burst a vein, and died. Said the frog: "I tried to teach her, But she was a stupid creature - Far too nervous, far too tense. Far too prone to influence. Well, poor bird - she should have known That your song must be your own. That's why I sing with panache: "Koo-oh-ah! Ko-ash! Ko-ash! " And the foghorn of the frog Blared unrivalled through the bog.
  12. 12. Summary • Once upon a time, a Frog used to croak in Bingle Bog. • He used to croak without concern from morning till evening light and did not care about how other creatures felt about his singing. • One night a Nightingale perched on the sumac tree and held the attention of the whole bog with her melodious voice. •The Frog introduced himself to her as a famous singer and critic, and offered to train her to hone her singing. •The Nightingale was flattered and accepted, hoping to become a master musician like him. •The Frog organised her concerts regularly and minted a lot of money.
  13. 13. •He made her practice day and night, even in the rain, straining her vocal cords. •The Nightingale lost the natural charm of her music and the audience started dwindling due to her uninspired performances. •The Nightingale was now terrified of failure and trembled at the thought of being told off by the Frog. She overexerted her vocal cords, burst a vein and died. •Though outwardly, the Frog did condole her death, inwardly he was very happy that he had got rid of her. He called the Nightingale stupid for being so gullible and simple-minded and accused her of not singing her own original songs just as he did. •Once again the crass cacophony of the Frog blared out from the sumac tree. He had become the unrivalled singer of the bog again.
  14. 14. Characteristic Qualities of the Frog Some words that can be used to describe the Frog are – Boastful, Possessive, Patronizing, Persuasive,Arrogant, Authoritative, Heartless, Dismissive, Critical, Imposing, Commanding, Calculative, Crafty, Ambitious, Overbearing, Deceitful, Repulsive and Dominating.
  15. 15. Characteristics of the Nightingale Polite, Shy,Timid, Honest, Meek, Melodious, Gentle, Benevolent, Humble, Sweet, Beautiful, Foolish, Innocent, Naïve, Scared, Fawning, Servile, Submissive, Simple and Generous.
  16. 16. Poetic Devices Bingle bog Crass cacophony Night a Nightingale Toads and teals and tiddlers Art and adoration Songs for silver Better billings Birds and beasts Awn and awn and awn Ko-ash! Ko-ash! Solitary loon Mozart in disguise - Animals and birds have been personified and they have been given human like characteristics. - The poet allegorizes the corrupt face of the modern world where greed, fame and competition outweigh the ethics and values. - The poet makes use of irony to enliven the craftiness of the Frog.
  17. 17. M.C.Q s Q1) Where did the Frog croak? a) In Bingle Bog b) Dingle Bog c) From Dusk to Dawn d) On a toadstool Q2) What kind of reaction did the animals display to the frog's song? a) They hated it b) They loved it c) They ignored it d) They tried to improve it Q3) What did the frog claim to be? a) A great teacher b) The owner of the sumac tree c) A publisher d) The king of Bingle Bog Q4) In which weather does the nightingale not prefer to sing? a) Sunny weather b) Rainy weather c) Winter d) Autumn Q5) The birds and beasts stopped coming to the concert because the nightingale's song ___ a) Was always the same b) Was uninspired c) Was too loud d) Had no trills
  18. 18. M.C.Qs’ Answers Q1) Where did the Frog croak? a) In Bingle Bog Q2) What kind of reaction did the animals display to the frog's song? a) They hated it Q3) What did the frog claim to be? b) The owner of the sumac tree Q4) In which weather does the nightingale not prefer to sing? b) Rainy weather Q5)The birds and beasts stopped coming to the concert because the nightingale's song ___ b) Was uninspired
  19. 19. Crossword
  20. 20. Crossword - Answers