Annotated scorpion


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Annotated scorpion

  1. 1. Night of the Scorpion Nissim Ezekiel
  2. 2. Objectives: <ul><li>By the end of today’s lesson you will be able to: </li></ul><ul><li>Understand the skills used in transferring a poem to another medium; </li></ul><ul><li>Understand the issues raised by Night of the Scorpion. </li></ul>
  3. 3. CULTURE <ul><li>India: </li></ul><ul><li>A densely populated country with a large proportion living in relative poverty; </li></ul><ul><li>Religion stills forms an essential aspect of society in most cases. </li></ul>
  4. 4. SURFACE MEANING <ul><li>A child watches as their mother, having been stung by a scorpion, struggles against the poison as the rest of the village use their methods to save her. </li></ul>
  5. 5. I remember the night my mother was stung by a scorpion. Ten hours of steady rain had driven him to crawl beneath a sack of rice. Parting with his poison - flash of diabolic tail in the dark room - he risked the rain again. The peasants came like swarms of flies and buzzed the name of God a hundred times to paralyse the Evil One. With candles and with lanterns throwing giant scorpion shadows on the mud-baked walls they searched for him: he was not found. They clicked their tongues. With every movement that the scorpion made his poison moved in Mother's blood, they said. May he sit still, they said. May the sins of your previous birth be burned away tonight, they said. May your suffering decrease the misfortunes of your next birth, they said. May the sum of all evil balanced in this unreal world against the sum of good become diminished by your pain. They become the scorpion – part of the problem Repetition of ‘s’ sound throughout suggests hissing PERSONIFICATION The scorpion is given human characteristics RELIGIOUS IMAGES REPETITION Makes fun of the peasants views Separates the peasants and the poet Negative image ONOMATOPOEIAEnhances insect imagery
  6. 6. May the poison purify your flesh of desire, and your spirit of ambition, they said, and they sat around on the floor with my mother in the centre, the peace of understanding on each face. More candles, more lanterns, more neighbours, more insects, and the endless rain. My mother twisted through and through, groaning on a mat. My father, sceptic, rationalist, trying every curse and blessing, powder, mixture, herb and hybrid. He even poured a little paraffin upon the bitten toe and put a match to it. I watched the flame feeding on my mother. I watched the holy man perform his rites to tame the poison with an incantation. After twenty hours it lost its sting. My mother only said Thank God the scorpion picked on me And spared my children. New stanza shows change in perspective The poet remembers this simple act of selflessness Alliteration for impact They actually “understand” very little Repetition show the uselessness of the peasants Endless prayers have no effect except on the peasants A glimpse of his mother’s pain
  7. 8. IDEAS, ATTITUDES, FEELINGS <ul><li>Ideas: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>A strong belief in the battle between good and evil </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Attitudes: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Faith in the power of religion and fate </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Feelings: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>The “I” voice of the child mentions no fear or concern for the mother but remains emotionally detached as if recounting a distant memory with a known ending </li></ul></ul>
  8. 9. LANGUAGE Metaphor buzzed the name of God Simile The peasants came like swarms of flies Personification lanterns / throwing giant scorpion shadows Alliteration <ul><li>parting with his poison </li></ul><ul><li>he risked the rain again </li></ul><ul><li>movement … made … moved … Mother’s </li></ul><ul><li>poison purify </li></ul><ul><li>poured … paraffin </li></ul>Repetition <ul><li>May … , they said </li></ul><ul><li>More </li></ul><ul><li>I watched </li></ul><ul><li>God </li></ul>Contrast • “ God” vs. “the Evil One” • “ My father, sceptic, rationalist” vs. “the holy man performing his rites”
  9. 10. BBC AUDIO
  10. 11. Scripting the Poem <ul><li>The narrative style of Night of the Scorpion lends itself well to transferring the scenes and ideas of the poem into another medium ; </li></ul><ul><li>Create a script for a film or theatre version of the poem; </li></ul><ul><li>Decide if you will use a monologue, like a soliloquy, to express the narrators view, or whether you will go for more naturalistic approaches involving the peasants speaking and acting as if they were really in that scene with many stage directions given as to how characters interact and use their body language. </li></ul>