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Night of the scorpion

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The Night of the Scorpion is a poem written by Nissim Ezekiel. It is part of the Class X English CBSE Syllabus.

The Night of the Scorpion is a poem written by Nissim Ezekiel. It is part of the Class X English CBSE Syllabus.

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Night of the scorpion

  1. 1. NIGHT OF THE SCORPION CLASS X SUNITA HOWELL Sting in the Tale
  2. 2. Introduction of the Poet <ul><li>Nissim Ezekiel  (14 December 1924 – 9 January 2004) </li></ul><ul><li>an Indian Jewish poet, playwright, editor and art critic. </li></ul><ul><li>born in Mumbai and early education in Mumbai. </li></ul><ul><li>contributed to Indian English writing. </li></ul><ul><li>received the Sahitya Akademi Award in 1983 for his Poetry collection, &quot;Latter-Day Psalms.” </li></ul>Nissim Ezekiel
  3. 3. Night of the Scorpion <ul><li>1. I remember the night my mother 2. was stung by a scorpion. Ten hours 3. of steady rain had driven him 4. to crawl beneath a sack of rice. 5. Parting with his poison - flash  6. of diabolic tail in the dark room - 7. he risked the rain again. 8. The peasants came like swarms of flies  9. and buzzed the name of God a hundred times  10. to paralyse the Evil One. </li></ul>
  4. 4. 11. 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. 18. 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
  5. 5. 25. against the sum of good become diminished by your pain May the poison purify your flesh of desire, and your spirit of ambition, they said, and they sat around 30. 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, 35. groaning on a mat.
  6. 6. 36. My father, sceptic, rationalist, trying every curse and blessing, powder, mixture, herb and hybrid. He even poured a little paraffin 40. 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  45. it lost its sting. 46. My mother only said  47. Thank God the scorpion picked on me 48. And spared my children.
  7. 7. Learning Objectives <ul><li>To read the poem and appreciate it </li></ul><ul><li>To examine the way the poem presents different people and their attitudes </li></ul><ul><li>a. the peasants’ response </li></ul><ul><li>b. The Father’s response </li></ul><ul><li>c. The Holy Man’s response </li></ul><ul><li>d. The Mother’s response </li></ul><ul><li>Style of writing </li></ul><ul><li>Learn new vocabulary in its context </li></ul>
  8. 8. Style of Writing <ul><li>It is a narrative poem </li></ul><ul><li>Written in first person </li></ul><ul><li>Makes the action real </li></ul><ul><li>The poet’s role as an observer and participant in the action. </li></ul>
  9. 9. Style of Writing <ul><li>The lines are of irregular length </li></ul><ul><li>Absence of rhyme and meter </li></ul><ul><li>The lines run on and do not end with the usual full stop. This is known as enjambement. </li></ul>
  10. 10. Style of Writing <ul><li>Use of free style and colloquial manner </li></ul><ul><li>Repeated use of indirect speech. </li></ul><ul><li>Repeated use of imagery. </li></ul><ul><li>Use of similes, metaphors and alliteration. </li></ul><ul><li>Use of repetition and onomatopoeia </li></ul>
  11. 11. The Scorpion: lines 1-7 <ul><li>Which lines describe the scorpion as </li></ul><ul><li>Strong and powerful? </li></ul><ul><li>Weak and helpless? </li></ul>
  12. 12. The Peasants <ul><li>Notice the repetition of ‘they said’ in lines 17, 20, 22 & 29 </li></ul><ul><li>What superstitious ideas do the peasants put forward? </li></ul><ul><li>Do these superstitions still hold weight? </li></ul><ul><li>Are superstitions and religion connected? </li></ul>
  13. 13. What do the following images convey about the peasants? <ul><li>Came as swarms of flies. </li></ul><ul><li>Buzzed the name of God a thousand times. </li></ul><ul><li>They threw giant scorpion shadows on the mud-baked walls. </li></ul><ul><li>They clicked their tongues. </li></ul>
  14. 14. The Poet’s Father <ul><li>The father tries both: </li></ul><ul><li>“ curse and blessing” </li></ul><ul><li>“ powder, mixture, herb, paraffin” </li></ul><ul><li>What do his actions portray? </li></ul><ul><li>He doesn’t believe in religion or magic. </li></ul><ul><li>He is a ‘rationalist’ who believes problems can be solved logically and scientifically. </li></ul><ul><li>Does his behaviour confirm this image? </li></ul>
  15. 15. <ul><li>Character </li></ul><ul><li>Give your reasons </li></ul><ul><li>weak and helpless. </li></ul><ul><li>strong and powerful. </li></ul><ul><li>……………………… .. </li></ul><ul><li>……………………… .. </li></ul><ul><li>……………………… .. </li></ul><ul><li>……………………… .. </li></ul>What does the poet think about: <ul><li>a. The scorpion </li></ul><ul><li>b. The peasants </li></ul><ul><li>c. The Father </li></ul><ul><li>d. The Holy Man </li></ul><ul><li>e. The Mother </li></ul>
  16. 16. The Poet’s Mother <ul><li>Contrast the strength of feeling expressed in the last three lines with the rest of the poem. </li></ul><ul><li>Who is the stronger character: the poet’s father or mother? Why? </li></ul>
  17. 17. Assignment <ul><li>Work together as a team and create a blog on the topic Superstitions and How they Govern our Behaviour. </li></ul><ul><li>Maintain a journal and enter your conclusions as you work on this exercise/respond to comments posted by your classmates on your blog. </li></ul><ul><li>Reinforcement of Vocabulary </li></ul>
  18. 18. Vocabulary from the Text <ul><li>What A means the determination to achieve success. </li></ul><ul><li>What D means cruel and wicked? The word is often related to the devil and is used to describe the scorpion’s tale. </li></ul><ul><li>What E means continual or without end and refers to the weather in the poem. </li></ul><ul><li>What H means a mixture of different ingredients? </li></ul><ul><li>What I is a spell or charm and is used by the holy man? </li></ul><ul><li>What R does the holy man perform? </li></ul>
  19. 19. Vocabulary from the Text <ul><li>What P means to disable or make powerless? </li></ul><ul><li>What R is the poet’s father – meaning he does not put his trust in religion? </li></ul><ul><li>What S also refers to the poet’s father, meaning he doubts most opinion? </li></ul><ul><li>What S means a large group of insects? </li></ul><ul><li>Read the poem carefully to find the correct word by referring to its meaning. Consult a dictionary to verify your answer. </li></ul>
  20. 20. Credits: <ul><li>www.google.com </li></ul><ul><li>www.teachit.co.uk </li></ul><ul><li>http://www.bbc.co.uk/schools/gcsebitesize/english/poemscult/ezekielrev5.shtml </li></ul><ul><li>Hornbill Text book for Class XI </li></ul><ul><li>Oxford Dictionary </li></ul>

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