A Summary of Night of the Scorpion

10 October 2016

The poet’s mother was stung by a scorpion on that night when it was pouring very heavily, thousands of villagers on hearing the news came in ‘like swarms of flies’ trying to do their bit in saving the mother.

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They came with lanterns, candles and crowded round her chanting the name of God ‘a thousand times’, they first tried to search for the scorpion for they felt as much  as the scorpion moved the poison of the mother would spread but there was no trace of the scorpion, they wanted the scorpion to sit still,the scorpion had stung her mother on the toeand the villagers hoped that this sting would purify the mother of her earlier sins  and purify the mother of her desires and ambitions. though they were sad of her pain yet the thought that it was doing good to her body adn soul gave them peace.

Although the poet’s father was sceptic he did all that was told to him by others in order to relieve his wife of the pain, this shows that human beings when they are helpless they do anything told to them to relieve others of their pain. The father even poured paraffin on the toe and lit a match to stop the poison from entering and the poet helplessly watched the flame. After twenty hours the poison was brought down, and all that the mother said was’thank god the scorpion stung me not my children’ suggesting the sacrifice that a mother would do for the sake of her children.

In the poem The Night of the Scorpion the poet depicts the selfless love of a mother who is stung by a scorpion. She suffers a lot because of the pain but still she is happy that the scorpion did not bite her children. The poet goes back to the night when his mother is bitten by a scorpion. By hearing this incident the villagers came into the poet’s house like swarms of flies to console the family. They prayed to God countless times to immobilize the evil creature. The villagers with lights and lanterns started to search for the scorpion but in vain. They also spread a lot of superstitious observations.

They observed that if the scorpion moves the poison in the blood of the mother. So they found it is necessary for the scorpion to stay still. Some villagers are of the opinion that the pain she suffers reduces the sufferings of her next life. Another philosophical interpretation the villagers give is that the pain she suffers may purify her desires and ambition. About the poet: nissim ezekim Nissim Ezekiel (14 Dec 1924 – 9 Jan 2004) was an Indian Jewish poet, playwright, editor and art-critic. He was a foundational figure in postcolonial India’s literary history, specifically for Indian writing in English.

He was awarded the Sahitya Akademi Award in 1983 for his Poetry collection, “Latter-Day Psalms”, by the Sahitya Akademi, India’s National Academy of Letters. Early Life Ezekiel was born on 16 December 1924 in Mumbai (Maharashtra). His father, Moses Ezekiel, was a professor of botany at Wilson College, and his mother was principal of her own school. The Ezekiels belonged to Mumbai’s Marathi-speaking Jewish community, known as the ‘Bene Israel’. He was maternal uncle to Nandu Bhende. In 1947, Ezekiel earned a BA in Literature from Wilson College, Mumbai, University of Mumbai.

In 1947-48, he taught English literature and published literary articles. After dabbling in radical politics for a while, he sailed to England in November 1948. He studied philosophy at Birkbeck College, London. After three and a half years stay, Ezekiel worked his way home as a deck-scrubber aboard a ship carrying arms to Indochina. Career Ezekiel’s first book, The Bad Day, appeared in 1952. He published another volume of poems, The Deadly Man in 1960. After working as an advertising copywriter and general manager of a picture frame company (1954–59), he co-founded the literary monthly Jumpo, in 1961.

He became art critic of The Names of India (1964–66) and edited Poetry India (1966–67). From 1961 to 1972, he headed the English department of Mithibai College, Bombay. The Exact Name, his fifth book of poetry was published in 1965. During this period he held short-term tenure as visiting professor at University of Leeds (1964) and University of Pondicherry (1967). In 1967, while in America, he experimented with LSD. In 1969, Writers Workshop, Kozhikode published his The Damn Plays. A year later, he presented an art series of ten programmes for Indian television.

In 1976, he translated Jawarharlal Nehru poetry from Marathi, in collaboration with Vrinda Nabar , and co-edited a fiction and poetry anthology. His poem The Night Of The Scorpion is used as study material in Indian and Columbian schools. Ezekiel also penned poems in ‘Indian English’ like the one based on instruction boards in his favourite Irani cafe. His poems are used in NCERT and ICSE English textbooks. He got Padmashri award in 1988 and the Sahitya akademi award cultural award in 1983. Nissim Ezekiel’s daughter’s name was Sohini. Summary of poem: the frog & the nightangle

Once upon a time a frog croaked in Bingle Bog all the night beginning from dusk to dawn. All the creatures hated his loud and unpleasant voice but still they did not have any other option. The voice came out from the sumac tree where every night the frog sang till morning. He was so determined and also shameless that neither stones, prayers or sticks nor the insults or complaints could divert him from singing. One night, a nightingale started casting her melody in the moonlight to which both the frog and the other creatures were left dumbstruck.

The whole bog remained, rapt and admired her voice and applauded her when she ended. The frog was obviously jealous of his rival and had finally decided to eliminate her. So, the next night when the nightingale was again preparing to sing, the frog’s croak disturbed her. On being asked about himself by the nightingale he answered that he owned the sumac tree and he had been known for his splendid voice. Also he said that he had written a number of songs for the Bog Trumpet. The nightingale asked him whether he liked her song or not.

The frog said that the song wasn’t bad but too long and it lacked some force. The nightingale was greatly impressed that such a critic had discussed her song. She said that she was happy that the song was her own creation. To this the frog said that she needed a proper training to obtain a strong voice otherwise she would remain a beginner only. He also said that he would train her but would charge some fee. Now, the nightingale was flushed with confidence and was a huge sensation, attracting animals from miles away and the frog with a great accuracy charged all of them admission fee.

The frog began her vocal training despite of the bad and rainy weather where even the nightingale had first refused to sing. But the frog forced her to sing for six hours continuously till she was shivering and her voice had become rough and unclear. But, somehow her neck got clear the next day and she was able to sing again collecting a breathless crowd including rich ladies kings queens etc. To all this, the frog had both sweet and bitter feelings. Sweet because he was earning lots of money and bitter because of jealously as his rival was earning name and fame.

Everyday, the frog scolded her to practice even longer finding out her little mistakes like nervousness not laying more trills and frills etc. He reminded her that she still owed him sixty shillings and that s why the crowd should increase. But the condition of nightingale was getting worsened. Her tired and uninspired song could no longer attract the crowd. She could not resist this as she had become used to applause and thus had become miserable too. The heartless frog scolded her even then calling her a brainless bird. She trembled, puffed up, burst a vein and died.

The frog said that he had tried to teach her but she was foolish, nervous and tensed and moreover much prone to influence. Then, once again the frog’s fog horn started blearing unrivalled in the bog. The moral of the poem is that being inspired and influenced by someone much unknown and strange is indeed a foolish work. The nightingale could have very well judged that how could the frog with such a harsh voice be music maestro and she had to suffer for her misjudgment. Many people in the human society also try to take advantage of the innocence or ignorance of the people.

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