Questions and Answers from “Night of the Scorpion” by Nissim Ezekiel

1. What did the scorpion do?

Ans. The scorpion concealed itself under a rice-bag as it was raining heavily outside for 10 hours. Then get the chance, it injected its venomous poison into the blood of the poet’s mother and left the shelter. But, its effects did not remain a bearable one to an old lady. The poet’s mother was screaming feeling endless agony. Her senses were paralysed by the scorpion’s poison, and she felt wordless pain. She was tossing in bed from one side to another in the pain of indescribable sufferings.

2. What attitude of the peasants do you get in Ezekiel’s poem?

Ans. Hearing the poet’s mother’s screaming, the neighbouring came running to her house and tried a frantic effort to spot out the whereabouts of the scorpion. But, they were superstitious and religious minded. They told that keeping unflinching faith in God; such troubles can be overcome. They also said the mother’s sufferings in the next life will be reduced for extra suffering in this life. Then the neighbours licked the path on which the scorpion had gone away. They also asserted, if the insect remained still, then the mother’s trouble would be relieved during that night. It is crystal clear that they always retain their firm belief in some supernatural power.

3. What was the difference in the poet’s father?

Ans. The poet’s father was a believer in science, and therefore, he was not at all moved by the sacred rites of the peasants. He attempted different medicines to mitigate the agony of his wife. He poured some kerosene on the injured part of her toe and then fired it to burn the poison quickly. Indeed, he was not at all unscientific in his attitude. He was out and out a rationalist and had a reasonable approach towards the possible hazards of life.

4. What was the reaction of the mother after her recovery?

Ans. The poet’s mother recovered from the wordless pain caused by the biting of the scorpion after 24 hours. After her relief, she expressed her holy wishes to God because it was her fortune that not her children but that scorpion stung her. The poet felt the nobility of his mother and realised the universal affection that is the only property of all the ladies in this universe is not absent in his mother who wants to die herself in exchange of her children’s lives.

5. Describe the nature of the peasants.

Ans. The peasants are superstitious by birth. But they have some superb qualities which make them uncommon. They are unselfish and cordial to their neighbours. To them, the pain of a neighbour is too much to bear. They come to help their neighbours at all times. They are not friends of good times only. While they heartily attempt to solve the troubles of anyone, at the same time they keep their unprecedented faith in the all-powerful power of God. They try to overcome any problem maintaining faith in God.