Class 10 Literature Reader


W. W. E. Ross


This poem is about a snake who is trying to escape being hit by a stick. It is quite human to hit a snake or run away from it, because for most of the human being a snake means a very dangerous animal which can kill in one bite.

The snake is small and green and is harmless even to children. The snake was lying on the sand till it was observed by someone. When the person tries to hit the snake, the snake turns its body into beautiful curves and tries to escape from the onslaught. The snake is trying to run away through the water. While doing so, it creates beautiful ripples in water and vanishes into green slim reeds as if mixing its green slender body with the green slim reeds.

Snake by D. H. Lawrence


This poem is about a human beings respect for an animal; which is quite strange because most of us just get scared at the sight of a snake. The narrator has gone to the water trough to fetch water to drink. He observes a strange visitor at the water trough; a snake. Because of his highly developed civic sense, the narrator prefers to allow the snake to quench its thirst because the snake was the first in the queue. The snake silently drinks water and observes the narrator intermittently.

The snake appeared to be poisonous and the narrator instant reaction was the thought to kill the snake. But the real human inside the narrator wanted to treat the snake as some guest who had come to his water trough. The narrator enjoyed the beautiful creation of nature. Finally, when the snake was about to disappear into a dark hole, the narrator clumsily picks up a stick hits the water puddle to create some clatter. The snake quickly disappears inside the dark womb of the earth. Having thrown the stick, the narrator feels guilty the way the Ancient Mariner felt when he killed the albatross. The narrator is left with a sense of pity for himself.

Multiple Choice Questions:

‘he lifted his head from his drinking as cattle do’ – The poet wants to convey that the snake

  1. Is domesticated
  2. Is innocent
  3. Is as harmless as cattle
  4. Drinks water just like cattle

    Answer: (c) Is as harmless as cattle

‘Sicilian July’, ‘Etna smoking’ and ‘burning bowels of the earth’ are images that convey that

  1. There are snakes in volcanic areas
  2. The poet lived in a hot area
  3. It was a really hot day when the snake came
  4. Sicilian snakes are dangerous

    Answer: (c) It was a really hot day when the snake came

‘A sort of horror, a sort of protest overcame me’ - The poet is filled with protest because

  1. He doesn’t want to let the snake remain alive
  2. He fears the snake
  3. He doesn’t want the snake to recede into darkness
  4. He wants to kill it so that it doesn’t return

    Answer: (c) He doesn’t want the snake to recede into darkness

In the line “And as he slowly drew up, snake-easing his shoulder, and entered farther’ the phrase snake easing his shoulders means

  1. Loosening its shoulders
  2. Slipping in with majestic grace
  3. Moving slowly
  4. Moving fast

    Answer: (b) Slipping in with majestic grace

‘He seemed to me like a king in exile’ The poet refers to the snake as such to emphasize that the snake

  1. Like a king enduring banishment
  2. Is like a king due to be crowned
  3. Is a majestic king who came for while on earth
  4. Is a majestic creature forced to go into exile by man

    Answer: (a) Like a king enduring banishment

‘I thought how paltry, how vulgar, what a mean act’ – The poet is referring to

  1. The snake going into the dreadful hole
  2. The accursed modern education
  3. The act of throwing a log of wood at the snake
  4. The act of killing the snake

    Answer: (c) The act of throwing a log of wood at the snake