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Night of the Scorpion is a poem by Nissim Ezekiel, in which the poet uses Indian English, to bring out Indian culture and ideology

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Night of the Scorpion 14/05/12 Mannat Sehgal ________________ ?Night of the Scorpion? is a poem by Nissim Ezekiel, in which the poet uses Indian English, to bring out Indian culture and ideology. Ezekiel uses a style known as ?Poetry of Situation? to depict the typical maternal reaction of selflessness on being bitten by the Scorpion ? ?Thank God the scorpion picked on me and spared my children?. This essay will explore how the poet?s use of various poetic devices and colloquial language enable him to bring out the Indian belief system and values. Ezekiel begins his poem on a very non-judgemental note. In the beginning of the poem, we see the scorpion portrayed as a mere victim of circumstances as the poet explains ?ten hours of steady rain had driven him to crawl beneath a sack of rice?. With this, Ezekiel shows a connection with nature as he is able to point out nature as the driving force behind such occurrences, showing it as a supreme force. ...read more.


On the surface, the poet uses a detached tone, simply narrating the events as and when they take place; however, there is an underlying tone of sarcasm for the main part of the poem, which has been separated from the last three lines. Ezekiel breathlessly narrates the action-filled part of the poem, without any attached emotions after which he sensitively presents his mother?s sacrificing nature in the last three lines of the poem. Before this point, there is much repetition through which the poet establishes an impatient tone as he is able to list some typical Indian superstitions one after the other and apply them to every situations with the use of crisp metaphors. The use of enjambment throughout this part of the poem also makes it seem like a long list- ?More candles, more lanterns, more neighbours? more insects, and the endless rain?. With these words Ezekiel clubs the ?insects?, ?neighbours? together, giving them equal importance. This seems to bring out the Indian belief that all forms of life are equal as our existence is defined by nothing more than the karma which relates all life forms. ...read more.


The tone changes from negative and mechanical to a more positive, hopeful one with the presence of light- ?flame feeding?. The last five lines of the poem are distinct from the previous block of the poem as it is the only part of the poem that does not involve the use of enjambment, and instead comprises of short lines that are read more slowly due to a decreased pace. These last five lines perfectly capture the Indian mother?s ideology-?Thank God the scorpion picked on me and spared my children?-bringing out the richness of Indian culture. Ezekiel writes these last lines with a tone of pride and amazement as he witnesses complete selflessness-?My mother only said?. In his poem, Ezekiel uses many vivid images to portray different moods, as they keep changing throughout the poem. He constantly includes symbols of ?darkness? and ?light? in his poem, referring to elements of nature and the universe to bring out themes of spirituality such as karma. The episodic structure of the poem becomes the writer?s main tool as he is able to illustrate various cultural aspects through the use of symbolism and dialogue. ...read more.

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