CBSE Class 10 English Literature Reader Summary Chapter 8 Mirror

In the chapter “Mirror” from the CBSE Class 10 English Literature Reader, the speaker is a mirror who reflects the emotions and thoughts of the people who look into it. The mirror reflects a woman’s face and the woman, in turn, examines her reflection closely. The speaker describes the woman’s face as “unmisted by love or dislike,” which implies that the woman is indifferent towards her appearance. The woman looks at her reflection every day and often turns to candles and moonlight to enhance her appearance.

As the woman ages, her perception of herself changes, and she is no longer pleased with what she sees. She is reminded of the cruel reality of aging and how it has transformed her appearance. The mirror, on the other hand, is objective and reflects the woman’s true self, which is in contrast to the woman’s subjective perception of herself. In the end, the woman realizes that the mirror is truthful and accepts the reality of her aging appearance.

The chapter “Mirror” explores the themes of aging, beauty, and truth. The mirror serves as a metaphor for the objective truth that often contradicts our subjective perception of ourselves.

Overall, the chapter “Mirror” highlights the importance of self-acceptance and the need to come to terms with the reality of aging.

Note: The above summary is a brief overview of the chapter and may not include all the details and nuances of the story.

CBSE Class 10 English Literature Reader Summary & Important Questions Chapter 8 Mirror

Summary of Chapter 8 Mirror: The poem ‘Mirror’ is about a mirror that speaks to the person looking at it. The mirror says that it is not cruel, only truthful. It shows the woman looking at herself in the morning and then again at night. The mirror reflects the truth, which is that the woman is aging and becoming less attractive. The woman is upset by this, and she wants to be able to escape from the mirror’s truth. The second half of the poem is from the point of view of the mirror, looking back at the woman who has grown old and gray. The mirror states that it has been faithful to her, but now she is no longer beautiful and it reflects her truthfully.

Important Questions Chapter 8 Mirror:

  1. What is the poem ‘Mirror’ about?
  2. How does the mirror describe itself in the poem?
  3. What does the woman see when she looks into the mirror?
  4. How does the woman feel about what she sees in the mirror?
  5. What does the mirror reveal about the woman in the second half of the poem?
  6. How has the woman changed over time according to the mirror?
  7. Why does the woman want the mirror to lie to her?
  8. What is the message of the poem ‘Mirror’?
  9. What literary device is used in the line “I am silver and exact. I have no preconceptions”?
  10. How does the poem ‘Mirror’ convey the theme of aging?

CBSE Class 10 English Literature Reader Important Questions Answers Chapter 8 Mirror

Who or what is the speaker of the poem in ‘Mirror’?
Answer: The speaker of the poem in ‘Mirror’ is a mirror.

What does the mirror say it is and what does it do?
Answer: The mirror says that it is silver-coloured and exact, it doesn’t lie, it swallows whatever it sees and reflects everything without any preconceptions.

What is the “terrible fish”?
Answer: The “terrible fish” is a metaphor for the ageing process and mortality.

What is the connection between the mirror and the woman?
Answer: The woman is constantly looking at the mirror to check her appearance, and she is also ageing and growing old, which the mirror reflects.

Why does the woman cry and why does the mirror ‘meditate on the opposite wall’?
Answer: The woman cries because she sees her old age and the wrinkles that are beginning to appear on her face. The mirror “meditates on the opposite wall” because it is unable to console the woman or make her feel better about her appearance.

What does the phrase “the eye of a little god” suggest about the mirror?
Answer: The phrase “the eye of a little god” suggests that the mirror has the ability to see and reflect everything, and has a power similar to that of a god.

What does the woman do to the mirror at the end of the poem?
Answer: The woman reaches out and tries to touch the mirror, but it remains unresponsive and continues to reflect her true image back to her.

What is the theme of the poem ‘Mirror’?
Answer: The theme of the poem ‘Mirror’ is the idea of self-image and the relationship between appearance and reality, as well as the passage of time and the inevitability of ageing and death.

CBSE Class 10 English Literature Reader Important Questions Answers MCQs Chapter 8 Mirror

What is the central theme of the poem “Mirror” by Sylvia Plath?
a) Reflections of life and death
b) Beauty and vanity
c) Love and loss
d) The struggle of self-acceptance

Answer: d) The struggle of self-acceptance

What does the mirror in the poem symbolize?
a) A reflection of the physical self
b) The narrator’s perception of beauty
c) A distorted reality
d) All of the above

Answer: d) All of the above

What is the mood of the poem “Mirror”?
a) Hopeful
b) Melancholic
c) Romantic
d) Humorous

Answer: b) Melancholic

What does the phrase “unmisted by love or dislike” mean in the context of the poem?
a) The mirror does not have the ability to feel emotions
b) The mirror reflects the true physical self without bias
c) The mirror does not have the ability to form opinions
d) The mirror is incapable of showing anything but reality

Answer: b) The mirror reflects the true physical self without bias

How does the poem “Mirror” convey the theme of the struggle of self-acceptance?
a) The mirror provides a clear reflection of the narrator’s physical self, leading to self-doubt and insecurity
b) The mirror’s unbiased reflection forces the narrator to confront her true self and come to terms with her flaws
c) The mirror represents society’s expectations of beauty and perfection, causing the narrator to feel inadequate
d) The mirror reflects the narrator’s inner turmoil and struggle to accept herself, leading to a sense of hopelessness

Answer: b) The mirror’s unbiased reflection forces the narrator to confront her true self and come to terms with her flaws

NCERT Solutions for Class 10 English Literature Reader Chapter 8 Mirror

TextBook Questions

Question 1.
In pairs discuss the following questions :
(a) When do you generally use a mirror?
(b) Is a mirror essential for us?
(c) Given below is a list of possible reasons why a person uses a mirror.

Tick (✓) the ones you agree with :
(i) to check one’s appearance
(ii) to look beautiful
(iii) to make sure one is neat and tidy before going out.
(iv) to check for a pimple or a grey hair
(v) to apply make-up
(vi) to make a phone call
(vii) as a decorative item at home.
(a) We generally use a mirror to see our reflection while getting ready for office or going out.
(b) Yes, a mirror is essential for us to make our appearance better.
(c) (i), (iii),(iv), (v), (vii)

Question 2.
On the basis of your understanding of the poem, answer the following questions by ticking the correct choice.
(a) When the mirror is being described as being ‘unmisted by love or dislike’ we understand that the mirror is ……….
(i) not misted
(ii) not prejudiced
(iii) has four angles
(iv) is silver in colour.
(ii) not prejudiced

(b) The other word for ‘contemplation’ is……..
(i) contempt
(ii) meditation
(iii) mediation
(ii) meditation

(c) When the mirror says ‘it has no preconceptions’ it means that ………..
(i) it reflects back an image objectively
(ii) it modifies an image as it reflects it
(iii) it beautifies an image as it reflects it
(iv) it gives a biased view of a person/object
(i) it reflects back an image objectively

(d) The mirror has been called ‘a four-cornered god’ because ……………..
(i) it is square shaped
(ii) like God it watches you unbiased and fair from all four angles
(iii) it reflects back all that it sees
(iv) it never stops reflecting
(ii) like God it watches you unbiased and fair from all four angles

(e) The ‘speckles’ refer to …………….
(i) a pink object
(ii) the opposite wall which has spots on it
(iii) a person with pink pimples
(iv) pink spots in general
(ii) the opposite wall which has spots on it

(f) The phrase ‘agitation of the hand’ suggests that the person is ……………
(i) very ill
(ii) very upset
(iii) very angry
(iv)very happy
(ii) very upset

(g) By saying ‘Now I am a lake’ the narrator wants to show that ………………….
(i) the poem is not only about external beauty but also the inside of a person
(ii) the lake can also reflect surfaces
(iii) the depth of the lake is important
(iv) the lake does not show as exact an image as a mirror
(ii) the lake can also reflect surfaces

Question 3.
Answer the following questions briefly
(a) What is the poetic device used when the mirror says ‘I swallow’?
The poetic device used here is personification.

(b) How does the mirror usually pass its time?
Mirror usually passes its time by meditating on the opposite wall.

(c) What disturbs the mirror’s contemplation of the opposite wall?
Faces and darkness disturb the mirrors contemplation of the opposite wall.

(d) Why does the mirror appear to be a lake in the second stanza? What aspect of the mirror do you think is being referred to here?
The mirror appears to be a lake because the lake can reflect surfaces. The mirror displays the true and objective images as it is truthful.

(e) What is the woman searching for in the depths of the lake?
The woman is searching for her reflection, her face.

(f) How does the narrator convey the fact that the woman looking at her reflection in the lake is deeply distressed?
The woman is weeping, has tears and is upset. She is also showing her protest with agitation of hands.

(g) What makes the woman start crying?
The woman starts crying because she is not happy with her image reflected by the lake.

(h) What do you think the ‘terrible fish’ in the last line symbolizes? What is the poetic device used here ?
The ‘terrible image’ symbolises the old, worn out face of the woman. The poetic device ‘Simile’ is used here

Question 4.
Read the poem silently and answer the following questions:
(a) List out the adjectives that have been used to describe the mirror. Add a few more adjectives to the list.
silver, exact, unbiased, unmisted by love or dislike, not cruel, truthful, eye of a little god, four- cornered, meditator The mirror is used as a human. So the word ‘swallow’ has been used.

(b) In the second stanza why has the narrator replaced the mirror with a lake? What is he/she trying to focus on?
The poet has done so because the lake also reflects images as the mirror does. The woman is not happy with her image told by mirror, so she has turned to the lake. She is trying to focus on the fact that a woman cannot accept the fact she has aged and does not look as charming as in her young age.

Question 5.
Find the various instances of personification used in this poem.
Instances of personification in the poem.

Question 6.
Read the given lines and answer the questions that follow by ticking the correct choice :
A woman bends over me,
Searching my reaches for what she really is.
Then she turns to those liars, the candles or the moon.
(a) What is the woman bending over?
(i) the mirror
(ii) the lake
(iii) the opposite wall
(iv) the moon and the candles.
(ii) the lake

(b) Why have the candles and the moon been called ‘liars’?
(i) because they make people beautiful
(ii) they hide the blemishes of people with their soft light
(iii) they hide the blemishes and make people look beautiful in their soft glow
(iv) they can’t talk.
(iii) they hide the blemishes and make people look beautiful in their soft glow

(c) Why does she turn to them in spite of calling them ‘liars’?
(i) the reality is too harsh for her to bear
(ii) she is desperately looking for someone to comfort her
(iii) she wants to be told that she is still beautiful
(iv)she can hide her signs of graying in their light.
(ii) she is desperately looking for someone to comfort her

Question 7.
Imagine you are the mirror. Write a speech that you would like to deliver to the humans who come to see their reflection in you. You could begin like this ……
Good Morning dear humans
I feel honoured to have been given the opportunity to express my feelings and share my thoughts with you. As you know, all my life is spent in faithfully reflecting all that comes before my eyes …..
………. I’m as pure as silver and reflect the images objectively. Nobody can blame me to be biased or being affected by any sort of like or dislike as I’m same for everbody. I want people to take me as truthful and not cruel as I reflect the same image as it is. I treat everybody in the same way because I am like god’s eye and am four cornered. As god looks after the people on earth with the same love and affection from all the four directions, I also give out the same treatment.

A wall is placed opposite me who is like my close companion. I keep looking at her all the time and she has become part of my life. Nobody can separate us except for some faces and darkness, she keeps looking at me and anybody can see the wall into me. This friend of mine is painted in pink and has got some spots of pink colour.

I am also compared with a lake which also reflects the image. A woman bends over it and tries to find her face in the depth of water. But she does not find clear image of her face and becomes distressed. Therefore, she takes the help of moon and candles who can give her temporary glow but cannot change the reality. I am a testimony to how she has grown from a young girl to an old woman. With each passing day the mirror reveals that she is ageing.

Question 8.
Here is another poem on mirror. The narrator calls the mirror a ‘fibber’. How is this poem different from the poem by Sylvia Plath ? Have a class discussion on the comparison in terms of the theme, the tone and the language used.


Mirror, mirror, on the wall,
Can’t you show me tall and slim?
Mirror, mirror, on the wall,
Must I look so bloody grim?
Mirror, mirror, on the wall,
You’re distorting my poor waist!
Mirror, mirror, on the wall,
And why the heck am I defaced?
Mirror, mirror, on the wall,
Why have I a double chin?
Mirror, mirror, on the wall,
And what’s the stupid, goofy grin?
Mirror, mirror, on the wall,
Pointless asking ‘Who’s the fairest?
More bloody likely,,‘Who’s the queerest?
Now look, I paid a big bucks for thee,
So why can’t you be nice to me?
Mirror, mirror, on the wall.
Who’s the fairest of them all?
Me, you say? Ah, that’s better
Mirror, mirror, bloody fibber!

Poem by Sylvia PlathAnother poem on mirror
• Appearances• Self-realisation
• Transiency of time• Denial
• Transformation• Self-pity
• Realisation of truth
• Somebre• Humorous
• Unbiased• Complaining
• Unprejudiced• Obsessive
• Figurative (metaphor, personification)• Sarcastic

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