This story about a frightening incident is narrated in a humorous way. What makes it humorous? (Think of the contrasts it presents between dreams and reality. Some of them are listed below.)

1. (i) The kind of person the doctor is (money, possessions)

(ii) The kind of person he wants to be (appearance, ambition)

2. (i) The person he wants to marry

(ii) The person he actually marries

3. (i) His thoughts when he looks into the mirror

(ii) His thoughts when the snake is coiled around his arm

Write short paragraphs on each of these to get your answer.

What makes this frightening story humourous is the interspersion of humourous and witty comments in the narration. Besides, the presentation of contrasts between dreams and reality also contribute to the humour element in the story. Some such contrasts are discussed below.

1. There is a visible discrepancy between the lifestyle of the doctor and his high opinion of himself. Even with a meagre income and modest living condition, he considers himself an eligible bachelor. He is extremely proud of his looks and profession. The special attention that he lays on his looks—on his moustache, hair and smile—to look handsome brings in the element of humour in the story.

2. There is also a contradiction between the kind of wife the doctor aspires for and the lady he finally marries. The doctor wants to marry a rich woman doctor. He also wants his wife to be fat, who would not be able to catch hold of him if someday he does something silly and has to run away from her. But, contrary to his wishes, he ends up getting married to a slim lady who could run like a “sprinter”.

3. When the doctor looks into the mirror, he is full of admiration for himself and thinks of ways to make his self more appealing. He decides to shave daily and keep a thin moustache. He regards his smile quite attractive and resolves to smile always. But, when the snake is coiled around his arm, he smiles for a different reason. This time it is at his foolishness and stupidity, as he did not have any medicines for snakebite. Perhaps he realises the futility of his vanity.

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