Night of the Scorpion: A Summary
Nissim Ezekiel is a great Indo-Anglican poet. Versatility is the outstanding characteristic of his poetry. His poetry portrays the social aspect of India with humanistic strain. He has experimented endlessly with form and craft. Flawless craftsmanship makes his poetry unique.
'Night of the Scorpion' is a brilliant poem by Nissim Ezekiel. It has been taken from poet's famous anthology named 'The Exact Name'. Here the poet has presented a vivid and authentic picture of rural India. The poem juxtaposes the two worlds of superstition and scientific temperament. The narrator presents the psychological picture of his mother, father and villagers in the poem. It exposes the illiteracy, ignorance and blind faith prevalent in the country. This poem ends with a typical comment of narrator's mother who feels relief that her children were spread of suffering.
'Night of the Scorpion' has a dramatic beginning. The author reminds the night when his mother was stung by a scorpion. A large number of villagers assembled to sympathize with the victim. They uttered the name of God to provide her relief. With the help of their lanterns they tried to search for the scorpion but in vain. They offered many views on the situation. The narrator's father was different from the superstitious villagers. He was a skeptic. He tried every herb to give relief to his wife. A priest uttered mantras to relieve the woman of her pain. After twenty four hours the narrator's mother got complete relief. She thanked God for the safety of her children.
The most striking feature of this poem is the contrast between the superstitious view of the villagers and the rationalistic attitude of narrator's father. The imagery of the poem is vivid and varied. the scorpion becomes a symbol of evil. The streak of irony runs through the whole poem. The poem has the essence of free verse. It has its own rhythms. In short, 'Night of the Scorpion' is undoubtedly an excellent poem-realistic, dramatic and lyrical. It has plenty of vivid imagery and it possesses a narrative interest.
Thus, 'Night of the Scorpion' is a fantastic poem by Ezekiel who is a versatile Indo-Anglican poet. It is he who has prepared grand path for the new poets. He has made a valuable contribution to stylistic felicities in Indo-Anglican poetry.