The Frog and the Nightingale by Vikram Seth questions and answers

Chapter 7 the Frog and the Nightingale by Vikram Seth Answers

  1. Listed below are a few character traits of people. Some are positive qualities, while others are not. Tick mark the ones you feel are desirable qualities in a person.

Desirable traits













  1. Have you come across people who are not what they seem to be – like someone who is extremely friendly and helpful yet you are not very comfortable with him/her as you feel it is a put-on? Have a class discussion about such people and why you feel as you do.

Some people adopt traits that do not suit them. The traits that do not match your personality may make you look like a fool and give others a reason to laugh at you. It appears such people who adopt unsuitable traits do so because they do not feel confident about themselves. Many times the people who exhibit such character traits leave others feeling uncomfortable. It is just like putting on a fake attitude. People must be original in their attitude or they end up annoying others. Such people are also considered pretentious and lose their impression quickly.

  1. Before you read the poem complete the word – web with the words that we

associate with a Frog and a Nightingale.

Frog: Croak, Ugly, repulsive, loud, bad natured, despicable, annoying, insidious

Nightingale: Melodious, sweet, attractive, free, likable, innocent, winged

  1. The following is a summary of the poem but it is jumbled up. Write out the events in their correct order to form a continuous paragraph.
  1. h) A frog croaked all night in a bog, in an unpleasant voice.
  2. j) One night a nightingale began to sing in a melodious voice.

All the creatures in the bog cheered and clapped at her beautiful song.

The next night the frog introduced himself.

He offered to train the nightingale, so that she could sing even more beautifully.

Soon the nightingale became famous, and creatures from miles around came to

hear her sing.

The frog charged an admission fee, and earned a lot of money from these


But the frog made the nightingale rehearse continuously in the rain.

As a result, her voice lost its beauty, and the other creatures stopped coming to

hear her sing.

Finally the nightingale burst a vein and died. e) So the frog could sing unrivalled in the bog once more.

  1. Now that you have read the poem, add more personality traits to the word-web of the frog and the nightingale as depicted in the poem. Then complete the table given below. (Some of the words in the box below may help you. You may also use the words given in Q. 1.)
Character Extract Personality traits
Nightingale Sorry – was that you who spoke? Polite, Timorous
Frog Yes,… you see,

I’m the frog who owns this tree

In this bog I’ve long been known

For my splendid baritone.

Dominating, boastful
Nightingale Did you…did you like my song? Nervous, timid
Frog Not too bad – but far too long

The technique was fine, of course,

But it lacked a certain force.

Frog Without proper training such as I

And a few others can supply

You’ll remain a mere beginner,

But with me you’ll be a winner.

Nightingale But I can’t sing in this weather. Timid, meek, submissive
Nightingale This is a fairy tale –

And you’re Mozart in disguise

Come to earth before my eyes.

Childish, overexcited
Frog Come, my dear – we’ll sing together. Manipulative,


We must aim for better billing

You still owe me sixty shillings.

Curt, manipulative, arrogant


Brainless bird – you’re on the stage

Use your wits and follow fashion.

Puff your lungs out with your passion.

Authoritative, cruel,

Frog …I tried to teach her,

But she was a stupid creature.

Cunning, deceitful
  1. Divide yourselves into groups of four or five and brainstorm on any one of the given situations in order to create an imaginary dialogue or a comic strip. Keep in mind the characters and situations while doing so. Representatives from each group could then present the dialogues / read them to the class.
  1. The efforts made by the other creatures of the bog to still the frog’s

determination ‘to display his heart’s elation’.

Fish: Are not you annoyed by the croaking of this toad?

Crab: Oh I am so much but what do I do?

Fish: He croaks day and night and lets no one live peacefully.

Crab: Someone tried talking to him but hew is such an annoying and stubborn fellow. Listens to no one.

  1. The first time the Nightingale sings.

Crab: Who sings in such a melodious voice?

Fish: My God! I have heard such a sweet voice for the first time.

Crab: Shouldn’t we go and take a look?

Fish: Common let us find out.

  1. The nightingale is awestruck when the frog introduces himself.

Frog: Hello! I am the frog and I own this bog. I am so impressed by your  melodious singing.

Nightingale: Thank you! I am so pleased to see you.

Frog: I have great taste in music and I cannot help saying that your voice is awesome.

Nightingale: Oh really! So kind of you.

Frog: However, I am here to provide you with my valuable counsel to help you realize your potential.

Nightingale: that will be so great of you.

  1. The practice session when it is raining.

Nightingale: Oh it is raining hard. I think I should stop singing.

Frog: Come rain or thunder, you must not stop.

Nightingale: But it has become very cold and I will get sore throat if I do not stop.

Frog: You will get nothing but if you stop practicing you will never become a great singer.

  1. The nightingale is reprimanded by the frog when the box office crashes.

Frog: What has happened to you?

Nightingale: Why what happened?

Frog: People have stopped coming to listen to you. The box office has crashed.

Nightingale: I really do not know what happened.

Frog: Your song must be better the next time.

  1. On the basis of your understanding of the poem, complete the sentences given

below by choosing the appropriate option.

  1. The frog’s aim was to c. maintain his supremacy in the bog
  2. The animals reacted to the nightingale’s song with b. admiration
  3. The nightingale accepted the frog’s tutelage as she c. wanted to become a professional singer
  4. Read the stanza given below and complete the sentences by choosing the appropriate option.

The nightingale was sorrowful and pale because – she was losing confidence in herself

The audience was tired of her song because – it had become mechanical.

She no longer enjoyed singing alone as – she was now used to the appreciation she got.

  1. Answer the following questions briefly.
  1. How did the creatures of Bingle bog react to the nightingale’s singing?

Answer: The creatures of the bog had been badly bored and frustrated by the croaking of the frog. So, when the nightingale sang, it came as a pleasant change for them. They were spellbound to hear her pleasant voice. Interested they swam to the part of the bog where the nightingale was singing. They cheered her and exclaimed bravo urging her to sing more.

  1. Which are the different ways in which the frog asserts his importance?

Answer: the frog asserts his importance on the bog by singing without considering others’ convenience. The noise he makes leaves other frustrated but that does not deter him from croaking on and on.  He comes to the nightingale to assert his importance and lies to her about his interest in singing. He caj0les her and then coerces her to perform at the concert from which he makes money. Till the end he has misused her until she is dead.

  1. Why is the frog’s joy both sweet and bitter?

The frog is joyed at the prospect of earning from the nightingale’s singing but is feeling bitter inside because he cannot bear the fame and admiration that the nightingale has earned. His joy is soon going to be the sorrow of the nightingale.

  1. Why was the frog angry?

The frog was angry that the creatures of the bog were losing interest in the nightingale’s singing. The box office had crashed and his earnings were down.

  1. How did the frog become the unrivalled king of the bog again?

Through a well thought out plan the frog had killed the nightingale and now tiger was noone to rival his singing. The nightingale had burst her vein and died. Now, the frog could again sing his heart out and the creatures living in the bog would have to bear.

  1. Discuss the following questions and write the answers in your note-books.
  2. Bring out the irony in the frog’s statement – ‘Your song must be your own’.

The nightingale owns her song till she dings for everyone and for free. The second she started selling her voice in a concert the song does not remain her own. On the one side while the frog is inciting her to master the art of singing, on the other he has convinced the poor creature to sell it for penny. The frog’s statement is ironic which stresses upon the value of liberty. The nightingale’s song is her own till she sings for everyone but it is not once she starts singing for money and fame. Her song is lost when she has lost her liberty and become a puppet in the hands of the frog.

  1. Do you think the end is justified?

The end is not justified because a poor and honest creature is punished for no folly of hers. However, it is justified in the sense that it leaves a moral lesson. It provides us the lesson that we must use our own wit and not rely on others for they may be cunning.

  1. Do you think the nightingale is ‘brainless’? Give reasons for your answer

The nightingale appears an innocent creature but except that she is a good singer she lacks any strong qualities. She is simple and falls prey to the frog’s cajoling and coercion.  Till the end she keeps doing what the frog wants without being able to resist him and his orders.   She is both weak and brainless, none of which is a desired quality.

  1. Inspite of having a melodious voice and being a crowd puller, the nightingale turns

out to be a loser and dies. How far is she responsible for her own downfall?

To a large extent the nightingale is responsible for her own downfall and had not she been so meek and simple her fate might have been different. The reason that she dies is because she cannot think her own way and keeps acting as the frog likes. She causes her own downfall by submitting to the frog’s will. Moreover she grows used to admiration and fame and that is also a weakness which leads her to her poor fate.

  1. Do you agree with the Frog’s inference of the Nightingale’s character? Give

reasons for your answer.

The frog’s inference of the Nightingale’s character is right and one cannot help agreeing with it. The frog knows that despite her melodious voice the poor creature is basically blind and that she cannot see anything beyond herself. She even sings with her eyes closed and is eager for recognition and fame.

  1. The Frog and the nightingale is a spoof on the present society. Study the Mind Map given below. Divide yourselves into groups, select a box and discuss the statement given. Then present your views to the class.


How a person tries to put down another when that person is succeeding in his or her life. Our self-image is often based on what others make us believe we are. A poor self image can do irrepairable damage to us. Do you agree with this statement? Elaborate with suitable reasons and examples.

Often our self-image is influenced by the others’ perspectives and beliefs of us. As in the case of poor nightingale, despite being a better singer than the frog, she loses her life and before that her liberty. The damage done to her self-image is irreparable. She keeps growing weaker and her confidence keeps failing. The poorest thing with her is that rather than believing herself she goes on believing what the poor frog tells her. Once our self-image is maligned our confidence is affected and then our morale. If people keep telling us that you are weak or that you are not a good person we start believing it at a point.


  1. The nightingale has scaled the heights of success. But now the audience is

dwindling, the frog is unhappy and reprimands her all the time. She is mentally

and physically exhausted and fears failure. As the nightingale, write a diary entry highlighting her fears and analyzing the reasons for her failure.

Dear Diary

For last few days I am feeling quite unwell. There is no relief for me. Even the frog is behaving tyrannically with me and tried to order me around. I have been trying to analyse why people are receding from my concerts and why the crowd has keep thinning. I cannot find any reason except that my voice and my health are affected due to practicing in the rain. I think I am overworked and stressed but cannot stop because the frog would not let me. I am feeling so helpless and frustrated over this failure. My motivation is gone and I do not think I will be able to sing. I am clueless. May be Mr Frog can offer a clue.

  1. Write an obituary for the nightingale. You may begin like this: May the kind

soul……… (or you may make use of your own beginning)

May God bless the nightingale because she was a kind and innocent soul who loved singing for others! She was as kind hearted as her voice was melodious. Her voice was like a blessing for us all and we could not help feeling elated to hear her. Her singing came as a pleasant break from the monotonous life in the bog. God must have pity on her and her soul. Now that she is not among us, we cannot forget how she kept the bog alive with her pleasant voice. We will continue to miss her and pray for the well-being of her soul in the heavens. May her soul rest in peace!