On Killing a Tree | |broad questions and answers, class 12

(The poem On killing a tree by Gieve Patel criticizes cruel activity of human being on nature. )

on killing a tree by Gieve Patel poem | Discussion on title

1) Justify the title of the poem ” On Killing a Tree” .

Ans: In the poem” On Killing a Tree ” Indian poet Gieve Patel gives a detailed description of how a tree gradually grows taking nutrients from earth and ultimately becomes a victim of man’s cruelty.

Through the present title the poet curtly insults the human being for their carelessness to mother nature.

Throughout the whole poem the poet vividly depicts the process of killing a full-grown tree step by step. Not a simple jab of knife can kill a tree.

We have to hack and chop the tree. But these are also not enough to kill a tree. In order to kill a tree , it has to be uprooted from the anchoring earth.

Lastly the uprooted tree is to be exposed to the sun and air for scorching and choking. Then it dies being hardened, twisted and withered.

The title is here used ironically. Through the title the poet hates the greedy and selfish man who does not hesitate a little to destroy nature after enjoying all benifits from it. Here the title is apt and just.

On killing a tree by Gieve Patel poem| Quoted lines from the poem

2) “Not a simple jab of knife/ Will do it. “—- What is’ it ‘ ? Why will not a simple jab of knife do it ? What according to the poet is the right way to kill a poet ? 1+2+3

Ans: It refers to the process of killing a tree.

The tree has grown slowly consuming essence from the earth. It has absorbed sunlight ,air and water for years.

Out of its leprous hide , the tree has sprouted green leaves to give itself a complete shape. As the tree has taken its necessary nutrients from upon the crust of the earth for many years, it is well- rooted. So only a simple jab of knife will not be able to kill a tree.

According to the poet, for killing a tree, its roots are to be pulled out from the anchoring earth.

The tree is to roped and tied and snapped out entirely from the earth- cave. As a result of it, the most sensitive white and wet source i.e the roots which were hidden for years inside the earth will be exposed.

Then the exposed roots along with all green branches and leaves must be left in sun and air for scorching and choking.

Thus all parts of the tree get hardened, twisted and withered and ultimately the tree dies.

3) “And out of its leprous hide—” What does ‘ hide ‘ refer to ? Why is it called ‘ leprous ‘? How is the tree finally killed ? 1+2+3

In the quoted line the word ” hide ” refers to the bark or skin of the tree.

The poet uses the term ” leprous ” to describe the bark . The adjective “leprous” indicates that the skin of the tree is rough and uneven.

Here we find a similarity between the skin of a leprosy patient and the bark of the tree.

The tree is finally killed by applying a planned process. After hacking and chopping the root of the tree is pulled out from the anchoring earth.

When it is snapped out entirely from the earth-cave , the strength of the tree is exposed –the most sensitive white and wet source of the tree.

Now the uprooted tree is left in the sun and air . Gradually it is choked and dried and finally it is killed.

4) “But this alone won’t do it ” —What is ‘ this ‘ ? What happens as a result of ‘ this ‘ ? Why won’t ‘ this ‘ alone do it ? 1+2+3

The above line has been taken from the poem “On Killing a Tree ” by Gieve Patel. Here ‘this’ refers to hacking and chopping a tree.
As a result of ‘this’ the tree gets much pain. It bleeds from the bark of the tree.

But hacking and chopping can alone kill a tree. So much pain will not be able to kill it. The bleeding bark gradually heals itself .

The curled green twigs will rise again from close to the ground. If it is left unchecked the tree will gain again a complete shape.

The miniature boughs will expand to former size. So hacking and chopping ‘alone won’t do it’ .

5) “Which if unchecked will expand again” —What is referred to as ‘which’ ? Into what will it expand again? How is the life-force of the tree described in the poem ” On Killing a Tree” ? 1+1+4

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