a tiger in the zoo
The tiger moves up and down of his cage. The stripes on his body are of strong bright colour. The tiger moves quietly on his velvet pads. He is full of rage but is quiet. (because he knows that he is helpless here.)
Explanation of stanza 2
Looking at the imprisoned tiger, the poet is filled with pity. He says that the poor tiger should have been in his natural habitat. Then at this point of the night ,he would have been lying in the shadows of trees and sliding quietly through the long grass. There, near the water hole, he would be waiting for some fat deer to pass that way. Thus he would be lying there in expectation of a heavy feast.
Explanation of stanza 3
Here the poet imagines what the tiger would be doing in case he failed to find any prey in his natural habitat. He says that the tiger would be growling at the edge of jungle near some village. He would be showing his white fangs and claws while moving here and there. He would thus become a cause of terror for the villagers. The poetess here gives a hint that if we destroy the natural habitat of tigers, they will be forced to turn to our towns and villages to find their food.
Explanation of stanza 4
The poet sees the tiger logged in a concrete cell in the zoo. In spite of all his strength, he now lies imprisoned behind the bars. Very slowly and silently, he moves up and down along the length of the cage. He takes no note of the visitors who come to the zoo to have a look at him.
Explanation of stanza 5
The tiger knows no rest during the day because of the visitors. Even at night he remains disturbed due to the noise of the patrolling cars. He keeps staring at the brilliant stars with his brilliant eyes. Perhaps he is asking heaven why he has been imprisoned there.
This poem contrasts a tiger when it is in its natural habitat and when it is imprisoned in a zoo. On a starry night, the poet sees a tiger in a zoo. The tiger moves slowly up and down in his cage. He is full of rage but is quiet in his helplessness. The poet is moved to pity for the tiger. He says that the tiger should have been in the jungle. He should have been moving quietly in the shadows near some water hole, and waiting for a plump deer to pass that way. But sadly he is locked behind bars in a concrete cell. He does not take any notice of the visitors and is looking at the brilliant stars with his brilliant eyes. Now he has to be content with merely looking at the stars .He is no longer free to move in his natural habitat and look at the brilliant stars from there .
short questions & answers
Q1: ‘He stalks in his vivid stripes.’How does the tiger look in his cage?
A: The tiger has sharp ,clear stripes on his body .He looks majestic as he moves slowly and quietly in his cage .He has soft velvety pads .He makes no noise as he moves. He has brilliant shining eyes.
Q2: ‘On pads of velvet quiet /in his quiet rage, what does the tiger do in his cage?
A: It is a very small cage.The tiger can hardly take a few steps along the length of the cage .He doesn’t take any notice of the visitors who come there. With his shining eyes, he keeps looking at the bright stars.
Q3: ‘He should be lurking in the shadows /sliding through long grass ‘what should the tiger be doing if he were in the jungle?
A: The tiger would be lurking in the shadows of trees. He would be sliding slowly through the long grass .He would be sitting by some water hole and waiting for some plump deer to pass that way.
Q4: ‘He should be snarling around houses /at the jungle’s edge’ what should the tiger be doing if he were at the edge of the jungle?
A: The tiger would be moving around the houses in a nearby village .he would be growling while moving around .the sight of his white fangs and his terrible claws would fill the villagers with terror.
Q5: ‘Stalking the length of his cage /ignoring visitors’ that is the tiger doing? Why is he ignoring the visitors?
A: The tiger is moving along the length of the cage slowly and quietly. He sees that he visitors keep coming and going .None of them thinks of releasing him from his prison .The tiger sees that all of them are fellows of without feeling .So he stops taking any notice of them .
Q6: ‘And stares with his brilliant eyes / at the brilliant stars ‘ Why do you think the tiger looks at the stars?
A: The tiger has lost all hope from men .now he has hope from heaven only .it is this hope that has kept the brilliance in his eyes .that is why the tiger looks at the brilliant stars with his brilliant eyes .
text book questions & answers
Q1: Read the poem again,and work in pairs or groups to do the
following tasks. Find the words that describe the movements and actions of the tiger in the cage and in the wild .Arrange them in two columns.
IN THE CAGE IN THE WILD
1.Stalks in his quiet rage 1.Lurking in the shadow
2.stalking in the length of his cage 2.Sliding through long grass
3.ignoring visitors 3.Snarling around houses
4.hears the last voice of patrolling cars 4.Baring his white fangs
5.stares at the stars 5.Terrorising the village
Q3: Find the words that describe the two places,and arrange them in two columns.
IN THE WILD IN THE CAGE
Lurking in shadows Few steps of his cage
long grass, water hole locked
plump deer concrete cell
jungle’s edge. bars visitors
Q.2 Notice the use of a word repeated in lines such as these .
(i)On pads of velvet quiet In his quiet rage.
(ii)And stars with his brilliant eyes
At the brilliant stars .
What do you think is the effect is this repetition ?
A: The repetition increases the intensity of the tiger’s rage and his helpless silence .
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