A tree grows slowly by consuming the earth’s nutrients. It absorbs sunlight, air and water for years. Leaves come out of its bark. So neither a jab nor hacking and chopping can kill a full-grown tree. Even if it is cut with powerful and cruel strokes, it feels pain but does not die. Its bleeding bark heals itself. Its trunk, from close to the ground, produces green twigs and small branches. Gradually, if unchecked, it grows to its former size. In order to kill a tree, it is to be uprooted from the anchoring earth. Its life-supporting root is to be removed from the earth. Then, in sun and air, it is scorched and choked. Finally, it goes through a process of browning, hardening, twisting and withering. Thus, ultimately the tree is killed.

The poem ‘On Killing a Tree’ is a moving description of man’s insensible destruction of trees. Trees are our good friends and generous helpers. But, out of selfish greed, man kills trees for temporary gain. Man does not care for its contribution to the growth of human civilization. Nor does man think about his own existence on earth. He ignores its aesthetic and environmental value. He adopts violent methods for killing a tree. This insensible act of killing a tree may bring about a serious environmental problem and put the whole civilization at risk. Therefore, it is our duty to love and protect trees for the continuity of our own existence.

Justify the title of the poem “On Killing a Tree.”

Give the central idea of the poem ‘On Killing a Tree.’

“Not a simple jab of the knife/Will do it.”—What does the phrase ‘a simple jab of the knife’ mean? Why can’t a simple jab of the knife ‘do it’?

“It has grown / Slowly consuming the earth,”—Bring out the significance of this line.

“But this alone won’t do it.” What is ‘it’? What alone won’t do it? Why?

“And out of its leprous hide/ Sprouting leaves.”—What does the expression ‘leprous hide refer to? What does ‘its leprous hide’ bear? Bring out the irony suggested here.

“And the strength of the tree exposed.”—Where does this line occur? What is described as the strength of the tree’? How is it exposed?

“No, The root is to be pulled out.” – Why has the word ‘No’ been used? How is the pulling out of the root related to the killing of the tree?

“And then it is done.”-Explain how it is done.

“The source, white and wet,/The most sensitive, hidden/ For years inside the earth.”—How does the poet describe the source and its functions?

“Why it is not quite easy to kill a tree?

How does a tree grow? What are the different stages to kill it?

Describe in detail the growth of the tree in the first stanza.

How does the tree heal itself?

What does the killing of a tree symbolise?

Why does it take “much time to kill a tree”? How is the tree finally killed?

“It takes much time to kill a tree, “—Why doe it take much time to kill a tree? According to the poet, how is the tree finally killed?

How does a tree offer resistance to its destruction? How does its resistance fail?

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