Gieve Patel’s poem ‘On Killing a Tree records the poet’s genuine love for nature. It presents his deep concern for indiscriminate felling of trees. The tree consumes nutrients from the earth and absorbs sunlight, air and water for years. Thus, the tree grows slowly. It is also a generous helper. But in return, it has to suffer much. It struggles for existence because of man’s cruelty. Hacking and chopping do not kill it. It bleeds and feels pain. Then it heals itself naturally. It produces new twigs and develops into a full-grown tree again. But it has to finally surrender to man’s selfish greed when it is uprooted. Thus the poem focuses on the irony of the killing of a benefactor by its beneficiary.

Justify the appropriateness of the title of the poem, ‘On Killing a Tree’.

The poem, ‘On Killing a Tree’, describes man’s cruelty and violence to nature.-Discuss.

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

The substance of the Poem ‘On Killing a Tree’

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?

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