Gieve Patel’s poem ‘On Killing a Tree’ has a strong message. The poem wants to say that a tree is a very powerful organism. It is a living organism. It has life and feelings. The growth of a tree is no less than the growth of a human being, and the cutting down of a tree is nothing but killing a tree. The act of killing a tree is a blood-ridden business. This is an act of extreme brutality. A tree cannot be killed so easily. Man has to make a lot of violent effort to kill it. The tree tries to overcome all the bruises and wounds, all the violent attacks of man. The man continues the murderous actions until it is killed. When the tree is finally killed, a man sees it as a victory. But the irony is that humans are destroying nature that nourishes human civilization.

‘On Killing a Tree’ is an ironical poem.- Justify.

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

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?

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