The poet Gieve Patel has deep concern for the environment. In the poem, ‘On Killing a Tree, he treats trees as living organisms. He observes that man’s greed and selfishness cause destruction of trees. So he raises his voice against reckless felling of trees. The images of violence that the poet uses in the poem show the poet’s genuine love for trees. Words and expressions such as ‘a simple jab of the knife ‘hack and chop ‘pain, ‘bleeding bark, ‘most sensitive highlight the poet’s heartfelt sympathy for trees. As a sensitive poet, Gieve Patel describes the killing of a tree in such a vivid manner as to evoke our sympathy for trees. Thus the poem denounces man’s callousness towards the trees.

What is the message of the poem ‘On Killing a Tree’ according to you? Explain.

‘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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