A Tiger in the Zoo- Central Idea of the Poem & Style

A Tiger in the Zoo

ByLeslie Norris

Plot/ Theme / Central Idea of the Lesson/ Literary Analysis of A Tiger in the Zoo/ Main Idea

The tiger is a proud creature. It is a shame that such a powerful, agile and untamable animal should be caged in a zoo. In his natural and wild habitat, he doesn’t need the help of any kind to hunt its own food. His hunting of deer at the water hole may seem rather cruel. He hunts not for pleasure but for food. His presence in the natural habitat is necessary to maintain the balance of the food chain. Sometimes, the tiger may stray into human habitation. He only displays his strength and ferociousness. But he doesn’t harm anyone till he is provoked.
Even in the cage, he ignores all those who come to the zoo to see him as entertainment. Like human beings, the tiger too loves and values his freedom. He shows his anger, hatred and even defiance by walking about in rage in his cage. Human progress should not be at the cost of destroying the natural habitats of untamable and proud animals like the tiger.

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Style of A Tiger in the Zoo

The poem consists of 5 stanzas, each is made up of 4 lines. The rhyme scheme is: abcb; abcb; abcb; abcb; abcb. The poem has two distinct settings. The first setting is that of the zoo where the tiger is put in a cage. The second setting is that of the natural wild habitat of the tiger which should have been his real place. The personification of the tiger is evident as the poet calls him ‘he’, and not ‘it’. The metaphor ‘pads of velvet’ is used effectively in the third line of the first stanza. The tense tone represents the hidden rage of the tiger.

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