ON KILLING A TREE
By– Gieve Patel
SHORT ANSWER QUESTIONS OF ON KILLING A TREE
Q1.Can a “simple jab of the knife” kill a tree? Why not? (Textual)
Ans:- simple jab of a knife can certainly not kill a tree. It can merely injure it and cause its sap to ooze out like blood. The real life of a tree comes from the roots that provide it nourishment and firmly hold it.
Q2.How has the tree grown to its full size? List words suggestive of its life and activity.
Ans:- The tree has grown to its full size gradually. It has grown by slowly consuming the earth. It has risen out of the earth and has fed upon its crust. It has also absorbed light, air and water for years. Leaves have sprouted out of its discoloured bark.
Q3.In the phrase ‘consuming the earth’, who consumes the earth and how?
Ans:- It is the tree that consumes the earth by drawing its nourishment from the soil through its root. The diet required by the tree lies deep inside the earth and the root sucks and absorbs nutrients and nourishes the tree.
Q4. What is meant by ‘years of sunlight, air and water’?
Ans:-Years of sunlight, air and water means that the tree takes years together to grow up fully. In this course of time, it draws energy from sunlight, air and water.
Q5.Why has the tree’s ‘hide’ been called leprous?
Ans:-The bark of the tree is uneven in texture and colour. Leprosy also robs the skin of the leper of its colour and evenness. Hence, the poet has drawn a metaphorical comparison between the discoloured bark of a tree and the diseased skin.
Q6. What is the role of hacking and chopping in killing a tree?
Ans:- Hacking and chopping wound the body of a tree causing it great pain. They peal the bark of the tree and it appears to be bleeding when the sap oozes out. However, this pain or bleeding does not manage to kill the tree.
Q7.What is the meaning of ‘bleeding bark’? What makes it bleed? (Textual)
Ans:-The ‘bleeding bark stands for the sap oozing out of the tree trunk when it is attacked with a knife or an axe. The word ‘bleeding’ is metaphorically used to compare the sap to the blood from a wound of a human being. It signifies the pain of the tree.
Q8.What will rise from ‘close to the ground’? Why?
Ans:-Curled green twigs and miniature boughs will rise from the stump of the tree that is close to the ground. They will rise because the tree rejuvenates and revives itself as long as its root is intact.
Q9.’What will happen if the miniature boughs are left ‘unchecked’?
Ans:-‘Unchecked’ here means left free to grow without any harm or danger. If left ‘unchecked’, the new, green, delicate branches from the stump of a tree will expand and regain their original size.
Q 10. “No, The root is to be pulled out.” Why has the poet started this stanza with “No”? Or The poet says “No” at the beginning of the third stanza. What does he mean by this? (Textual)
Ans:-The poet uses ‘No’ to emphasize the fact that merely hacking and chopping are not sufficient for killing a tree. They can injure it, make it bleed, and cause pain. But killing a tree requires more ruthlessness and much more effort.
Q 11. What is the meaning of “anchoring earth” and “earth cave”? (Textual)
Ans:- “Anchoring earth” means the earth which gives a firm grip to the tree and keeps it from falling. Just as a ship anchored in the sea stays in its place securely and steadily, similarly the tree stands secure and stable with the support of the earth. “Earth cave” refers to the depth under the earth where the root of a tree remains sheltered safely for years. It is firmly attached to this point and a cave-like hollow is created when the root is pulled out.
Q12. How is the root of the tree to be pulled out? What is the result of this pulling?
Ans:-The root of the tree is to be tied to a rope and pulled out with a great force. This pulling results in creating a cave-like hollow in the earth and exposes the root to the vagaries of weather that eventually cause the death of the tree.
Q13.What does the poet mean by The strength of the tree exposed”? (Textual)
Ans:-The expression ‘the strength of the tree exposed’ means the root of the tree is pulled out of the earth and thrown open at the mercy of harsh weather. Root is the source of the tree’s power. Once exposed to the scorching and choking sun and air, it withers away and the tree finally dies.
Q14.What is ‘the most sensitive’ part of the tree? What is it sensitive to and why?
Ans:- The root of the tree is its most sensitive part. It is sensitive to the heat and vagaries of weather on the open surface of the earth. It is so because it remains hidden safely under the earth.
Q15. How is the exposed root affected by the sun and air?
Ans:-Sun and air start drawing life out of the exposed root. It becomes discoloured, dry and hard. It starts withering and becomes gnarled and twisted. Devoid of all its moisture, it gradually becomes lifeless and the process of killing the tree is completed.
Q16. What finally kills the tree? (Textual)
Ans:-The withering of the pulled out root finally kills the tree. The root of a tree is the source of its strength. Once it is pulled out, it can no longer nurture the tree. The root is sensitive to sunlight and air. Once exposed, it gets dehydrated, brown and twisted. Ultimately it dries up and the tree yields to death.
Q17. What message is conveyed by this poem?
Ans:-The poem conveys the message that human beings have destructive temperament towards nature, but Mother nature has regenerative powers and cannot be destroyed easily. It has the ability to resurrect itself. Also, the tree teaches us that mere physical assaults cannot ruin us. As long as our root, our soul, is intact we can rise again.
Q18. Can a “simple jab of the knife” kill a tree? Why not?
Ans. No, a simple jab of the knife does not have the ability to kill the tree. It has to go through various processes. If its root is not removed from the earth, it will sprout again.
Q19. What finally kills the tree?
Ans. Pulling out the tree from the mother earth and scorching and choking it in the sun and air kills the tree. It becomes brown, dry and gets hard. Eventually, it dies.
Q20. How has the tree grown to its full size? List the words suggestive of its life and activity.
Ans. The tree has grown to its full size by consuming the earth, feeding upon its crust, absorbing years of light, air and water. Consuming, rising, feeding and absorbing are the words suggestive of its life and activity.
Q21. What are the two important stages for killing a tree?
Ans. There are two stages of killing a tree. First, the tree should be pulled out entirely. Its roots are to be exposed to the sun and the air. Secondly, the roots are to be scorched in the sun. When the roots are scorched, these turn brown, hard and withered. The tree finally dies.
Q22. Write the meanings of ‘anchoring earth’ and ‘earth cave’.
Ans. ‘Anchoring earth’ implies that the trees are held secure with the help of the roots in the earth. So long as the roots are firmly held by the earth, the tree is safe and cannot be killed by a simple jab of a knife.
Q23. How will the bleeding bark of trees heal?
Ans. When the blow of knives or axes does not kill trees, its bleeding bark will gradually heal its pain all the time and the green leaves will grow from the boughs. Actually, the strength of trees lies in its roots. When they are not uprooted, they will expand and grow into a complete tree.
Q24. How is the problem of deforestation raised in the poem?
Ans. Deforestation can be said the important theme of the poem. In our time’s deforestation has become a major issue. Forests are being cleared off to make doors, windows, furniture and fuel. This act has adversely affected our ecosystem. The poet seems to be an environmentalist and his urge to save trees is felt in the whole poem.
Q25. What is the central idea of this poem?
Ans. The central idea of this poem is that the uprooting of trees is not easy. Actually, his act is quite painful. In the same way, the human soul never dies. The poem beautifully expresses that before killing trees, we have to cause injury to them. The human soul is also difficult to be killed but external vagaries can mutually damage it. Like human souls, trees can also feel pain and suffering.