1)It takes much time to kill a tree’ – Why does it take much time to kill a tree? According to the poet, how is the tree finally killed? [3+3 = 6] [H.S. – 2015, 2018]
Ans. A tree has grown slowly consuming the nutrients from the earth. It has fed upon the crust and also absorbed sunlight, air, and water over the years. Roots are deep-rooted. It has the strength to heal its bleeding bark. It has the resistance to survive against any outside assault. So, it takes much time to kill a tree.
A simple jab of night, hacking, and chopping cannot kill a tree. To kill a tree, roots have to be pulled out by tying a rope. They have to be exposed in the sun and air for scorching and chocking. Finally, when they will turn into brown, hard, twisted, and withered, the tree will die completely.
2)How does a tree offer resistance to its destruction? How does its resistance fail? [3+3 = 6] [H.S. = 2017]
Ans. It is very difficult to kill a tree. A simple jab of knife, hacking, and chopping can only inflict pain and bleed the bark of the tree. It will gradually recover itself. After sometimes, curled green twigs and branches will appear from the stem. If it is unchecked, they will expand to their former shape. So, a tree offers great resistance to its destruction.
The resistance of a tree fails when the roots are uprooted by tying a rope. Roots are the source of all strength. They are the most sensitive parts of the tree, white and wet. When they are exposed to the sun and the air, they are scorched and withered and finally killed.
3)How does the poet describe the growth of a tree over the years? What are the different steps taken for killing a tree? [4+2 = 6] [H.S. = 2019]
Ans. The poet Gieve Patel in ‘On Killing a Tree’ describes that a tree grows slowly consuming the nutrients from the earth. It feeds upon the upper crust of the earth. It absorbs sunlight, air, and water over the years. In this way, a tree grows steadily taking all the nutrients from the earth and the atmosphere.
To kill a tree, the roots have to be pulled out by tying a rope. Then they are exposed in the sun and air for scorching and chocking. When they are turned into brown, hard, twisted, and withered, the tree will die.
4)Justify the title of the poem ‘On Killing A Tree’.  [H.S. = 2016]
Ans. The title of the poem, ‘On Killing a Tree’ clearly shows Gieve Patel’s concern for nature. The tree is man’s benevolent friend and such friends are destroyed by man’s cruelty and greed. In an ironic tone, the poet narrates the whole process of killing a tree. A sudden blow of knife, hacking and chopping cannot destroy the tree. It has to be uprooted from the earth. Then the roots are exposed in the sun and air for scorching, chocking and withering. Finally, the task of killing a tree is executed after a long process of torture and pain. The title is ironic to mankind in the sense of man’s foolishness and recklessness. The poet wants to convey a message through the poem to his readers to be sympathetic to nature. Hence the title is appropriate.
5) “And then it is done”. – What is being referred to here? How is it done? On what tone does the poem end? [1+2+2 = 6] [H.S. = 2020]
Ans. The devilish act of killing a tree is done.
It is done by uprooting the tree. The tree has to be roped and pulled out from the earth cave. Roots are the source of all strength. They have to be exposed to the sun and air for scorching and chocking. And when they are turned into brown, hard, twisted, and withered, the tree is killed completely.
The poem ends in an ironic tone. It shows a tragic end of a tree by man’s cruelty and greed. The tree symbolizes nature and its destruction shows man’s utter folly of destroying himself.
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