A Tiger in the Zoo Class 10 CBSE English First Flight Poem Explanation, Summary, Difficult words
By Ruchika Gupta
CBSE Class 10 English Poem 3 Explanation Notes
A Tiger in the Zoo Class 10 English First Flight Poem 3 - Detailed explanation of the poem along with meanings of difficult words. Also, the explanation is followed by the literary devices used and a Summary of the Poem. All the exercises and Question and Answers given at the back of the lesson have been covered.
A Tiger in the Zoo Class 10 English Poem 3
by Leslie Norris
About the Poet
George Leslie Norris (1921-2006) was a prize winning Welsh poet and short story writer. He is considered as most important Welsh writers of the post war period and his literary works have won many prizes. His famous works are Finding Gold, The loud winder, phoenix living poets series: Ransoms, etc.
A Tiger in the Zoo Poem Introduction
The poem written by Leslie Norris explains the agony and helplessness of a caged tiger that lives in a zoo. The poet explains what his life could be if he had been a free animal. The poet has tried to explain about the condition of animals that are caged by human beings for their own fun.
A Tiger in the Zoo Summary of the poem
The poem begins with a description of a tiger that is very beautiful and is walking in his little cage. He has beautiful stripes on his skin and has velvet like soft paws. But the tiger is not happy and is quite angry about being confined in the cage. The poet says that if the tiger was not confined to the zoo cage, he would have been hiding himself behind the long grass near some water body, in order to catch its prey that is the deer. Also, he would have terrorised the residents of the villages around the forest area. But the reality is totally opposite to this. He was confined in a cage which was made up of strong building material and he was helpless there. He could not show his power to the visitors, therefore, never tried to terrorize them. The tiger is described as being powerless and agonized by the poet. He says that during night also he is alone, hearing the voice of the patrolling vehicles of police and looking at the stars. The cage life has totally changed the tiger’s personality. The poet is trying to say that the animal which is famous for its fearlessness and freedom is confined and sad due to the human beings who want to derive pleasure by looking at him in the zoo cage.
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A Tiger in the Zoo Poem and Explanation
He stalks in his vivid stripes
The few steps of his cage,
On pads of velvet quiet,
In his quiet rage.
Vivid: bright colored
Pads: paws of tiger
Here the poet says that the tiger that is confined in the zoo moves around in the cage under his bright coloured skin. He further says that the tiger can take only a few steps because the cage is small and it is not easy to move in it. One cannot hear his footsteps because he has very soft feet, like velvet because of which there is no sound of the tiger’s footsteps. The tiger tries to control his anger by quietly walking in the limited area of his cage. He is angry because he is not free.
- Rhyme scheme: abcb (cage-rage)
- Personification: The tiger is personified because the poet refers him as ‘he’.
- Metaphor: Tiger’s paws are compared with velvet (pads of velvet)
- Enjambment: Sentence is continuing to next line without any punctuation mark.
- Imagery: poet tries to create an image about the tiger (He stalks in his vivid stripes The few steps of his cage)
- Consonance: use of ‘s’ sound (stalks, his, stripes)
- Assonance: use of vowel sound ‘I’ (in his vivid stripes)
- Oxymoron: use of adjectives opposite in meaning (quiet rage)
He should be lurking in shadow,
Sliding through long grass
Near the water hole
Where plump deer pass.
Lurking: To be hidden as to wait for your prey
The poet says that if this tiger was free, he would have hid himself behind the long grass near the water bodies so that he could easily catch a deer in order to have it as its food. Basically, the poet wants to say that the actual life of a tiger is to live in jungle where he could catch his prey and eat it but the tiger in the cage can not do so.
- Rhyme: rhyme scheme is abcb (grass-pass)
- Enjambment: Line continues to next line without punctuation marks. (Sliding through….deer pass)
- Alliteration: use of sound ‘p’ at the start of two words (plump pass)
- Imagery: The poet has tries to create an image of tiger’s activities (lurking in shadow).
He should be snarling around houses
At the jungle’s edge,
Baring his white fangs, his claws,
Terrorising the village!
Snarling: warning sounds made by animals
Fangs: Sharp tooth of animals
The poet says that if the tiger would have been free, he would have snarled around the houses located at the outskirts of the forest. He would terrorise people with his sharp tooth and claws. This would create fear among the people living in the villages.
- Rhyme Scheme: abcb rhyme scheme is followed (edge, village)
- Enjambment: Line continues to next line without punctuation marks (He should be snarling around houses At the jungle’s edge,)
- Onomatopoeia: using words which denote sound (snarling)
- Assonance: use of vowel sound ‘o’ and ‘I’ (should, around, houses), (Baring, his, white, his)
- Consonance: use of consonant sound ‘s’ (his, fangs, his, claws)
But he’s locked in a concrete cell,
His strength behind bars,
Stalking the length of his cage,
Concrete: building made of bricks, cement, sand and water
Now the poet comes to the reality of the tiger that is inside the cage. He says that the tiger is confined in a strong cell which is made of strong building material. He further says that as the tiger is behind bars, so his ferociousness is also behind the bars. He just stalks in the cage. He never tries to terrorise the visitors because his power is restricted by the cage. Therefore, he never tries to terrorise the visitors as he cannot attack them.
- Rhyme Scheme: abcb rhyme scheme is followed (bars-visitors)
- Personification: The tiger is personified because the poet refers him as ‘he’.
- Assonance: use of vowel sound ‘e’ (he, locked, concrete, cell)
- Consonance: use of consonant sound ‘s’ (his, strength, bars)
- Alliteration: use of sound ‘b’ at the start of two words (behind bars)
He hears the last voice at night,
The patrolling cars,
And stares with his brilliant eyes
At the brilliant stars.
Patrolling: to guard, to vigil
The poet says that in the night, the tiger hears the sounds of the patrolling cars. Patrolling cars are the vehicles of police which are used to guard at night. So, in the night the tiger hears the sounds of these cars. He then stares at the shining stars with his shining eyes. The poet wants to say that the tiger is sad and as he is confined in the cage, so, he cannot do anything. Therefore, he stares at the stars in the night and tries to divert his thoughts towards them.
- Rhyme Scheme: abcb rhyme scheme is followed (cars-stars)
- Enjambment: Line three continues to line four without any punctuation mark. (And stares with his brilliant eyes At the brilliant stars.)
- Alliteration: use of sound ‘h’ in the starting of two words (he hears)
- Assonance: use of ‘I’ sound (with, his, brilliant)
A Tiger in the Zoo Question and Answers
Q1- Read the poem again, and work in pairs or groups to do the following tasks.
(i) Find the words that describe the movements and actions of the tiger in the cage and in the wild. Arrange them in two columns.
(ii) Find the words that describe the two places, and arrange them in two columns.
Now try to share ideas about how the poet uses words and images to contrast the two situations.
In the cage
In the wild
Stalks, quiet rage, ignoring visitors, hears the sound of patrolling cars, stares at stars
Lurking in shadow, sliding through the long grass, snarling around houses, baring his white fangs, terrorizing the village
Few steps of his cage
Shadow, long grass
Locked in concrete cell
Snarling around houses
His Strength behind bars
Baring his white fangs, his claws
Terrorising the village
Q2- Notice the use of a word repeated in lines such as these:
(i) On pads of velvet quiet, In his quiet rage.
(ii) And stares with his brilliant eyes At the brilliant stars.
What do you think is the effect of this repetition?
A2- The poet has repeated the words to give a nice impact to his poem. Like the use of quiet with velvet pads describes that the tiger has to walk in the limited area of his cage. He cannot run as he would have done had it been in the forest. Whereas ‘quiet rage’ shows the hidden anger inside him which has grown stronger because of his confinement in the cage. The next word he used is ‘brilliant’. The word brilliant in the first line means the twinkling bright stars and the brilliant words used for the tiger’s eyes shows the sadness of the tiger who would have led a free and fearless life if it were in the jungle.