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Class 10 NCERT Solutions English Chapter 7 - The Trees [Poem]

The Trees [Poem] Exercise 100

Solution 1

(i) Three things that cannot happen in a 'treeless forest' are: 1) Birds sitting on the branches of the trees.

2) Insects hiding between the leaves and branches of the trees.

3) The sun burying its feet in the shadows of the trees in the forest.


(ii) The words "… sun bury its feet in shadow…" create a visual imagery of sunrays reaching down to the earth and creating patterns of shadows.  


The sun's 'feet' refers to the rays of sun that reach the earth and the forest.  

Solution 2

i) The trees in the poem are the ones kept in the veranda of the poet's home.

However, the poet could also be referring to the trees kept indoors for decoration.


Their roots work all night long trying to disengage themselves from the cracks in the veranda floor. The leaves strain to move towards the glass while the small twigs become stiff with exertion.


ii) The poet compares the long cramped boughs or branches that shuffle under the roof to patients that have been newly discharged from hospital. The patients are half dazed after having recovered from an illness and move slowly towards the clinic doors longing to be out of the hospital.  In a similar way, the branches of the trees are cramped under the closed roof and are longing to get out into the open and spread themselves in the fresh air.  


Solution 3

i) a) At the beginning of the third stanza, the poet says that the night is fresh and the whole moon is shining in the open sky.


b) At the end, the poet compares the moon shining through the crown of the tallest oak to a mirror that is broken into flashing pieces. This change is caused due to the trees stumbling out of the poet's house to escape. As they move outside, their branches block the moonlight making the moon look like it is shattered into many pieces.


ii) When the trees move out, they break the glass on their way out.  The smell of leaves and lichens still reaches those left in the room like a voice from afar.


iii) The poet, like most people, tried hard to recreate the forest in her veranda;however, she then realised that the trees themselves wished to be freed from the captivity of indoor life and to go back to their natural habitat. This realisation causes her some embarrassment, as she held them captive against their will; hence she does not mention the departure of forests in her long letters.


The Trees [Poem] Exercise 101

Solution 4

i) Yes, the poem does present a conflict between man and nature; man wanting to keep nature in 'captivity' and nature longing for its 'freedom'. Man not only prefers to live in closed places but also likes to restrict nature. He uses trees and plants to decorate his home; he builds artificial forests in closed places; he cuts trees for his selfish purposes; he hunts animals and birds for their meat; keeps them in captivity and deprives them of their freedom.

In the poem A Tiger in the Zoo the poet explains how the tiger is confined to a concrete cage when he should be roaming free in the wild. All he can do is take a few steps in his cage, but he would love to run and leap about in his natural habitat. 

Both the poets want us to realise that trees, plants, animals are living beings. We decorate our homes with plants and keep animals in captivity, but they too have feelings and they may long for freedom. We cannot imprison them for our amusement; we need to set them free. No matter what facilities we give them in captivity it will never compensate for the freedom they will experience in their natural habitat.


ii) The poet Adrienne Rich could also be using trees as a metaphor for human beings. The trees in the poem are symbolic of human beings who today are so caught up with their busy lives that they long for freedom. Both adults and students are over worked and find no time for recreation. They struggle to keep up with their busy lives and are confined to the four walls of their houses.

They work from morning to night striving to achieve things and they never find an opportunity to enjoy them. They long to break free and enjoy the peace and beauty of nature.

Solution 5

In the poem 'On Killing a Tree' by Gieve Patel the poet uses strong images to explain how it is not easy to kill and destroy a tree. Just stabbing, hacking or chopping it with a knife will not do. Only when the roots are pulled out of its source of nourishment and exposed to the elements will one be able to kill the tree.


In both the poems, the poets consider the trees as living beings with human qualities.


In the poem 'On Killing a Tree' the poet uses words like 'bleeding bark', 'heal', 'pain' and 'most sensitive' to personify the trees. The title itself likens the act of killing a tree to murder and brings out the brutality of cutting a tree. 


Similarly in the poem 'The trees' the poet also feels that it is not right for us to keep plants and trees in captivity simply to decorate our homes. They need to be out in the forests-their natural habitat.


Both poems have an environmental message-we need to protect and preserve trees and prevent their destruction. This should be done by planting them, not in our closed homes but out in the open where they can be free with the rest of nature. We should not hurt them as they too feel pain.


Both poems also bring out the fact that we human beings often just stand and watch atrocities committed against trees in silence. We stay aloof and unaffected by these brutal attacks on nature.

The contrast between the two poems is seen in the way they end. In 'The trees', Adrienne Rich describes the trees breaking free and escaping from their captivity to freedom.

 In the poem 'On killing a tree' however, the helpless tree is finally killed and is unable to escape the brutality of man.

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