On Killing a Tree Summary Class 9 | Gieve Patel | Poem | NCERT |


On Killing a Tree Summary | Class 9 by Gieve Patel, Poem, NCERT Solutions of the Poem, Summary, Theme and Question Answers

About the Author 

The poet Gieve Patel is not only just a poet, but also painter who raises environmental issues and helps settling them out. His poem ‘On Killing a Tree’ speaks about how bad it is to cut down trees for selfish reasons.

On Killing a Tree Summary

The poem ‘On Killing a Tree’ from class 9 English is about cutting a tree. The poet describes this by showing that people can be very cruel. People cut trees for things like building houses and furniture. But the poet says that you should not cut trees, but plant more and more of them instead. There are several lessons in the poem, including to make sure you save enough water when it is hot out or when it rains to make sure there isn’t too much flooding after it rains. Through this poem, the writer tells us that trees are strong and determined. They take all kinds of things, but they do not die. We too must be strong and determined to face any challenges in life. Trees in this poem symbolize evil patterns that are deep inside us. We might think we got rid of them, but they may come back until we put our best effort into it. The poem says that we need to work efficiently and whole-heartedly on our work.


  • On Killing a Tree Summary

Stanza-Wise Explanation of On Killing a Tree

Stanza 1

It takes much time to kill a tree, ……. Sprouting leaves.

In the first stanza the poet tells us that it is hard to kill a tree. One needs to stab it with a knife and then keep cutting into the tree. This takes time and people can’t do this by themselves. It can be an easy job if you have help from other people, like if they cut the tree down for you or help stab it with a knife. Trees take nutrients from their soil and water so they can grow strong. They also absorb sunlight which helps them grow leaves on their branches, too!

Stanza 2

So hack and chop….. To former size

In the second stanza, the poet says that if you just stab and chop at a tree, it will not die. It would just be injured. The tree will suffer pain but it won’t die. So you need to keep stabbing and chopping at the tree until it dies. That way the bark heals and green twigs grow back on the tree. After some time, it will grow big again as if nothing had ever happened to it before because of all of your hard work!

Stanza 3

No, The root is to be pulled out — ……. For years inside the earth.

In this stanza, the poet tells us the perfect way of how to kill a tree. According to him, in order to kill a tree, you need to take its roots out of the Earth. The root is the strength of the tree. It helps support and protect trees that are more vulnerable.

Stanza 4

Then the matter…. And then it is done.

In this stanza, the poet says that when the roots are pulled up and exposed to air and sun, they start to die. The surface of the roots becomes hard and dry. After some time, it loses its shape and starts twisting. Finally, it dies.

Theme of On Killing a Tree

The poem ‘On Killing a Tree’ is like an instruction booklet for killing trees. It tells the reader that trees are living beings. They are not cut but killed properly by uprooting the roots that are deep in the soil. Through this poem, the poet teaches us many lessons. The first lesson is about courage and strength of trees, which teaches us to be strong and determined. Next, it points out that evils are just like roots. They are deeply rooted within us and even if we feel we have vanquished them, they suddenly appear again unexpectedly.

Textual Questions of On Killing a Tree

Question 1 : Can a “Simple Jab of the Knife” Kill a Tree? Why Not?

Ans: No, a single cut with a knife will not kill a tree. This is because trees take years to grow up from the ground and get big. A cut with a chopping machine will not kill it either. Even if it stops the tree from growing for some time, the tree will start to grow again after some time has passed.

Question 2 : How Has The Tree Grow to its Full Size? List the Words Suggestive of its Life and Activity.

Ans: Trees need sunlight, water, and air. When the tree is small, it comes out of the ground. As it grows up to be big, it also gets leaves. The words “growing slowly” are important because they tell you that the tree needs to grow slowly.

Question 3 : What is the Meaning of “Bleeding Bark”? What Makes it Bleed?

Ans: The term “bleeding bark” means the mark left by an axe. The tree is hurt, and it bleeds when cut by a woodcutter.

Question 4 : The Poet Says “No” At the Beginning of the Third Stanza. What Does He Mean by This?

Ans: The poet says “No” in the third stanza to show that cutting down the tree will not kill it. The tree would grow back and be as big as before.

Question 5 : What is The Meaning of “Anchoring Earth” and “Earth Cave”?

Ans: The roots of the tree that go inside the earth and make it stand up are called “Anchoring earth”. The roots keep the tree safe by giving it water and nutrients. The ground under the foundation is called an “Earth cave”, because it holds the roots and keeps the tree standing up when it is in danger (from intense rain).

Question 6 : What Does He Mean by “The Strength of the Tree Exposed”?

Ans: The roots of the tree give it strength. In the poem, the poet asks for roots to be exposed because they make a tree strong. If a tree is exposed to sunlight and air, it will do well.

Question 7 : What Finally kills the Tree?

Ans: The tree is destroyed when it is pulled out of the ground. It becomes brown, dry, and hard. It eventually dies. The roots of the tree are strong enough to hold it in place for a long time. When they are pulled up, the tree dries up and dies too.

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