A Tiger in the Zoo Poem Class 10


A Tiger in the Zoo poem by Leslie Norris

About the Poet- George Leslie Norris (21 May 1921 – 6 April 2006), was a prize-winning Welsh poet and short story writer. He taught at academic institutions in Britain and the United States, including Brigham Young University. Norris is considered one of the most important Welsh writers of the post-war period, and his literary publications have won many prizes.

Tiger in the Zoo- Poem

He stalks in his vivid stripes

The few steps of his cage,

On pads of velvet quiet,

In his quiet rage.

He should be lurking in shadow,

Sliding through long grass

Near the water hole

Where plump deer pass.

He should be snarling around houses

At the jungle’s edge,

Baring his white fangs, his claws,

Terrorising the village!

But he’s locked in a concrete cell,

His strength behind bars,

Stalking the length of his cage,

Ignoring visitors.

He hears the last voice at night,

The patrolling cars,

And stares with his brilliant eyes

At the brilliant stars

A Tiger in the Zoo- Summary

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.

Difficult Word Meanings

Stalks: follows
Vivid: bright colored
Pads: paws of tiger
Rage: anger

Snarling: warning sounds made by animals
Baring: uncovered
Fangs: Sharp tooth of animals

Patrolling: to guard, to vigil

Important Question Answers

Q1. How does the tiger feel inside the cage?

Ans:- The tiger feels slave inside the concrete cell. It feels like a prisoner in the zoo. It misses its all freedoms in the forest where it should be lurking in the shadows, stalking its prey in the long grass near water hole, where the plump deer pass.

Q2. What does the tigerhear and see from the cage?

Ans:- The tiger hears the last voice of the patrolling cars. Being locked in the cage, it look towards the sky. He goes on staring the brilliant stars that are shining freely in the sky like his brilliant eyes.

Q3. What should the tiger be doing at the jungle’s edge?

Ans:- The tiger would be moving around the house in a nearby village. He should be snarling around houses. At the jungle’s edge, baring his white fangs, his claws, it terrorizes the villager.

Q4. Where is the tiger kept in the zoo? What is the last voice heard by the tiger in the zoo?

Ans:- The tiger is locked in a concrete cell where it can hardly take a few steps along the length of the cage. He doesn’t take any notice of the visitors who came there. With its shining eyes, it keeps sharing at the bright starts in the sky.

The last voice heard by the tiger is the noise of patrolling cars.

Q5. How does the tiger terrorize the villager?

Ans:- The tiger terrorizes the villager by hunting them. When the tiger is caught and kept in a cage, its anger subsides. The tiger is free to roam around freely in the jungle and it can hunt its own food. But in the zoo, it has to remain in the cage and it has to eat whatever is offered to it.

Q6. Where does the tiger stalk? How is his behavior? 

Ans:- The tiger stalks the few steps of his cage after being captured.

The poet sees the tiger was locked in a concrete cell in the zoo. In spite of all his
strength, he now lies imprisoned behind the bars. Very slowly and silently he moves up and down along the length of the cage. He takes no note of the visitors who come to the zoo to have a look at him.

Q7. Where the tiger should be lurking?

Ans:- The tiger, according to the poet, should be lurking in the shadows of the long grassnear the water hole in order to prey on the deer who come to water body to drink water.

Q8. Why does the tiger ignore the visitors?

Ans:- The tiger ignores the visitors as his strength is confined to the cage. He feels sad and restless behind the concrete walls. He is fed-up with his situation and so ignores the visitors.

Q9. What is a water hole? Why should the tiger be lurking near it?

Ans:- A water hole is a small pond-like water source that provides water to the thirsty wild animals. The tiger should be lurking near the water hole because deer comes there to drink water which would provide the tiger with a chance to prey on.

Q10. Why does the tiger express his rage quietly?

Ans:- The tigerexpresses his rage quietly because there is nothing he can do from behind the cage. His strength is inside the cage now. He is no longer free as he was in the jungle.

Q. Choose the meaning of the underlined words from the alternatives given in the brackets.

a. He stalks in his vivid stripes. (moves slowly and quietly/ remains idle/ moves quickly)
Ans:- Moves slowly and quietly.
b. But he’s locked in a concrete cell. (box/ cage/ jail)
Ans:- Cage.
c. In his quiet rage (mood/ violent anger/ walk)
Ans:- Violent anger.
d. He should be snarling around houses. (walking/ an angry sound/ sniffing)
Ans:- An angry sound.
e. And stares with his brilliant eyes. (look fixed/ disregard/ bright)
Ans:- Look fixed.
f. He stalks in his vivid stripes. (to crawl/ to walk/ sying)
Ans:- To crawl.
g. Baring his white fangs, his claws. (nail/ horn/ teeth)
Ans:- Teeth.
h. Stalking the length of his cage. (crying with need/ sleeping/ walking with pride)
Ans:- Walking with pride.

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