Friday, July 7, 2023

Class X - First Flight - How to Tell Wild Animals by CAROLYN WELLS Summary and Explanation

Summary of the Poem How to Tell Wild Animals

The poet presents an intriguing and amusing description of various wild animals. Despite their dangerous nature, the poetess introduces them in a lighthearted manner. The first animal mentioned is the Asian lion, described as having tawny skin and a roaring ability that instils fear. This indicates that one has encountered an Asian lion while exploring the jungles of the East.

Moving on, the poetess portrays the Bengal tiger as a regal creature that swiftly attacks and kills humans. In a humorous tone, she suggests that if someone is killed and eaten by a beautiful black-striped animal, it is undoubtedly a Bengal tiger.

The poetess then discusses the leopard, characterised by its black-spotted skin and its tendency to pounce on its prey without hesitation. She remarks that crying out in pain would be futile as the leopard would not cease its attack. Next, the bear is introduced as an animal that embraces its victims tightly, leading to their demise.

The poetess poses a question to the readers, inquiring if they are aware of the ways to identify predatory beasts. She proceeds to mention the hyena, known for its constant smiling expression, and the crocodile, which exhibits tears while killing its prey. These visual cues make it evident when these animals are on the hunt.

Lastly, the poetess introduces the chameleon, a lizard-like creature lacking ears and wings. She explains that its ability to change colour according to its surroundings distinguishes it from a regular lizard. By observing a tree and seeing only the tree, one can deduce the presence of a chameleon that has already blended into the brown colour of the branch.

In summary, the poet playfully describes the various wild animals, balancing their dangerous nature with humorous anecdotes. The poem encourages readers to appreciate the peculiarities of these creatures while showcasing their distinct characteristics in an entertaining manner.

Central Idea of the Poem

The central idea of the poem "How to Tell Wild Animals" by Carolyn Wells is the humorous and satirical exploration of the various ways to identify different wild animals based on their characteristics and behaviours. The poem takes a lighthearted approach and uses exaggeration and absurdity to entertain the reader.

Through playful descriptions, the poem offers comical advice on how to recognise wild animals by their distinctive features and actions. Each stanza introduces a new animal and provides humorous clues on how to identify them, often highlighting their peculiar traits or behaviours. The poem emphasises the contrast between the wild animals' characteristics and the familiar attributes of domesticated animals or human behaviour.

Overall, the poem aims to entertain and amuse readers through clever wordplay, whimsical descriptions, and unexpected twists and turns in identifying the wild animals. It highlights the joy of imagination and the delight in seeing the world from a humorous perspective.

Literary Devices Used in the Poem

The poem "How to Tell Wild Animals" by Carolyn Wells employs several literary devices to enhance its humorous and whimsical tone. Here are some of the literary devices used in the poem:
  1. Hyperbole: The poem utilises exaggeration to create comedic effect. It exaggerates the characteristics and behaviours of wild animals, such as the lion's roar being described as potentially causing death out of fear.
  2. Imagery: The poem uses vivid imagery to paint humorous pictures in the reader's mind. It describes the animals' physical attributes, like the tiger's black stripes and the leopard's black-spotted skin, to evoke visual images.
  3. Personification: The poet personifies the animals by attributing human-like qualities to them. For example, the hyena is described as having a smiling face, and the crocodile is said to have tears in its eyes.
  4. Irony: The poem utilises irony to create humour by presenting situations or statements that are the opposite of what is expected. An example is the hyena's constant smile while being a predator.
  5. Metaphor: The poem uses metaphorical language to compare certain animal behaviours or traits to other familiar things. For instance, the bear's tight hug is compared to an act of killing, emphasising the potential danger.
  6. Alliteration: The poem incorporates alliteration by repeating initial consonant sounds, which adds a playful and rhythmic quality to the lines. For instance, "black striped" in reference to the tiger and "hug very tightly" regarding the bear.
  7. Rhyme: The poem employs a consistent rhyme scheme, using end rhymes that add to its rhythmic and musical quality.
These literary devices work together to create a whimsical and amusing atmosphere in the poem, enhancing the humorous descriptions and satirical elements used to portray the wild animals.

Rhyme Scheme of the poem How to Tell Wild Animals

The rhyme scheme of the poem "How to Tell Wild Animals" by Carolyn Wells follows an AABB pattern. This means that the end rhymes in each stanza alternate between two distinct sounds. Here is an example of the rhyme scheme in the first stanza:

A (east)
A (beast)
B (fear)
B (here)

The same rhyme scheme is maintained throughout the poem, with the end words of each line following this AABB pattern. This consistent rhyme scheme contributes to the poem's rhythmic and melodic flow, enhancing its playful and humorous tone.

How to Tell Wild Animals Questions and Answers

Question 1. Does ‘dyin’ really rhyme with ‘lion’? Can you say it in such a way that it does?

It is correct that "dyin'" and "lion" do not technically rhyme in the conventional sense. However, in certain dialects or poetic licenses, they can be pronounced in a way that creates a slant rhyme or a near rhyme. One possible way to say it in a way that makes them rhyme is by pronouncing "dyin'" as "dye-in" (with a long "i" sound) and "lion" as "lye-in" (again with a long "i" sound). In this altered pronunciation, the words can be made to rhyme more closely.

Question 2. How does the poet suggest that you identify the lion and the tiger? When can you do so, according to him?

The poet suggests identifying the lion by its tawny skin and roaring in the jungles of the east, which may evoke fear. As for the tiger, if a beautiful black-striped creature attacks and consumes a person, it signifies encountering a Bengal tiger. The poet uses exaggerated descriptions and actions to depict the characteristics of these wild animals.

Question 3. Do you think the words ‘lept’ and ‘lep’ in the third stanza are spelt correctly? Why does the poet spell them like this?

In the third stanza, the poet describes the leopard's behaviour. The word "lept" is the past tense of "leap," indicating the swift and sudden action of the leopard pouncing on its prey. The word "lep" is a variation of "leap" used to maintain the rhyme scheme and rhythm of the poem.

The lines suggest that when encountering a beast with a spotted hide if it swiftly leaps onto you, it indicates that it is indeed a leopard. The following line humorously implies that no matter how much one roars in pain, the leopard will continue to pounce repeatedly.

Question 4. Look at the line “A novice might nonplus”. How would you write this ‘correctly’? Why is the poet’s ‘incorrect’ line better in the poem?

The line "A novice might nonplus" in the poem is intentionally written that way by the poet. The correct form would be "A novice might be nonplussed." However, the poet chooses to use "nonplus" as a verb to maintain the rhyme scheme and add to the playful nature of the poem. This creative choice contributes to the poem's whimsical and humorous atmosphere.

Question 5. Much of the humour in the poem arises from the way language is used, although the ideas are funny as well. If there are particular lines in the poem that you especially like, share these with the class, speaking briefly about what it is about the ideas or the language that you like or find funny?

Indeed, the poet's skillful use of language in the poem creates a humorous effect. There are several lines that stand out in terms of their comedic impact. One such line is "If he roars at you as you're dyin', You'll know it is the Asian Lion." This line plays with the juxtaposition of a lion roaring while someone is in a dying state, resulting in a humorous and unexpected situation.

Another line that adds to the humor is "A noble wild beast greets you." This phrase brings together the contrasting concepts of a noble and wild beast, creating a comical contradiction.

Overall, the poet's approach to describing the characteristics of wild animals is marked by a delightful sense of humor. By presenting these animals in amusing scenarios and using clever wordplay, the poet effectively engages readers and elicits laughter.

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