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CBSE Class 10 English First Flight A Tiger in the Zoo Poem Summary & Notes

A Tiger in the zoo class X english first flight

Chapter 2 of the Class 10 English Book, ‘First Flight’, comprises only one poem, A Tiger in the Zoo written by Leslie Norris. Here’s an explanation and a simple summary of the poem.

CBSE Class 10 English A Tiger in the Zoo Summary

The poem portrays the situation of a tiger confined in a zoo. The poet vividly contrasts the tiger’s former life in the jungle as a free animal and now as a caged animal in the zoo. Initially, the poem describes the majestic physical features of the tiger, now trapped within a small cage. The poet then delves into explaining the imagined freedom the tiger would have enjoyed in its natural habitat that is the jungle. Towards the end, once again the poet explains tiger’s situation inside the cage, highlighting how life in a cage has transformed its character. A symbol of strength and courage in the jungle, feared by villagers, the tiger now finds itself caged and weakened, stripped of its power and turned into vulnerable animal.

A Tiger in the Zoo Poem Explanation

We’ve also included the poem below to make it easier for students to understand. This way, they can read the poem and its meaning together.

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.


In the poem’s opening, the poet describes the tiger’s appearance in the zoo. He mentions how the tiger’s stripes stand out from afar, darker than the rest of its body. Despite being confined to a small cage, the tiger moves around, but he can only take a few steps. The tiger moves silently because of its smooth, velvet-like paws. Even though the tiger is angry, he cannot do anything and is suppressing its anger due to the helplessness of the situation.

In the second stanza, the poet imagines the tiger’s life in the jungle, portraying its existence as a free creature. The poet imagines the tiger living in its natural habitat, amidst the dark forest, where it would likely be lying in the shadow of trees or hiding itself in tall grass to avoid detection by other animals. So, the tiger would make its way to the water hole, where all the forest animals gather to drink. When a deer happened to pass by, the tiger would attack him and make the deer his meal for the day.

In the third stanza, the poet describes how the tiger would growl on the outskirts of the jungle, near the village. Showing its long, sharp teeth and extended claws, the tiger would roam around, trying to scare the villagers. Here the poet wants to say that if we continue to destroy the forests, tigers will be forced to wander into towns and villages in search of food, becoming a source of threat for humans.

In the fourth stanza, the poet shifts from imagining the tiger’s life in the forest back to its current reality. He describes how the tiger is confined in a cage, made of strong materials. Despite possessing strength and power, the tiger remains trapped behind bars. He moves slowly and quietly within his cage, paying no attention to the people who come to observe it.

In the final stanza, the poet mentions that the tiger doesn’t sleep at night. He hears the sound of the patrolling car, which disturbs his rest. The noise prevents the tiger from sleeping, so he gazes at the stars with his bright eyes. Lost in thought, the tiger ponders why it’s confined within the cage.

Conclusion of A Tiger in the Zoo

The poem compares and contrasts two different life situations: one where a tiger enjoys absolute freedom in the forest, and the other where he is confined with limitations in a zoo. The poet describes the tiger’s characteristics in both settings and draws comparisons with human experiences, highlighting the feelings of being caged or imprisoned.

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