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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.

(A Tiger in the Zoo)

i. Fill in the blank with one word.

The speaker describes the tiger as 'stalking' up and down his cage to show how __________ the tiger felt.

ii. What could be a reason the speaker mentions the behaviour of the tiger at the jungle's 'edge' and not at its centre? Answer in about 40 words.

iii. Which of these explains the meaning of the phrase 'His strength behind bars'?

A. The tiger's strength is in its ability to break free from the cage it is in.

B. The tiger's strength is shown when he pushes against the bars of the cage.

C. The tiger's strength is in his resilience and ability to adapt to a new environment.

D. The tiger's strength is confined within the bars of the cage and this makes him less threatening.  

iv. Why does the tiger ignore the visitors? Answer in one sentence.

1 Answer

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(i) restless/trapped/confined

(ii) The author has described the tiger at the 'edge' of the jungle to show how a tiger would react and respond to the people encroaching his territory. He would scare them. This is done to contrast how the tiger behaves towards people when caged.

[The poet juxtaposes the tiger's response towards humans while it is in its natural habitat as opposed to when it is confined. The 'edge' of a jungle is described as that is most likely where the tiger would be able to see people.]

(iii) D. The tiger's strength is confined within the bars of the cage and this makes him less threatening. [The line 'His strength behind bars' is used to indicate how all the power and ferociousness that a tiger possesses is contained in a concrete cage. This thus makes a fearsome creature less threatening.]

(iv) The tiger ignores the visitors because:

♦ he is disinterested in his confined environment and feels indifferent towards the visitors

♦ he is protecting himself from the constant intrusion and confinement of zoo life

♦ he feels sad as the visitors looking at him remind him of his powerlessness

♦ his freedom is more important to him than entertaining visitors