A Tiger in the Zoo Poem Question and Answers Class 10 English

‘A Tiger in the Zoo” is poem by Leslie Norris. Here are the answers to questions given in Class 10 NCERT English textbook. Click here for notes & explanations on ‘A Tiger in the Zoo’.

Think about the Poem

(i) Find the words that describe the movements and actions of the tiger in the cage and in the wild. Arrange them in two columns.
(ii) Find the words that describe the two places, and arrange them in two columns.

Now try to share ideas about how the poet uses words and images to contrast the two situations.

Answer: Contrasting Movements and Places:

In the Cage:

  • Stalks (line 1)
  • Quiet rage (line 1)
  • Pacing (implied by “stalking”)
  • Ignoring (line 4)
  • Stares (line 5)

In the Wild:

  • Lurking (line 2)
  • Sliding (line 2)
  • Snarling (line 3)
  • Terrorising (line 3)



  • Few steps (line 1)
  • Concrete cell (line 4)


  • Shadow (line 2)
  • Long grass (line 2)
  • Water hole (line 2)
  • Jungle’s edge (line 3)
  • Brilliant stars (line 5) (although technically not a place, it represents the vastness beyond the cage)

Contrast Through Words and Images:

The poem uses strong contrasting words and images to highlight the difference between the tiger’s natural habitat and its captivity. In the cage, the movements are limited (“few steps”), quiet (“velvet quiet,” “ignoring”), and frustrated (“quiet rage”). In the wild, the movements are stealthy (“lurking,” “sliding”), aggressive (“snarling,” “terrorising”), and free. Similarly, the cage is described with cold, hard words (“concrete cell”) while the wild is full of life (“long grass,” “water hole”). This contrast emphasizes the loss of freedom and the tiger’s yearning for its natural world.

(i) On pads of velvet quiet,
In his quiet rage.
(ii) And stares with his brilliant eyes
At the brilliant stars.

What do you think is the effect of this repetition?

Answer: The repetition of the word “quiet” in lines 1 and 2 (“pads of velvet quiet” and “quiet rage”) creates a sense of paradox. The tiger’s movement is quiet, but it masks a deep inner rage. This emphasizes the frustration of the caged animal.

Similarly, the repetition of “brilliant” in lines 5 and 6 (“brilliant eyes” and “brilliant stars”) connects the tiger to the natural world even in captivity. Despite the bars, the tiger retains a connection to the vastness beyond the zoo.

Answer: Arguments for Zoos:

  • Protection: Zoos can offer safe havens for endangered species, allowing them to breed and potentially be reintroduced to the wild.
  • Education: Zoos can educate the public about the importance of conservation and the threats faced by wildlife.

Arguments Against Zoos:

  • Captivity: Many argue that zoos deprive animals of their natural habitat and behaviors, causing them psychological distress.
  • Focus on entertainment: Critics argue some zoos prioritize entertainment over conservation efforts.

Alternatives to Zoos:

  • Wildlife sanctuaries provide animals with larger, more natural enclosures, often focusing on rescue and rehabilitation rather than breeding programs.
  • Virtual reality experiences can educate the public about animals without keeping them captive.

Discussion Points:

  • Are the benefits of zoos, such as education and conservation efforts, worth the potential drawbacks of captivity?
  • Can zoos be improved to provide better living conditions for animals?
  • How can we educate the public about wildlife conservation without relying solely on zoos?

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