Geography Lesson Poem Summary & Explanation Poetic Devices

‘Geography Lesson’ poem questions and answers, Summary and word meanings for CBSE Class 8 NCERT English. Geography Lesson Class 8 English Honeydew Book Poem 2 – Detailed explanation of the poem along with meanings of difficult words and literary devices used in the poem. Given here is the complete explanation of the Poem, along with summary. Click here for Question Answers of the poem ‘Geography Lesson’

About the Poem ‘Geography Lesson’

Poet Julfikar Ghosh, while beginning his poem explained to readers that when a jet plane is flying and reaches an altitude of about one mile above the ground, it becomes clear how the city was developed and what its purpose was. He noted how inevitable it was to see how unplanned and un-stylish the city looked before the jet started flying. When the jet reached a certain height of about ten thousand feet, he discussed how it became evident why cities were built along the banks of rivers in the country and why valleys were inhabited. Additionally, it could be clearly seen how the representation of land and water attracted people from behind. The poet mentions that as soon as the jet reached an altitude of six miles, it could be clearly seen that the Earth is round and there is more sea than land on it. All these facts became clear, but one thing the poet could not understand was the hatred present among human beings. He couldn’t comprehend why people found reasons to divide the city and build walls or why men killed each other. Even from such great heights, these questions remain unanswered.

Summary of Poem Geography Lesson

Zulfikar Ghose wrote a poem about his observations of the city from an aerial perspective at ten thousand feet above the ground. As the plane ascended, he pondered on certain questions. As the plane took off, Ghose noticed the reason why cities were developed in a particular way, and how the ground seemed chaotic when viewed from the air. At ten thousand feet above, he realized the reasons behind the existence of cities, rivers, and valleys, and why humans were attracted to land and water. When the plane reached an altitude of six miles, Ghose observed that the earth was round, with more sea than land. However, he found it challenging to understand why humans hated each other, built walls, and engaged in violence.

Summary in Hindi

कवि जुल्फिकार घोष ने अपनी कविता “भूगोल पाठ” शुरू करते हुए पाठकों को बताया कि जब जेट उड़ान भरता है और लगभग छह इंच से एक मील की ऊंचाई पर होता है तो यह सब कैसे समझ में आता है। इससे शहर के विकास का उद्देश्य स्पष्ट होता है। कवि ने उल्लेख किया है कि जेट के उड़ान भरने से पहले शहर कितना अनियोजित और गैर-स्टाइलिश दिखता था। जब जेट लगभग दस हजार फीट की एक निश्चित ऊंचाई पर पहुंच गया, तो उन्होंने बताया कि देश में नदियों के किनारे शहर क्यों बने थे और घाटियाँ क्यों बसी हुई थीं। इसके अलावा, उन्होंने यह भी समझाया कि भूमि और पानी के प्रतिच्छेदन ने पुरुषों को पीछे से आकर्षित किया।

कवि ने लिखा है कि जब जेट छह मील की ऊंचाई तक पहुंचा, तब उसे पृथ्वी के गोल होने और उसपर जमीन से अधिक समुद्र होने का सच स्पष्ट नजर आया। हालांकि, उसे मानव जाति के बीच मौजूद नफरत का कारण समझ नहीं आ रहा था। उसे यह समझ नहीं आ रहा था कि लोगों ने शहर को दीवारों से बांटने का कारण क्या है या पुरुषों ने एक-दूसरे को क्यों मार डाला। इस सवाल का जवाब उसे इतनी ऊँचाई से भी नहीं मिला।

इसका मतलब है कि वास्तव में मानव जाति के बीच नफरत का कारण बहुत संगठित और गहरा है, जो कि उस समय भी हमारे समझ से परे था। इसे समझने के लिए हमें और भी गहराई से उस समय के सामाजिक, आर्थिक, राजनीतिक और सांस्कृतिक परिवेश को समझने की जरूरत होती है। इससे हमें यह भी समझ मिलता है कि नफरत को कम करने के लिए हमें एक-दूसरे की समझ, सहयोग और समझौते के लिए तैयार होना चाहिए।

Stanza Wise Explanation of the Poem ‘Geography Lesson’

Stanza 1

When the jet sprang into the sky,
it was clear why the city had
developed the way it had,
seeing it scaled six inches to the mile.
There seemed an inevitability
about what on ground had looked haphazard,
unplanned and without style
When the jet sprang into the sky

Word Meanings:

Sprang– move rapidly upwards| Scaled– changed the size proportionately| Inevitability– the quality of being certain to happen or impossible to avoid| Haphazard– lacking any obvious principle of organization, random or chaotic| unplanned – not designed or intended in advance| style – a particular procedure by which something is done; a manner or way.


The stanza describes a scene where a jet takes off and flies over a city, providing a new perspective that makes the city’s layout and development seem more understandable.

“When the jet sprang into the sky” means that the jet took off and ascended into the air quickly.

“It was clear why the city had developed the way it had” means that the new perspective from above made it apparent why the city had grown and developed in the way that it did.

“Seeing it scaled six inches to the mile” means that the speaker is viewing the city from a height that allows them to see six inches of land for every mile of distance.

“There seemed an inevitability about what on ground had looked haphazard, unplanned and without style” means that from the ground, the city might have appeared disorganized and lacking in aesthetic design, but from the air, the speaker can see how the city’s development was necessary and logical.

Overall, the stanza suggests that viewing something from a new perspective can change one’s understanding of it.

Stanza 2

When the jet reached ten thousand feet,
it was clear why the country
had cities where the rivers ran
and why the valleys were populated.
The logic of geography —
that land and water attracted man —
was clearly delineated
When the jet reached ten thousand feet.

Word Meanings:

delineated – clearly shown, described or set out in detail. example: The report delineated the steps necessary to complete the project on time.


This stanza appears to describe a moment during a flight when the speaker gains a newfound appreciation for the role of geography in shaping human settlement patterns. The stanza can be broken down and analysed as follows:

“When the jet reached ten thousand feet” – The stanza begins with a specific moment in time, marking the point when the jet reaches an altitude of 10,000 feet. This could be seen as a metaphorical elevation of the speaker’s perspective, as they gain a new and broader view of the landscape below.

“it was clear why the country had cities where the rivers ran and why the valleys were populated” – From this new vantage point, the speaker gains insight into the distribution of human settlements across the landscape. They observe that cities tend to develop near rivers, while valleys are often inhabited. This suggests that the availability of water and fertile land are key factors in determining where people choose to live.

“The logic of geography — that land and water attracted man — was clearly delineated” – The speaker draws a broader conclusion from their observations, noting that the pattern of human settlement they have observed is a reflection of a broader “logic of geography”. This logic, they suggest, is based on the idea that humans are naturally drawn to areas with abundant resources like water and fertile land.

Overall, this stanza suggests that the speaker is struck by the power of geography to shape human settlement patterns, and by extension, human history and culture. The idea that people are drawn to certain areas based on the availability of resources is a simple but powerful insight that can help explain many aspects of human behaviour and development.

Stanza 3

When the jet rose six miles high,
it was clear the earth was round
and that it had more sea than land.
But it was difficult to understand
that the men on the earth found
causes to hate each other, to build
walls across cities and to kill.
From that height, it was not clear why.

Word Meanings:

  • Men: adult human males.
  • Causes: something that makes an event or situation happen.
  • Hate: intense or passionate dislike.
  • Build: construct or erect (something).
  • Walls: a continuous vertical brick or stone structure that encloses or divides an area of land.
  • Across: from one side to the other of (something).
  • Kill: cause the death of (a person, animal, or other living thing).


This stanza reflects on the perspective gained from a high altitude, specifically from a jet that has risen six miles high. The first two lines state that at this height, it becomes evident that the earth is round, and that there is more sea than land. This observation highlights the power of a different vantage point, one that allows for a greater understanding of the world’s physical characteristics.

However, the speaker notes that despite this newfound perspective, it remains difficult to comprehend why people on earth find reasons to hate each other and create divisions through walls and violence. This observation shows that while the physical world can be clearly seen from a distance, the social and political conflicts that plague humanity are not easily comprehensible from afar.

The final line of the stanza, “From that height, it was not clear why,” emphasizes this point by suggesting that the distance provided by the jet’s altitude is not enough to understand the complexities of human behavior and societal conflict. This line also implies that in order to truly understand these issues, a closer, more intimate examination of the social and political landscape is necessary.

Overall, the stanza presents a contrast between the clarity of physical observation from a high altitude and the difficulty of comprehending the reasons behind human behaviour and societal conflict. The final line suggests that while distance can offer a new perspective, it is ultimately not enough to understand the intricacies of human experience.

Poetic Devices in the Poem Geographic Lesson’

  1. Repetition: The line “When the jet sprang into the sky” is repeated at the beginning of both stanzas, creating a sense of continuity and emphasizing the perspective of the speaker from high above.
  2. Imagery: The use of sensory details like “scaled six inches to the mile” and “ten thousand feet” helps to create a vivid image of the landscape below, and the contrast between the haphazard appearance on the ground and the clear patterns seen from above.
  3. Alliteration: the occurrence of the same letter or sound at the beginning of adjacent or closely connected words.  e.g., “sprang into the sky”, “seeing it scaled six inches to the mile” and “why the valleys were populated”
  4. Personification: The idea that “land and water attracted man” in the second stanza is an example of personification, as it suggests that the natural world has agency and influence over human behaviour.
  5. Enjambment: The lines in both stanzas continue without pause or punctuation, creating a sense of momentum and fluidity in the speaker’s thoughts.
  6. Metaphor: The image of “walls across cities” and “causes to hate each other” in the final stanza is a metaphor for the divisive and destructive tendencies of humanity, contrasting with the unity and coherence of the natural world seen from above.
  7. Rhetorical question: The final line of the poem asks a rhetorical question, “From that height, it was not clear why,” inviting the reader to consider the paradoxical nature of human conflict.

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