‘How to Wild Animals’ Question and Answers Class 10 English

You would get here solutions to the poem “How to Tell Wild Animals” given in the Class 10 NCERT English Textbook ‘First Flight’. Click here for more study resources.

Thinking about the Poem

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

Ans. Rhyme of ‘dyin’’ and ‘lion’: The words “dyin’” and “lion” are intended to rhyme, though they do not traditionally rhyme perfectly. The poet uses a near rhyme (or slant rhyme) to create a playful sound that fits the humorous and whimsical tone of the poem.

Pronunciation Tip: You can emphasize the ending “-in” of “dyin’” and the ending “-on” of “lion” to make them sound more similar, though they won’t be a perfect rhyme.

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

Ans. Lion: The poet suggests you can identify an Asian Lion if a large, tawny beast roars at you while you’re in a life-threatening situation. Essentially, if you hear a loud roar as you’re in peril, it’s an Asian Lion.

Tiger: The Bengal Tiger can be identified if you see a majestic beast with black stripes on a yellow background, and it attacks or eats you. The poet humorously implies that you’ll know it’s a tiger if it ends up eating you.

According to the poet, we can do it in the animal’s natural habitat i.e. the forest in the east

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

Ans. The words “lept” and “lep” are archaic or non-standard spellings of “leapt” and “leap,” respectively. The poet likely uses these spellings for humorous effect, to fit the rhyme scheme, and to maintain a playful tone. These spellings give the poem an old-fashioned charm and contribute to its whimsical nature.

Q.4. Do you know what a ‘bearhug’ is? It’s a friendly and strong hug — such as bears are thought to give, as they attack you! Again, hyenas are thought to laugh, and crocodiles to weep (‘crocodile tears’) as they swallow their victims. Are there similar expressions and popular ideas about wild animals in your own language(s)?

Ans. A “bearhug” is a strong and affectionate embrace, resembling the way a bear might wrap its arms around its prey. In a humorous context, it is suggested that a bear’s hug, though deadly, is an indicator of its identity. Similar expressions and ideas about wild animals in various languages might include:

  • English: “Crocodile tears” for insincere crying.
    • Bearhug: A strong, friendly hug reminiscent of a bear’s powerful grip.
    • Hyenas Laugh: Hyenas are often depicted as laughing.
  • Hindi: “हाथी के दांत खाने के और दिखाने के और” (The elephant has different teeth for eating and showing) to describe deceitful behaviour.
    • “भेड़िया आया” (“The wolf is coming”) for false alarms, and
    • “लोमड़ी की चालाकी” (“The cunning of a fox”) for slyness.
  • Spanish: “Lágrimas de cocodrilo” (Crocodile tears) for false sadness.

Q.5. 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?

Ans. The “correct” way to write the line might be “A novice might be nonplussed.” However, the poet’s use of “nonplus” as a verb is more concise, playful and fits the rhyme scheme and meter better. The slight grammatical liberty taken enhances the whimsical tone of the poem.

Q.6. Can you find other examples of poets taking liberties with language, either in English or in your own language(s)? Can you find examples of humorous poems in your own language(s)?

Ans. Some examples of poets using liberties with language are given below:

  • E.E. Cummings often played with syntax and grammar. In his poem “anyone lived in a pretty how town,” he rearranges standard grammar for poetic effect.
  • Lewis Carroll’s “Jabberwocky” is famous for its playful use of invented words and nonsensical language: “’Twas brillig, and the slithy toves did gyre and gimble in the wabe.
  • Edward Lear’s limericks often feature humorous and whimsical language, such as in “The Owl and the Pussycat.
  • Ogden Nash is known for his creative rhymes and playful twists of language, like in “Candy is dandy, but liquor is quicker.”

Examples of Humorous Poems: Edward Lear’s limericks and Lewis Carroll’s “Jabberwocky” are humorous English poems with playful language. In Hindi, Surendra Sharma’s humorous poetry often bends grammatical rules for comedic effect.

Q.7. 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.

Ans. Here are a few lines from the poem that stand out for their humour and playful use of language:

  • “If he roars at you as you’re dyin’ / You’ll know it is the Asian Lion…”: The humor comes from the absurdity of the situation and the playful near-rhyme of “dyin’” and “lion.”
  • “Just notice if he eats you. / This simple rule may help you learn / The Bengal Tiger to discern.”: The ironic suggestion that being eaten is a simple way to identify a tiger is darkly humorous.
  • “He’ll only lep and lep again.”: The repetitive and archaic use of “lep” adds a whimsical rhythm and emphasizes the relentless nature of the leopard.

These examples highlight how the poet uses language creatively to add humour and engage the reader. The exaggerated scenarios and playful twists on language make the poem both entertaining and memorable.

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