Monday 22 May 2023

How to Tell Wild Animals


How to Tell Wild Animals

                                          By Carolyn Wells

Analysis :


·         ‘How to Tell Wild Animals’ is a humorous poem composed by Carolyn Wells, an American poet.

·        The poem is humorous in tone and lyrical in form. It is humorous but it suggests some dangerous ways to identify wild animals like Asian lion, Bengal tiger, leopard, bear, hynna, chameleon and crocodile.

·        Clever use of vocabulary makes it an interesting poem.

·        The poem is composed in 6 stanzas of six lines each rhyming ababcc. Lot of poetic repetition, alliteration and beautiful use of sound poetic devices make it musical, rhythmic and lyrical in nature.

·        The poem conveys in a very light hearted manner the essential characteristics and physical features of animals.

Summary / Synopsis :

·        The poet talks about the dangerous ways to identify wild animals and describes some of them such as Asian lion, Bengal tiger, leopard, bear, crocodile, hyena, and chameleon with their physical features, sounds and other distinct characteristics to distinguish them. 

·        The poet tells if someone ever visits the forests and happens to encounter Asian Lion, Bengal tiger or a leopard, he/she’ll be able to identify them by the way they attack upon, but unfortunately by that time the person will be eaten by the animal and be dead. This idea of 'identifying while dying’ is humorous and adventurous.

·        The poem describes a bear that can be identified with its friendly but suffocating hug, a hyena that is distinct for its betraying laugh, a crocodile which is known for its fake tears while swallowing its victim and a chameleon known for changing its colour. The poem is, though very educative and informative, is humorous, witty and interesting. 


    Stanza wise explanation

    

    Stanza 1

     If ever you should go by chance 

    To jungles in the east; 

    And if there should to you advance 

    A large and tawny beast, 

    If he roars at you as you’re dyin’ 

    You’ll know it is the Asian Lion...

    The poem discusses about the dangerous ways to identify wild animals and to distinguish one animal from the other. The poet suggests some dangerous ways of identifying wild animals presenting adventure and humour. In the first stanza the poet describes Asian lion who is found in eastern part of the world is a large beast and wild animal. Its skin colour is yellow and its roar is frightening. The poet humorously describes a man's encounter with lion when he happens to roam about the forest. When he by chance moves towards the east direction, he would find Asian Lion. That person would be able to identify the lion when he attacks him with a loud roar and eats him to death. It looks futile but funny to identify a lion while dying.


     Stanza 2

      Or if some time when roaming round, 

     A noble wild beast greets you, 

     With black stripes on a yellow ground, 

     Just notice if he eats you. 

    This simple rule may help you learn 

     The Bengal Tiger to discern.

     The poet further tells that if someone ever visits the forest and happens to encounter the Bengal tiger, he/she’ll be able to identify the animal when the animal attacks upon the person. That time the person would be able to see that the animal had black stripes on his yellow skin. But by the time he is able to identify that animal is Bengal tiger, unfortunately the person would be eaten up by the animal and be dead. The poet suggests that the animal is so quick that he won't allow the victim to do anything but fall in the death snare. This idea of 'identifying while dying’ is humorous and adventurous.

     Stanza 3

     If strolling forth, a beast you view,

Whose hide with spots is peppered,

As soon as he has lept on you,

You’ll know it is the Leopard.

’Twill do no good to roar with pain,

He’ll only lep and lep again.

Next stanza of the poem tells if someone happens to walk in the forest without any plans and encounters a leopard, he/she’ll be able to identify the animal by the way he attacks upon the person. The leopard would jump and jump again on his prey until he is dead. But unfortunately by the time the person notices the spots scattered on the leopard's body and identifies the animal, he would be crushed down and eaten up by the animal. That crying loud in pain would be useless as no one would be around for the person's help.

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 Stanza 4

If when you’re walking round your yard

You meet a creature there,

Who hugs you very, very hard,

Be sure it is a Bear.

If you have any doubts, I guess

He’ll give you just one more caress.

The poem further describes a bear that can be identified with its friendly but suffocating 'bear-hug'. The bear is known for its friendly hug but the bear is such a large and heavy animal that even its powerful hug can crush a person and suffocate him to death. The bears can be found at the edge of the jungle and outskirts of residentials areas/villages. Very humorously the poet tells that we should not be confused with its hug and it shouldn't be taken as loving gesture because its two tight hugs can take our breath away in few moments.

 Stanza 5 

Though to distinguish beasts of prey

A novice might nonplus,

The Crocodile you always may

Tell from the Hyena thus:

Hyenas come with merry smiles;

But if they weep they’re Crocodiles

The poem here describes rather smaller animals such as a hyena and crocodile. They are the beasts of prey. A beginner might find it confusing and difficult to identify these animals. They are clever and expert in catching their prey. A hyena is distinct for its betraying laugh which confuses its prey and it is easily able to catch hold of its prey. A crocodile is known for its fake tears which it uses to confuse its victim and make it a prey. It sheds fake tears while swallowing its victim.

 Stanza 6

The true Chameleon is small,

A lizard sort of thing;

He hasn’t any ears at all,

And not a single wing.

If there is nothing on the tree,

’Tis the chameleon you see.

·       Towards the end of the poem the poet describes a really small animal which is a chameleon. A Chameleon looks somewhat similar to a lizard and is known for changing its colour. It doesn't have ears nor it has wings. It gets camouflaged with the tree and one will doubt his eyes whether it is there on the tree or not. Such animals are clever and alert in catching their prey by making them confused. Hence, there are certain ways, characteristics and features which may help us identify the wild animals (large or small). Simultaneously, these ways may prove fatal and dangerous as they may cause death while identification.

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   Poetic Devices :

    A large and tawny beast,  - Imagery

    If he roars at you as you’re dyin’  - Humour, Onomatopoeia

    You’ll know it is the Asian Lion... Assonance

    A noble wild beast greets you - Sarcasm, paradox

    With black stripes on a yellow ground,  - Imagery

     Just notice if he eats you.  -  Humour

Whose hide with spots is peppered,  - Imagery

As soon as he has lept on you,  - Repetition, Poetic license

’Twill do no good to roar with pain,  - Humour, Assonance, Onomatpoeia

He’ll only lep and lep again - Humour, Poetic license, Repetition

If when you’re walking round your yard  - Alliteration, Consonance

Who hugs you very, very hard,  - Sarcasm, Repetition, Humour

Be sure it is a Bear.  - Alliteration, Assonance

He’ll give you just one more caress. - Humour, Sarcasm

A novice might nonplus,  - Poetic license

Hyenas come with merry smiles;  -  humour

But if they weep they’re Crocodiles - Repetition, humour, personication

A lizard sort of thing;  - Imagery

He hasn’t any ears at all,  - Alliteration, Imagery

And not a single wing.  - Assonance, Imagery

If there is nothing on the tree,  - Assonance

’Tis the chameleon you see. - humour


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Important Question Answers

Q1. Much of the humour in the poem arises from the way language is used, though the ideas are funny as well. Elaborate the examples of humour in the poem.

Ans.  The poem is humorous in tone and theme, and the way interesting vocabulary is used by the poet. It is hilarious when the poet suggests some dangerous ways to identify wild animals like Asian lion, Bengal tiger, leopard, bear, hynna, chameleon and crocodile. He tells if someone ever visits the forests and happens to encounter Asian Lion, Bengal tiger or a leopard, he/she’ll be able to identify them by the way they attack, but unfortunately by that time the person will be eaten by the animal and be dead. This idea of identifying them while dying is humorous and adventurous.

The description of bear that can be identified with its friendly but suffocating hug is quite amusing. The hyena's betraying laugh and crocodile's fake tears while swallowing its victim are yet another example of wit and humour. Clever use of vocabulary to describe the animals makes it an interesting poem. Use of the words 'lep', 'lept' and 'nonplus' and 'lizard sort of thing' tickles us heartily.

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RTC

As soon as he has lept on you,

You’ll know it is the Leopard.

’Twill do no good to roar with pain,

He’ll only lep and lep again

Qa. Do you think the words ‘lept’ and ‘lep’  are spelt correctly? Why does the poet spell them like this?

Ans. No, the words lept and lep are not spelled. the correct spellings are 'leapt' and 'leap'. these words are misspelt to create musical effect and produce sound like leopard.

Qb. Tell the prevailing poetic device used in these four lines.

And. Humour and poetic repetition

Qc. Who will roar in pain? Why?

Ans. The one who encounters a leopard will roar in pain as the leopard will eat him/her. 

Qd. Why does the poet describe the animal?

Ans. The poet describes the animals for the readers' information but adding a pinch of humour also describes the condition of the person who happenes to meet the animal in the forest unfortunately though.

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