§ The Trees
By Adrienne Rich
The poem ‘The Trees’ is composed by Adrienne Rich, an Amarican poet and a reformist. Adrienne Rich is a feminist and has been known to write about women rights and equality.
§ The poet uses trees as a metaphor for human beings especially for women.
§ The tone of the poem is sarcastic and criticising as the poet criticises the male dominated society to be unfair, unjust and inhuman to a section which has been suppressed, downtrodden and illtreated for ages.
§ The poet wants to sensitise the society against its cruel, unjust and unsympathetic treatment towards fair section and trees.
§ It is composed in blank verse and doesn’t follow any rhyming scheme. The poem is divided into four stanzas but the line length is irregular.
§ The poem highlights the theme that all the entities of this universe have a soul just like all of us and all deserve equal rights, respect and recognition.
§ A very significant message is conveyed through the poem that we should be sympathetic towards all the creatures and their rights shouldn’t be stripped in any case.
The poem describes the trees metaphorically as rebels. The trees are compared to women who have been stripped off their rights and due place in society for ages. They have decided to move out of their houses to carve a place in the society and recognise their identity.
The trees are mercilessly captivated by humans in their houses, verandah and balcony, but they have decided to revolt and go to their natural place - the forest where they are supposed to grow naturally and freely.
As women have confined indoors for ages, they have come weak and inconfident. They find it difficult to pull their roots and go out of the fourwalls just the trees look like newly discharged patients who are trying to recover and gain strength. Meanwhile, the forest has become empty, the birds have no place to sit and insects to hide. The Sun rays fall on bare land and can’t make a shadow as there are no trees.
However, next day, the forest will be full of trees, birds and all the natural elements. The roots of the trees are trying hard to pull off from the floor of the veranda and branches and leaves are doing the same to get away from the walls and windows of the house where they have remained suffocated and twisted due to lack of space. The trees move towards the forest in a struggling gait as they are weak and not recovered fully.
The poet is sitting in her house with the doors of the veranda open and very well could see the movement of trees. She is writing letters but does not want to mention this movement as she thinks, very soon everyone will come to know about it. May be she feels that the society won’t care and show any interest in this regard.
The moon is shining brightly in the night sky. The poet can smell the leaves and lichen which seem to leave the message that they are going to their right place. She can also hear as the window pane is breaking. As the trees move out, the fast wind coming from the forest welcomes them. As the trees reach the forest, the branches of tall and strong oak tree partially hide the moon. It appears as if the moon has been broken into several pieces like a mirror. The broken pieces of moon look like diamonds in the crown of oak which stands triumphantly signifying that it has attained freedom and its right to live a normal life in its natural place.
The poet is composed in blank verse as the lines of the poem don’t rhyme. the line length is irregular.
The trees inside are moving out into the forest, - personification
the forest that was empty all these days – Refrain, Imagery
where no bird could sit - personification
no insect hide - enjambment
no sun bury its feet in shadow – personification, Imagery
the forest that was empty all these nights – Refrain
will be full of trees by morning. – Imagery
All night the roots work – personification
to disengage themselves from the cracks – Consonance, Personification, imagery
in the veranda floor. – enjambment
The leaves strain toward the glass – Personification, Imagery, Consonance
small twigs stiff with exertion – Alliteration, Assonance
long-cramped boughs shuffling under the roof – Imagery, Personification
like newly discharged patients – Simile
half-dazed, moving - personification
to the clinic doors. – Metaphor, enjambment
writing long letters - enjambment
in which I scarcely mention the departure – Assonance
of the forest from the house. – Alliteration, repetition
The night is fresh, the whole moon shines – Repetition
in a sky still open – Alliteration, enjambment
the smell of leaves and lichen – Alliteration
still reaches like a voice into the rooms. – Simile, personification
The trees are stumbling forward – personification, imagery, pathos
into the night. Winds rush to meet them. – personification, Imagery, alliteration
The moon is broken like a mirror, - Simile, Alliteration, imagery
its pieces flash now in the crown – Metaphor, Imagery, alliteration
of the tallest oak - enjambment
Q. Read the extract and answer the questions that follow. RTC 1
“All night the roots work
to disengage themselves from the cracks
in the veranda floor.
The leaves strain toward the glass
small twigs stiff with exertion
long-cramped boughs shuffling under the roof”
i. Complete the sentence appropriately.
All the night the roots will be working because _____
ii. The poet has used a poetic device for ‘long cramped boughs’. What effect does she wish to create?
iii. State whether the statement ‘Trees are comparatively used for living creatures’ is TRUE or FALSE.
iv. What types of change is predicted through this lines?
v. How have the small twigs become stiff?