Our Casuarina Trees By Toru Dutt
About the poet:
Toru Dutt- The pride of Indian womanhood was born in Rambagan, Calcutta on March 4th, 1856 brought up in an atmosphere of ‘sweetness and light’ and from her early childhood, she inherited cultural and literary values.T he knowledge of Sanskrit made a deep impression on her young mind and an ardent lover of India’s glorious past.
She was very pious and had deeply read the Hindu religion and myths credited with being the first Indian English poet extensively to use Indian Myths.
Toru Dutt is one of the most talented poets in Indo-Anglian literature. Her poetry comprises ‘A Sheaf Gleaned
in French Fields’ consisting of her translations of French poetry into English and ‘Ancient Ballads’ and ‘Legends of Hindustan’ which compiles her translations and adaptations from Sanskrit literature. She has also written the poem ‘A Sea of Foliage’.
About the text:
The poem was published in 1881. Toru Dutt celebrates the majesty of the casuarina tree that she used to see by her window in the garden. She remembers her happy childhood days spent under it. She revives her memories with her beloved siblings. The memory of the tree is the only link she has been left with, about her past and the cheerfulness of that memory is what makes her relive her childhood.
Summary of the poem and its theme
The poem “Our Casuarina Tree” has been composed by the famous Indian poetess Toru Dutt. In spite of her premature death, she did a great work in English literature. This poem is included among her famous works.
The Poem ‘Our Casuarinas Tree’ is an objective description of the tree which stood in the house garden of the poetess. She records her own impression of the tree at different times of the day. The tree reminds her of her lost brother and sister with whom she used to play under the tree. The tree shares her joy and sorrow. All her childhood memories are associated with the tree. She personifies the tree and feels that it shares her sorrow through a long mournful dirge-like murmur. This lament of the tree is very intense and she could hear it in distant lands. In the silence of the night. The music rose in her and she could see the noble image of the tree and her childhood memories in her native land. So she wants to confer immortality upon the tree. She is confident that her love would defend the tree from oblivion curse, The theme of the Poem is a sense of awe, respect, affection and personal affinity of the poetess towards the tree. She expresses her affection and kinship with the tree.
Long Answer Questions
Q.1 How does the poetess compare the creeper to a huge python? What character of the tree has been highlighted?
Ans. The Poem ‘Our Casuarina Tree’ has been composed by Toru Dutt. In this poem, the poetess compares the creeper which is climbing up the casuarinas tree to a huge python. The creeper winds around the trunk of the tree and trees to reach its s highest point. The poetess admires the tree for its courage in the cattle of its survival against the creeper. The creeper is like a huge python which winds around its prey to kill it. The creeper also gives deep cuts in the old and rough trunk of the tree. No other could live in such a situation but the casuarinas display great courage against the creeper. It comes victorious. In this struggle and maintains its dignity and glory. The red flowers are hung in dusters as a mark of its victory. Birds and bees gather there all day making it a lively place. The poetess says that when it grows dark, a song of victory of the tree is resounded in the garden.
Q.2 What does the poetess see when she opens her casement at down?
Ans. The poem ‘Our Casurina Tree’ is an objective description of the Banyan tree which stood in the house garden of the poetess. She says that when she opens her window early morning, her eyes feel glad to see the Casuarina tree. Mostly in winter, she sees a grey baboon sitting on the highest branch like a statue watching the sunrise. Its young ones leap and play on the lower branches. The kokilas welcome the day in their melodious voice. The half awaken cows make their way to the grassland. The poetess sees the long shadow of the giant tree casting on the broad water tank. The beautiful water lilies bloom in the tank and look like the white show. The poetess feels soothed to see such a beautiful morning.
Q.3 For what reasons is the Casuarina tree dear to the poetess?
Ans. ‘Our casuarinas Tree’ is a well-known poem written by the Indian description of the casuarinas tree. The poetess admires the tree for many of its qualities. She says that the tree is very huge and symbolises dignity and glory but it is not dear to her because of its magnificence. She loves the tree because she had played beneath it with her brother and sister who are more in the world now. She recalls her memories of childhood when she spent the most memorable and happy time with her brother and sister. She loved them with intensity and had a deep affection for them. The tree is dear to her for their sakes. She humanizes the tree and believes that the tree shares her sorrow. Through a long mournful dirge-like murmur. She could feel the lament of the tree for her brother and sister. The tree seems to be an integral part of her memory whenever she remembers her cost brother and sister the image of the tree also appears in her memory so the casuarinas trees is so dear to the poetess.
Q.4 Who exhales a dirge-like murmur and for what reason?
Ans. The poetess expresses her grief on the death of her brother and sister whom she had lost at a very young age. The poetess has animated the casuarina tree and feels that it excels a dirge-like a murmur because it also wants to share her sorrow. The tree was also very dear to her brother and sister and it could not bear their death like the poetess. So through a long mournful dirge-like a murmur, the tree appears to share the sorrow of the poetess.
Q.5 Explain ‘Unknown, yet well known to the eye of faith’ with reference to the poem.
Ans. The poetess feels that someone is singing a dirge-like a murmur in the said memory of her brother and sister. Initially, she could not understand who shares her sorrow but then she realises that it is the lament of the tree for her brother and sister. At first, this lament was unknown to her but then she feels that it is the tree who is sharing her sorrow. She believes that the tree also misses her brother and sister as much as she does so, the lament of the tree is well known to the eye of faith. This lament of the tree is very intense and becomes the record of the pain of human race.
Q.2 How does giant tree war the scarf?
Ans. The casuarinas tree struggles for its survival and fights gallantly against the creeper. This is the struggle of its existence. The poetess says that no other tree could live in such a situation but casuarinas tree comes out a winner. The poetess says that the giant wears the scarf. It means that it maintains its dignity and glory. The red flowers hanging on the branches are shown as a mark of its victory against creeper.
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