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A POISON TREE - Class 10 1st Language English Textbook Solutions



II. About William Blake

Blake  was  born  on  November  28,  1757.  Unlike  many well-known  writers  of  his  day,  Blake  was  born  into  a family  of  moderate  means.  His  father,  James,  was  a hosier,  and  the  family  lived  at  28  Broad  Street  in London  in  an  unpretentious  but  “respectable” neighborhood.  In  all,  seven  children  were  born  to James  and  Catherine  Harmitage  Blake,  but  only  five survived  infancy. Blake seems to have  been closest to his youngest brother, Robert, who died young.  Poet,  painter,  engraver,  and  visionary  William  Blake worked to bring about a change both in the social order and  in  the  minds  of  men.  Though  in  his  lifetime  his work  was  largely  neglected  or  dismissed,  he  is  now considered one of the leading lights of English poetry, and his work has only grown in popularity. In his Life of  William  Blake  (1863)  Alexander  Gilchrist  warned his readers that Blake “neither wrote nor drew for the many,  hardly  for  work‟  y-day  men  at  all,  rather  for children  and  angels;  himself  „a  divine  child,‟  whose playthings were sun, moon, and stars, the heavens and the earth.” Yet Blake himself believed that his writings were  of  national  importance  and  that  they  could  be understood  by  a  majority  of  his  peers.  Far  from  being an  isolated  mystic,  Blake  lived  and  worked  in  the teeming metropolis of London at a time of great social and  political  change  that  profoundly  influenced  his writing.  In  addition  to  being  considered  one  of  the most  visionary  of  English  poets  and  one  of  the  great progenitors  of  English  Romanticism,  his  visual artwork is highly regarded around the world.

V. Question & Answers  

1. What is the theme of the poem "A Poison Tree"?   
  -  Although  William  Blake's  "A  Poison  Tree"  is about  anger,  the  central  theme  and  message  is  about the  suppression  of  anger.  The  poem  argues  that  like  a tree,  anger  grows  if  one  suppresses  it.  The  allegory within the poem emphasizes that when a person  hides or  denies  their  emotions,  they  will  become  poisoned with bitterness and more vengefulness.

2. What is the moral of the poem "A Poison Tree"?   
Ans: -
The  moral  lesson  is a  lesson on the dangers of holding in angry feelings about a person.   When  the  poem  begins,  the  narrator of  the  poem  tells his readers that he was angry with a friend. We do not know  the  cause  of  the  anger,  but  we  know  that  the narrator  spoke to  his  friend  about  his  feelings.  He  got his  feelings  out  in  the  open,  he  was  no  longer  angry, and the relationship was kept whole. Contrast  that  with  the  second  time  that  the  narrator  is angry  with  someone.  This  time  the  narrator  does  not get his feelings out in the open. Instead he feeds those angry.  

3. What is the difference between anger and wrath in "A Poison Tree"?   
Ans: -
In the poem, the speaker experiences anger and wrath toward his friend, but when he talks to his friend about  it,  this  puts  an  end  to  his  negative  feelings. However,  when  he  feels  anger  and  wrath  toward  his enemy,  he  does  not  talk  about  it,  and  so  his  negative feelings  grow.  The  speaker  continues  to  nurse  these feelings,  and  so  they  grow  bigger  and  bigger  and eventually result in the death of his foe. The speaker is "glad" to see his foe dead beneath his tree.  Merriam  Webster  defines  anger  as  a  strong  feeling  of displeasure  and  usually  antagonism  (opposition  or hostility).  Wrath,  on  the  other  hand,  suggests  revenge and retribution for a wrong or slight. When the speaker talks to his  friend about his  feelings,  it takes away  his need  to  exact  revenge  for  whatever  created  the  anger to begin with; when he decides not to address.  

4. How did the poet's anger with his friend end?  
Ans: -
The poet expressed his anger towards his friend as  well  as  his  enemy.  But  he  specified  the  difference between two types of anger. He told that when he was angry  with  a  friend,  he  convinced  his  own  heart  to forgive  his  friend.  He  sorted out  the  differences  with his  friend  by  expressing  his  anger  to  him  and  by discussing his own points of view with him. Even if he was hurt and he knew that his friend had done injustice to him, he would have tried his best to forget the past and  end  the  feeling  of  vengeance  in  his  heart.  In  this way, the poet's anger, with his friend, came to an end.   

5. Describe how his anger kept growing?  
Ans:  - 
The  poet  confessed  that  when  he  was  angry with  his  enemy,  he  did  not  reveal  his  anger  to  his enemy. He feared that if he expressed his anger to him, his enemy would do harm to him. So he suppressed his anger.  Day  and  night  he  shed  tears  thinking  about the ill  or  the  injustice  that  had  been  caused  by  his  enemy to  him.  Thus,  he  watered  the  tree  of  anger  with  his tears, allowing the  anger to grow. He also aroused his anger with his false smiles and cunning tricks towards his  enemy.  Since  the  poet  kept  his  anger  within himself  and had  his own  fear and tears, his anger kept growing every day.  

6.  Describe  the  effect  of  the  poisonous  fruit  on  the 'enemy'.  
Ans: -
The poet, William Blake, revealed  his  anger to his  friend  and  the  anger  ended.  But  when  the  poet concealed his anger from his enemy, the anger grew. It grew  like  a  tree  that  bore  a  bright  apple.  His  enemy saw  the  shining  apple.  Even  though  he  knew  that  the apple  belonged  to  the  poet,  he  wanted  to  have  it.  So the  enemy  came  secretly  into  the  garden  when  it  was night  and  ate  the  apple.  In  the  morning,  the  poet's anger changed into gladness when he found the enemy outstretched  under  the  poison  tree.  The  apple  in  the tree of anger symbolizes the poisonous effect.  

7. What might have caused the conflict which led to the poet becoming angry with his enemy? Think of one  such  situation  that  you  have  experienced. Describe how you felt and how the enmity grew and things became worse.  
Ans:  - 
For  the  poet,  it  must  have  been  quite  personal life  changing  issue  like  lover,  parents,  cousins,  etc., than  professional  conflict.  When  my  father  was  taken to hospital  for  jaundice, he was detected of pancreatic cancer.  At  that  time  my  elder  sister  who  had  always projected  herself  as  a  decision  maker  kept  silent because of the fear of deadly disease. She did not play her  part  well.  I  naturally  became  very  angry  with  her and stopped talking. When our father died, she did not play her role in the ceremonial practices but brought a whole lot of her friends to be sympathized. I will never forgive  her.  Anger  has  grown  to  a  level  where  both families have stopped talking to each other.  

8.  What  is  the  consequence  of  anger?  How  is  it explained  in  the  poem  'A  Poison  Tree'  by  Blake?
Ans:  -
  A  Poison  Tree  is  a  poem  that  focuses  on  the emotion  of  anger  and  the  consequences  of  it.  It  deals with  the  darker  side  of  the  human  psyche.  The  poet expressed his anger, everything was fine, but when he kept it inside, it began to grow, eventually becoming a metaphorical  tree  with  poison  fruit.  The  foe  ends  up under  the  tree,  destroyed  by  the  speaker's  pent  up anger.  Poet  advises  the  readers  to  express  the  anger rather  than  holding  it  to  oneself.  Anger  sustained damages both.   

9. What motivated the poet to write on anger?  
-  William  Blake  wrote this  poem  in  1794  and  it first  appeared  in  his  book  Songs  of  Experience. Society  at  that  time  was  encouraged  to  bottle  up emotions  and  to  present  a  polite  and  unruffled  person to  the  world.  Blake  thought  this  approach  unhealthy and  advocated  a  more  expressive  mode  of  being, especially  with  regards  to  potentially  festering emotion.  His  ideas  were  against  the  prevailing attitudes  of  the  church  and  state.  The  original  title Blake  had  for  this  poem,  Christian  Forbearance, reflects this.  

10. Has the figure of speech been used effectively in the poem? Justify  
Ans:  -
  A  Poison  Tree  uses  metaphor,  antithesis  and biblical  associations  to  highlight  the  self-damage  that can  proceed  from  suppressing  anger.  The  emphasis  is on  letting  go  on  negative  emotions  and  moving  on with  life  before  this  energy impacts  on  the  health  and wellbeing of others.  The worth of the speaker becomes a metaphorical tree bearing  a  poison  apple.  This  allusion  to  the  book  of genesis chapter 3 is a clear one. The tree of knowledge of good and evil  is the poem's tree. The serpent  is  the speaker,  both  tempting  and  deceitful,  Adam  and  Eve are the foe, both guilty of disobedience.  The  poem  carries  with  it  a  potent  message,  anger management  which  is  the  focal  issue  for  many  in society.  Blake‟s  prescient  poem  hits  the  nail  on  the head  with  its  antithetical  argument  for  letting  go  of negative energy. 
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