Summary of Leslie Norris’s A Tiger in the Zoo

A Tiger in the Zoo is a poem written by Leslie Norris.


The tiger in the zoo walks in the limited space provided to it in the cage. It takes a few steps. There are stripes on its body that are quite prominent. Its paws are soft like velvet. No noise is produced when it walks on its ‘pads of velvet’. The tiger is silent but in anger.

The poet suggests that the cage is not the proper place for the tiger. It is not its natural habitat. Usually, tigers are found sitting under long grass near a stream. As soon as they see their prey like deer coming, they slide silently through the grass and kill them. The poet wants to convey that the tiger should be there in the forest, in its natural habitat.

The poet then gives another suggestion that the tiger should be sitting at the jungle’s edge in close vicinity of a village. He should be terrorizing the people passing that way by its sharp teeth, baring its claws and producing the low sound of anger.

The poet now shows deep sympathy at the plight (unpleasant situation) of the tiger that is imprisoned in a cell made of concrete. He cannot come out of the cell because strong bars are fixed. Thus the poet says that the tiger’s strength is locked behind the bars. He shows no interest in looking at the visitors. Rather he keeps on stalking (in anger) in the limited space of the cage.

The poet again takes the readers to the cage where the tiger is sitting in the cage and feeling unpleasant and restless. He hears the sound of the patrolling cars of the zoo authorities. He shows no interest in them. He stares at the shining stars with his brilliant eyes. The poet raises a moral issue here. He intends to present a strong case against the cruelty.

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