ArtsAutosBooksBusinessEducationEntertainmentFamilyFashionFoodGamesGenderHealthHolidaysHomeHubPagesPersonal FinancePetsPoliticsReligionSportsTechnologyTravel

Poetry Analysis: Toru Dutt's "Our Casuarina Tree"

Updated on December 28, 2012


The tree in Toru Dutt's "Our Casuarina Tree" stands for the motherland with its giant stature. It is indented with scars that has been inflicted by the past trials and tribulations. The rugged' trunk hints at the antiquity of the culture. The tree reaches for the stars and represents the aspirations of millions. The python-like creeper stands for the cultural invasion that the country has faced. The symbol of the Python represents an objective outlook as foreigners have always viewed India as the land of snakes and magicians. It gallantly wears the culture with dignity. It accepts the invasion of the creeper and utilizes it as an embellishment (scarf) that enhances its appearance. The "gathered bird and bee" emblematize communal activity in India, as it is a conglomeration of various cultures and religions.

A creeper climbs, in whose embraces bound

No other tree could live.

By these lines, the poetess signifies that no other country could have absorbed these foreign elements and yet maintained its own identity. It wears the python like a 'scarf' as an embellishment and protective cover that only enhances it dignity. The symbol of the scarf may also refer to the concept of modesty in Indian culture where the feminity of a woman is synonymous with modesty. Flowers are hung in crimson colours all the bough along. 'Crimson' is a bold colour, the colour of festivity .The bird and bee and their songs represent the rich natural vegetation. Lines like 'With one sweet song that seems to have no close' underline the rich cultural tradition that fails to die away. It exists even while men repose .It lends the speaker an inherent delight as she opens her windows to look at it ,at dawn. It is also an abode to the animal world as the statuesque baboon rests on it at winter, and a source of amusement to the offsprings as they play on it.


And oft at nights the garden overflows

With one sweet song that seems to have no close,

Sung darkling from our tree, while men repose.

Though men go to sleep or expire, the rich cultural heritage represented by music lives on.While the earlier picture is an objective assessment of an outsider, the above lines represent the appraisal of the culture by an insider. And the speaker beholds a gray baboon as it sits statuesque watching the sunrise; while on lower boughs puny offsprings leap about and play. It marks the fusion of the static and kinetic.

The kokilas that hail the day are reminiscent of the birds in Sarojini Naidu's "Bird Sanctuary' heralding the Festival of Dawn. The rich natural vegetation is portrayed by 'pastures' and "so beautiful and vast,/The water-lilies spring, like snow enmeshed.""The 'sleepy cows' echo the tranquility of the natural scenario.

The Casuarina Tree an insignia of the Indian Culture is significant to the speaker not only owing to its magnificence; it is dear to her soul. The Father of the Nation, Mahatma Gandhi said :"A nation's culture resides in the hearts of the people." It links the speaker with her childhood as well, where past and present are bridged. The tree is there as it brings back memories of her loved ones as are images engraved on the tree. The following lines echo Matthew Arnold's "Dover Beach"; here the dirge calls out to the lost loved ones.

What is that dirge-like murmur that I hear

Like the sea breaking on a shingle-beach?

It is the tree's lament, an eerie speech,

That haply to the unknown land may reach.

In keeping with the symbolism, it may hail the freedom fighters responsible for gifting us with a free nation. It is universal in its implications as it "haply to the unknown land may reach." The universality is emphasized yet again by the words "Of France or Italy, beneath the moon," The poetess celebrates the memory of the departed souls that she commemorates in the garden. She recalls the times spent with Aru, her sister in France and Italy. She craves for her dead sibling now. In the grievance, time and space ,past and present are united by the tree. Just as the tree(symbolizing the Nation), possesses the power to unify diverse elements. This sense of oneness also symbolizes the union of the aatma with the paramaatma. This is the 'sublime vision " that the poetess talks of. It is unknown to the sense-perceptions but known to the eye of faith. Only with a deeper spiritual faith can we comprehend the same. In "Dover Beach" Arnold laments over the loss of faith. The "inner vision" represents here the speaker's insight. The 'form sublime' represents the soul of the poetess that identifies with the soul of India. This unique meeting is expressed in the lines:

Thy form, O Tree, as in my happy prime

I saw thee, in my own loved native clime.

The mortal souls are juxtaposed against the immortal stature of the tree.

© Rukhaya MK 2012

The content is the copyright of Rukhaya MK. Any line reproduced from the article has to be appropriately documented by the reader. ©Rukhaya MK. All rights reserved.

Great Stuff on Amazon

New Guestbook Comments

    0 of 8192 characters used
    Post Comment

    No comments yet.


    This website uses cookies

    As a user in the EEA, your approval is needed on a few things. To provide a better website experience, uses cookies (and other similar technologies) and may collect, process, and share personal data. Please choose which areas of our service you consent to our doing so.

    For more information on managing or withdrawing consents and how we handle data, visit our Privacy Policy at:

    Show Details
    HubPages Device IDThis is used to identify particular browsers or devices when the access the service, and is used for security reasons.
    LoginThis is necessary to sign in to the HubPages Service.
    Google RecaptchaThis is used to prevent bots and spam. (Privacy Policy)
    AkismetThis is used to detect comment spam. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide data on traffic to our website, all personally identifyable data is anonymized. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Traffic PixelThis is used to collect data on traffic to articles and other pages on our site. Unless you are signed in to a HubPages account, all personally identifiable information is anonymized.
    Amazon Web ServicesThis is a cloud services platform that we used to host our service. (Privacy Policy)
    CloudflareThis is a cloud CDN service that we use to efficiently deliver files required for our service to operate such as javascript, cascading style sheets, images, and videos. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Hosted LibrariesJavascript software libraries such as jQuery are loaded at endpoints on the or domains, for performance and efficiency reasons. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Custom SearchThis is feature allows you to search the site. (Privacy Policy)
    Google MapsSome articles have Google Maps embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    Google ChartsThis is used to display charts and graphs on articles and the author center. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSense Host APIThis service allows you to sign up for or associate a Google AdSense account with HubPages, so that you can earn money from ads on your articles. No data is shared unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Google YouTubeSome articles have YouTube videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    VimeoSome articles have Vimeo videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    PaypalThis is used for a registered author who enrolls in the HubPages Earnings program and requests to be paid via PayPal. No data is shared with Paypal unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook LoginYou can use this to streamline signing up for, or signing in to your Hubpages account. No data is shared with Facebook unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    MavenThis supports the Maven widget and search functionality. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSenseThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Google DoubleClickGoogle provides ad serving technology and runs an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Index ExchangeThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    SovrnThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook AdsThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Unified Ad MarketplaceThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    AppNexusThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    OpenxThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Rubicon ProjectThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    TripleLiftThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Say MediaWe partner with Say Media to deliver ad campaigns on our sites. (Privacy Policy)
    Remarketing PixelsWe may use remarketing pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to advertise the HubPages Service to people that have visited our sites.
    Conversion Tracking PixelsWe may use conversion tracking pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to identify when an advertisement has successfully resulted in the desired action, such as signing up for the HubPages Service or publishing an article on the HubPages Service.
    Author Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide traffic data and reports to the authors of articles on the HubPages Service. (Privacy Policy)
    ComscoreComScore is a media measurement and analytics company providing marketing data and analytics to enterprises, media and advertising agencies, and publishers. Non-consent will result in ComScore only processing obfuscated personal data. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Tracking PixelSome articles display amazon products as part of the Amazon Affiliate program, this pixel provides traffic statistics for those products (Privacy Policy)