Table of Contents
Unit – 3: Ecology and Environment
Chapter 3: Unchopping A Tree [W.S. Merwin]
‘Unchopping a Tree’ is a pseudo directive essay. Writer W.S Merwin gives commands like start with this, and then do that, then other, finish with this, but all actions are impossible to perform. Although this essay seems funny outwardly Merwin indirectly suggests conserving the ecology and environment. For Merwin, it is easy to destroy anything but very difficult to create. Deforestation is very easy to work but to grow some trees is almost impossible.
People are irresponsible for the conservation of nature rather they are creating problems by destroying the forest and making pollution. Merwin mucks them by providing the task of unchopping a tree. Merwin says that one tree is cut down. Now our duty is to erect (make it stand) it. He suggests we start from leaves, twigs, and nest of birds. It is our duty to join every part of the tree in the original place. If the tree is cut in the chip, it will be easier if not we need to join dust. Every broken piece like bark, outer layer, stem, net of spiders, beehive, etc should be joined and placed them in the right position.
Merwin suggests us to use fixative or adhesive to join the broken parts. He suggests we take the help of a scaffolder to erect the tree. Finally, a huge tree will be standing in front of us. We can take a nice sleep for the whole night. The tree is still standing the next morning. But, Merwin orders us to remove scaffolders. We can’t believe in our own eyes because the tree is still standing. But, when gentle breeze blow or clod appears in the sky, the tree will easily fall down. Now, we can do nothing except joining the parts again.
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Short Answer Questions
1. What message does the author convey through “Unchoppin a Tree”?
“Unchopping a Tree” is pseudo directive essay that gives us a message that joining a tree is an impossible task. So we should not cut down the trees. The message to the reader is that we should protect trees and go against the idea of deforestation. Since we can’t restore life in the dead tree, we should not think of cutting and joining it.
The author indirectly asks us not to cut down the trees. W.S. Merwin gives commands like start with this, and then do that, then other, finish with this, but all actions are impossible to perform. Although this essay seems funny outwardly Merwin indirectly suggests conserving ecology and environment. For Merwin, it is easy to destroy anything but very difficult to create. Deforestation is very easy to work but to grow some trees is almost impossible. People are irresponsible for the conservation of nature rather they are creating problems by destroying forest and making pollution. Merwin mocks them by providing the task of unchopping a tree.
2. What does the essay “Unchopping a Tree” ask us to do indirectly? Is the author’s direct command possible? Explain.
The essayist asks us to preserve the trees indirectly. Describing various complications involved in the process of unchopping a chopped down tree, the writer stresses the importance of preservation of nature. Pointing towards the impossibility of restoring the parts of the chopped down the tree, the writer makes sus aware of the need to preserve nature. The writer also emphasizes that modern scientific inventions and development cannot replace the work of nature.
Nature is always the original one and we should not try to equalize it with manmade artificial things. This essay is aimed to promote to conserve nature and to discourage deforestation. It is very easy to destroy nature or tree, but restoring life is an extremely difficult and impossible task. The writer in the essay implies that since is impossible we need to think and work against deforestation and infamous preservation.
The author’s direct command is impossible. He shows the impossibility of unchopping a tree in the essay. Though he gives the command they are all impossible commands. The word like ‘assemble’, and ‘dissemble’, ‘do’, and ‘undo’, ‘learn’, and ‘unlearn’ refer to the process of the action and reversal of this process. The writer also shows the process of unchopping the tree but wants to say that it is impossible and we should not move behind this stupidity. We rather should start planting the tree in the place where there was a tree in the past. In short, “Unchopping a Tree” similarly studies the process of reversing the action of “Chopping” a tree and simplicity show the impossibility of this process and thus indicates where our unwise chopping of the trees will lead us.
Long Answer Questions
1. Is unchopping a tree possible? What instructions does the writer give to unchop a tree? What does the essay suggest against deforestation?
In the essay, “Unchopping a Tree”, the writer has shown that it is quite impossible to give life back to a tree when it is once chopped or cut. One can join the chopped down tree by using different fixatives. He could straighten the broken branches, could erect the trunk. But, he can’t give life to it. Natural unchopping a tree is impossible although it easy to chop it. Thus, in this essay, the writer suggests the people of the world not to cut down the tree. Most of the lines in the essay are directive. The very first line of the essay goes ‘start with the leaves, the small twigs, and the nests that have been shaken, ripped, or broken off by the fall…”
Unchopping a tree is never possible. Through in the essay “Unchopping a Tree”, the writer has given us instructions or repairing a tree and Unchopping it if a tree is cut down, both the writer and the readers know it very well that this is impossible. So, we can say that this essay has been written in pseudo directive style. As it is clear that unchopping a tree is never possible, the essay has another message. The message is that if we cannot unchop a tree, it is better not to chop down trees. In other words, this essay indirectly suggests us to preserve the environment.
The writer gives instructions to unchop a tree. A tree is chopped. Now you have to unchop or join all its parts and place it where it was. To unchop or join the tree, collect leaves, twigs and put them in their own places. If you have not cut down the tree into small pieces, it will not be difficult to join. If the trees are hollow and there are nests, the work will be more difficult. But, you have to put everything in their original order. If this tree has damaged other trees or plants while it was falling, you will have to repair them all. There may be a spider’s web in the tree.
Try your best to replace it. Can you use the leaf’s living bond to join in order to supply its food? Use fixative like gum to fix parts of the tree and get the help of scaffolding/ support/ framework to stand the tree upright. Mind it you must gather the chips and sawdust. Then, you must return them to their proper places. Oh! How to set the sap flowing? The next day, you remove the scaffolding piece by piece. When you take the last piece out, the tree stands on its own. You can’t believe your eyes.
Now you can only wait and watch the tree. However, at the surface level, unchopping a tree is possible by using different fixatives. We can fix each and every part of the tree, its leaves, branches, splinters, trunk, and even sawdust, we can stand it upright. But, the thing is that the tree doesn’t become as natural as it was before. We can’t give its life back in any way. So, a deep study of the essay, clarifies that real unchopping a tree is not possible.
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In this way, by persuading the readers, the writer suggests people not to cut down the trees, but to conserve it. In fact, this essay is a strong defense/ argument/ resistance to nature conservation. We are continuously going on cutting down is very dark. If unchopping was possible, there was no harm in chopping down the trees. But, that is not possible. So, we shouldn’t cut down trees. Thus, this essay is a strong voice against deforestation.