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Animals by Walt Whitman |English | Std X

Updated: Mar 2, 2022

Detailed Explanation with NCERT solution

Lesson Architecture

  • Author Biography

  • Theme

  • Stanza-wise Explanation

  • Recapitulation

  • NCERT Solution

  • Extra Questions

Author Biography

  • Walt Whitman was born in West Hills, Long Island, US on May 31, 1819. He was the second child in a family of eleven.

  • In 1836, at the age of 17, he began his career as a teacher and continued to teach until 1841 when he turned to journalism as a full-time career.

  • He founded a weekly newspaper, Long-Islander, and later edited a number of Brooklyn and New York papers.

  • Under the influence of the Romantic movement in literature and art, Whitman held the theory that the chief function of the poet was to express his own personality in his verse.

  • He is primarily known for his work ‘Leaves of Grass.


  • The poem draws comparison between humans and animals.

  • Unlike humans, animals do not complain and are always happy at their present state.

  • Unlike humans, they do not commit sins and are very innocent and honest creatures.

  • Animals possess all human virtues like honesty, truthfulness etc. which humans once possessed long, long time ago.

Stanza-Wise Explanation

NCERT Solution:

Thinking about the poem ( Page 84)

1. Notice the use of the word ‘turn’ in the first line, “I think I could turn and live with animals…” What is the poet turning from?'

Ans: the poet is turning from the world of humans to the world of animals. The poet tells us that he feels more at home with animals than humans, whom he finds complicated and false.

2. Mention any three things that humans do and animals don't.


(i) Humans complain about their condition whereas animals do not.

(ii) Humans weep for their sins whereas animals do not. They are not troubled by any sense of guilt.

(iii) Humans are obsessed with the mania of owning things whereas animals are not.

3. Do humans kneel to other humans who lived thousands of years ago?

Ans: Humans kneel to other humans who lived thousands of years ago. They could be some ancestors, saints or the preachers whom they follow religiously.

4. What are the 'tokens' that the poet says he may have dropped long ago, and which the animals have kept for him?

Ans: The word 'tokens' according to the poet is the good qualities in human beings. the poet feels that nowadays good qualities do not exist in human beings They have lost them for the sake of worldly things which they want to achieve at any cost.

Extra Questions:

(a) How do human being make the poet sick?

Human beings always sweat and whine about their condition. They always discuss their duty to God. It makes the poet sick.

(b) Why does the author keep looking at them for long?

The author keeps on looking at them for long because they are always happy and content. They never weep for their sins.

(C) Why does the poet find animals better than humans?

Animals are always happy and content and never whine about their condition. They never weep for their sins. Like human being they are not obsessed about owning things.

Extra Questions for Practice:

1. Why does the poet wish to live with animals?

2. Why can't humans enjoy a sound sleep? Explain in the context of the poem.

3. What does the poet mean by the word ' tokens'? What are the 'tokens' that the poet says he may have dropped long ago?

4.How are the animals superior to humans according to the poet?

Reference for Biographical Information of the poet


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