Could someone please give a summary of the poem 'the casuarina tree' by toru dutt.

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Ashley Kannan eNotes educator | Certified Educator

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The poem is one of reflection about the life of the speaker.  The tree has remained a constant in the life of the speaker while maturation and growth has transpired.  The opening lines of the poem help to describe the tree in physical descriptors.  Images such as "python" help to convey the mammoth and gargantuan nature of this tree that has not changed even though the speaker has.  The second stanza helps to bring some sense of time to the tree as it has become old enough to house other animals in its boughs, with the example of the grey baboon who lives there with its own young.  Again, this is a symbol to both the age of the tree and its nurturing qualities.  The third stanza brings the subjective voice into the experience of maturation and the tree as the speaker discusses the moments in their own life where the tree played a vital role, such as the joy shared with siblings.  Such memories reside in the speaker's mind, and while there is change in the land of the tree (the calling of European nations here is deliberate given the Indian heritage of the poet), the memories will always remain of the subjective experience of life with the tree.  Times may change, but the permanence of the tree is sacred and it helps to provide a frame of reference for the speaker's narrative and experience.

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