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Killing Field by Krushangini - Analysis

Analysis of Killing field

The poem entitled ‘Killing Field’ was written by Krushangini, an evocative contemporary Tamil poet of social and political potential. The poem is notable for its shortness (14 lines only), simplicity, punch and density besides its radical emphasis on the ecological perspective.  Cut into three stanzas, the poem highlights the criminal human attitude to other forms of life. Krudhangini keeps away the ornamental style and gives the poem the roughness reflective of human ill-treatment of trees. This poem evocatively describes the process of paper making. It begins with tree-cutting, skinning and piling up of cut pieces, planing and making pulp of it.  Finally it is turned into sheets of paper.  Krushangini’s insight into the process is remarkable and can be comprehended by charting the thought-process in the poem.  

In the first stanza, the poet gives a matter-of-fact description of the process of cutting trees. She sees what other people usually fail to see; butterflies sticking on to the stem like scales on a snake.  They are called dullards for they are going into their own death foolishly. That is, the butterflies are not aware of the reality. The second stanza tells the reader that these butterflies are also pulped and their lives are smeared into the paper produced.  At this point, the adjective ‘dullard’ appears to assume other dimensions.  It appears to suit more to the human beings who murder these creatures indifferently. Then the machine spits out sheets of  ‘white and spotless’ paper. The phrase 'white and spotless' turns out to be highly ironic since the phrase ceases to mean pure and perfect.  

The last stanza of three lines reveals the irony of such pure whiteness and spotlessness.  The dazzling, white and spotless paper is produced through murder of trees and countless life forms on it including butterflies and minute insects.  Krushangini transforms the positive image of paper-making industry into an act of unrecorded crime and murder.  Paper industry is a valuable invention in one sense. It is an enduring mark of human civilization. But in the wake of the problems earth faces, paper making turns out to be  a criminal offence. It is an offensive act when viewed in terms of other forms of life not capable of protecting themselves. So the end product is not a symbol of purity and virtue. The spotless white paper is a silent record of unrecorded murders of numerous organisms including the tree. Subtle and implicit irony runs throughout the poem and animates the environmental rhetoric. 

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