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THIBAHAR RAJENDRAN

PUSAT TUISYEN SURIA INFINITI


ENGLISH / FORM 3

The Day the Bulldozers Came


By: David Orne
THIBAHAR RAJENDRAN
PUSAT TUISYEN SURIA INFINITI
ENGLISH / FORM 3

STANZA BY STANZA ANALYSIS


THIBAHAR RAJENDRAN
PUSAT TUISYEN SURIA INFINITI
ENGLISH / FORM 3
STANZA 1
The first stanza describes what was happening in a forest or countryside on
the day the bulldozers came. Rooks, similar to crows, were building up their nests in
the oak tree. Green flies buzzed by the pond while a toad was waiting for a chance
to catch them. This reflects stage in the cycle of life reproduction, feeding and
death. This routine was interrupted by the arrival of the bulldozers

STANZA 2
The five lines of stanza 2 continue with a description of squirrels running up
trees and jumping from the branches. The word scattering shows that the squirrels
were running in all direction. There is a sense of fear and panic as the bulldozers
came closer. The tree branches were hardly there possibly because they had been
cut off. The branches are usually cut before the trees are felled.

STANZA 3
The third verse tell us that the fox, sleeping in its den, was woken up by the
shaking of the ground as the bulldozers approached The fox, however, was not
worried. He felt safe in his hole deep underground The last begins with then which
indicates that the fox was actually not safe from the bulldozers

ELEMENTS OF THE POEM


Setting
PLACE

The setting of the poem is the countryside or a forest. There are trees (oaks),
a pond and underground dens. This is the natural environment where animals, birds
and insects live. The creatures mentioned in the poem rocks, squirrels and foxes
indicate that the setting is in a western country such as England or America.

TIME

The poem describes the arrival of bulldozers in the countryside. Bulldozers


were invented in the early 20th century. These powerful machines are used to clear
forests for development. Therefore, the poem is set in modern times.
The persona of this poem is the third person omniscient narrator. The narrator
describes what can be observed, such as the birds building their nest (line 2 -3) and
what cannot be seen, such as the fox in its underground den. The narrator is
omniscient, for he even knows what the fox was thinking (line 15 -18)

THEMES
Deforestation and habitat loss
THIBAHAR RAJENDRAN
PUSAT TUISYEN SURIA INFINITI
ENGLISH / FORM 3
Bulldozers are used for logging or to clear land for agriculture and housing.
Deforestation destroys the natural habitat of native wildlife. The poem describes how
the bulldozers were going to destroy the natural habitat.

The effect of modern development on the environment


The poem describes the natural world and provides details on what the
creatures were doing before the machines arrived to destroy their world. The birds
were preparing nests to lay their eggs, the toad was waiting for its meal, the squirrels
were scampering around as they always do and the fox was sleeping underground.
Later, trees would be bulldozed away. There would be broken nests, the animals
homes would be destroyed and the creatures would have nowhere to hide. Such is
the destructive impact of modern development on the environment.

Machines versus nature


The bulldozers are powerful machines. Nature is helpless against these
machines. The creatures were unaware of the destruction coming their way. For
example, the fox thought he was safe underground but then the bulldozers came
and would destroy even what lay underground.

Tone :
Lighthearted Then Foreboding
The tone of the poem is lighthearted at first. The use of the expression crazy
eggs baskets refers to something fun. However, the tone turns serious and
foreboding from the end of the first stanza. The cold-eyed toad waiting to catch a fly
refers to the cycle of life which involves feeding and dying. However this reference to
a predator and death is a foreshadowing of the death and destruction that was
coming.
The second stanza continues on this note of foreboding for the squirrels were
scattering up the trees (line 8), and leaping off branches (line 10), as if they were in
a panic

Mood:
Dark and Fearful
The mood is dark and fearful. The third stanza strengthens the sense of
doom. The earth trembled (line 14) which reflects fear. The fox thinks it is safe
underground but the last line beginning with then tells us that it is not true.

Language and Style


The poem has three stanzas of different lengths.
THIBAHAR RAJENDRAN
PUSAT TUISYEN SURIA INFINITI
ENGLISH / FORM 3
There are 19 lines altogether.
The poem is written in free verse and has no rhyming pattern.
The poem sounds like natural speech or narration. Direct speech is used as in
storytelling (lines 15 and 16)
There is a vague rhythm due to the repetition of the line the bulldozers came
(lines 1, 7 and 19).

Repetition
The first line of the poem is repeated in the first line of stanza 2 and also
partially in the last line of the third verse.
The repeated lines act like a reminder of the important event and help build
suspense.

Imagery
The poem is rich in visual and movement imagery. Descriptive words like
crazy, green, sizzled and cold-eyed are used in the first verse to provide a
clear picture of the creatures in their natural habitat.
No descriptive words are used in the following two verses. This creates a
sense of urgency as the bulldozers arrive.
Movement imagery in the poem is used to depict life and activity in the
countryside. Action words like building, sizzled, scattering and leapt are
used for movement imagery.
The word sizzled is also sound imagery because it helps us hear the sound
of the insects buzzing.

Foreshadowing
The toad waiting to attack and devour the flies foreshadows the fate of the
creatures.
The toad is cold-eyed meaning unfeeling, just like the machines that came to
destroy the trees and the wildlife living among them.

Personification
In line 14, the ground trembled. This refers to the physical shaking of the
earth as the big and heavy bulldozers approach.
THIBAHAR RAJENDRAN
PUSAT TUISYEN SURIA INFINITI
ENGLISH / FORM 3
This is also a metaphor for fear. Nature shakes with fear as the machines
arrive.
In lines 15 to 18, the fox thinks like a human.

Symbolism
The bulldozers symbolise development.
They are also a symbol of destruction and violence resulting from human
disregard for the environment.

MESSAGES
The poem shows us the cycle of life in the natural world. Birds were preparing
to lay their eggs. The flies were buzzing around happily while the toad waited for the
chance to get his dinner. This is the natural cycle of birth, growth and death that
keeps the balance of nature. This natural cycle was destroyed when the bulldozers
arrived to clear the trees.
By showing us the beauty and balance of the natural world, the poet makes
us feel a sense of horror at its destruction. The poet wants us to think about the
effect of development on nature.
The poem describes the natural wildlife in the countryside and how the arrival
of the bulldozers would destroy the trees and natural habitat. The creatures would
not survive. The poet is telling us to preserve the forest and the natural habitat of the
creatures so that they can live.

MORAL VALUES
Love for nature
The description of the creatures living in the wild and the poets message to
protect their habitat supports this moral value.

Respect for life


The poem portrays nature as being full of life and activity with the creatures
living out their life cycle in peace. Then, the bulldozers came, bringing death and
destruction. The poem makes us aware that living things are being killed because of
development.