Animals Summary | Summary of Animals Class 10

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Poet NameWalt Whitman
Born31 May 1819, West Hills, New York, United States
Died26 March 1892, Camden, New Jersey, United States
PoemsSong of Myself, Leaves of Grass, Song of the Open Road
AwardsGolden Kite Award for Picture Book Illustration

Comfortable with Animals:

The poet wishes that he would switch over his loyalty and faith from human beings to animals. He wants to live with them as he feels more comfortable in their company. Animals appear to be very peaceful, independent, self-sufficient and self-contained. He is fascinated by them. He stands and looks at them for a long time.

Animals don’t Sweat and Whine:

Human beings are never satisfied with their condition. They are always demanding. Animals never worry themselves about their condition. Nor do they ever complain. They have a clear conscience. They enjoy a sound sleep at night. They never have to weep for their sins. On the other hand, humans suffer from a guilty conscience. Their misdeeds trouble their souls and they never enjoy a sound sleep at night. They weep over their sins and misdeeds and shed tears on them at night. Human beings pretend to show their love, faith and duty to God. Such pretentious and false worship make the poet sick. Animals never do such pretensions. They never display their love and duty to God. Actually, such issues are meaningless to them.

Animals Don’t Suffer from Mania of Owning Things:

The poet doesn’t find even a single animal that may appear to be dissatisfied. There is no animal which suffers from the madness of possessing things. On the other hand, humans are never satisfied. They are competing with one another in the mad race for material possessions.

No Respect for Ancestors:

No animal shows respect by kneeling down to another animals. Nor do they show any respect to the ancestors of their race. These are the pretensions of human beings and not that of animals. No one is respectable or unhappy over the whole earth for them.

Poet Accepts Animals:

Animals are straight forward. They show their relations to the poet. The poet responds to them positively too. He accepts them as they are. They have retained all those virtues which the ancestors of the human race shared with them in the past. Animals show those ‘tokens’ still in their possession. Unfortunately, humans has lost those virtues much earlier. The poet wonders how animals still retain them.


The poet Walt Whitman tells frankly that he feels more comfortable and at home with animals rather
than his fellow human beings. He has lost so much faith in the race of man that he wants to ‘turn’ and
change his position with animals. Human beings have become mad running after material possessions.
They are bundle of complications, contradictions and confusions. Their conscience is not clear and so they
suffer from nightmares and weep for their sins. Animals, on the other hand, are calm, self-contained and
contented. They don’t run after material things other than their food. They don’t need to worship God as
they never suffer from any sense of guilt or sin. Ancestors of human beings shared those tokens of love
and understanding in the remote past. Unfortunately, humans have lost those virtues and tokens of love
and understanding completely forever.


In the poem ‘Animals’, Walt Whitman wishes to convey that humans have become complicated and false.
They have forgotten their true nature. They want to earn more and more, so that they can own more
luxuries. They commit sins in order to earn and they end up repenting. Their sins have made them restless. On the other hand animals are free from all types of trivial anxieties, so they are still living their life naturally. According to him, animals are complacent and self-contained unlike humans.

Justification of the Title

The title of the poem ‘Animals’ is literally about them. But it does not describe any animal. In fact through
poem, the poet Walt Whitman expresses his own views and observations about them. He seems to have
considered the differences between humans and animals over a long period of time. He also seems to suggest that perhaps once, long back man was also contented and self-contained like the animals, but somewhere in the process of civilization, man has forgotten how to live instinctively and naturally like them. He finds peace of mind and great comfort just to be among them, relaxed, contented and without desires.

Key Points (Train of Thoughts)

• The poet feels more comfortable and at home with animals.
• He doesn’t feel comfortable with human beings.
• He wants to move away from human beings and live with animals.
• Animals are calm and contented.
• They never weep over their miserable conditions as humans do.
• They never worship God and weep for their sins.
• They don’t suffer from the mania or madness of owning and possessing things.
• They don’t fall down on knees to show respect to others.
• Thousands of years ago, ancestors of human beings possessed the qualities of love and kindness.
• Men have lost those ‘tokens’ of love but animals still retain them.
• Human beings are confused, greedy and overambitious while animals are not.


Stanzas Meanings

  1. I think I could turn and live
    with animals, they are so
    placid and self-contain’d,
    I stand and look at them long
    and long.

    The poet wants to change places. He wants to be converted to an
    animal from a human being. He wants to leave the company of men
    and start living with animals. Animals are so calm and self-satisfied.
    He is so much impressed with animals that he stands and goes on
    looking at them for a long time.
  2. They do not sweat and whine
    about their condition,
    They do not lie awake in the
    dark and weep for their sins,
    They do not make me sick
    discussing their duty to God,

    Animals never sweat unnecessarily. Nor do they cry over their
    (miserable) condition. They enjoy full sleep at night. Their
    conscience is clear. They don’t weep over their sins keeping awake
    the whole night. They don’t make anyone (poet) sick by discussing
    their duty to God.
  3. Not one is dissatisfied, not one
    is demented with the mania of
    owning things,
    Not one kneels to another,
    nor to his kind that lived
    thousands of years ago,
    Not one is respectable or
    unhappy over the whole earth.

    All animals are satisfied with their lot. No one is dissatisfied. No
    animal has the mania of collecting things. Animals don’t get mad
    in the race of owning things like humans. They don’t kneel down to
    show respect to others or to those who were born thousands of years
    ago. No animal considers himself more respectable than others (like
    human beings). Nor can you find any animal on this whole earth
    who is unhappy over his lot
  4. So they show their relations to
    me and I accept them
    They bring me tokens of myself,
    they evince them plainly in
    their possession.

    Animals keep on showing and cementing their relations to the poet.
    The poet accepts those relations with them happily. They provide
    all token of noble virtues that are present in the poet. They show
    that they possess all these virtues in plenty.
  5. I wonder where they get those
    Did I pass that way huge
    times ago and negligently drop

    The poet wonders from where animals got those noble virtues
    and tokens of love. The path of noble virtues which animals are
    still following even now, humans and the poet himself, have left
    negligently long-long ago.