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Theory:

He stalks in his vivid stripes
The few steps of his cage,
On pads of velvet quiet,
In his quiet rage.
Explanation:
 
Earth is habitat to numerous living things other than Human beings. There are animals, insects, and other tiny creatures who have the same freedom to live and enjoy the gifts of nature just as humans do. The poet chooses one among these animals to elaborate on the idea of the distinction between freedom and bondage. In this aspect, the poem discusses the tiger predominantly.
 
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Tiger walking in a cage
 
The first stanza starts with a rather unconventional action to be attributed to a tiger. Norris says that the tiger is stalking. This word can be associated with the fact that the tiger does not remain meek and is eyeing the happening around him. The entire poem is a personification as the tiger is always addressed as 'Him'. He is given the same prominence as any human being. At the beginning of the poem, he is not in a position to be in his free true self. Although he is not free, he does not submit to the situation and sleeps in a corner waiting to be fed. Rather he stalks around the cage. To stalk is to fiercely pursue something in a very obsessive way. So this shows that the tiger is looking and waiting for the chance to pounce.
 
He walks in his vivid stripes, as the tiger's stripes do not follow a set pattern. Like the stripes, his walk and plans are also vivid. It is unpredictable, but one can guess it would be vengeful. He measures every step that he takes, showing that he is very discrete and has laid his groundwork. He does not take quick and fast steps, rather they are very few and slow. The poet compares the feet of the tiger with that of velvet, mainly because of the fur and because they are valuable like velvet. The poet also says that the walk is accompanied not by doubts and pondering but by rage. Generally, rage is associated with a loud outburst and violent demeanour. But the tiger has quiet rage, which is even more dangerous, as the outburst can be huge.
 
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Tiger's foot
 
Meaning of difficult Words:
 
S.No
Words
Meaning
1
VividHaving different shades
2
StalkTo follow or observe keenly
3
VengefulBeing revengeful
4
VelvetA soft cloth
5
RageExtreme anger
6
BondageTo be tied up
7
PounceTo spring or jump suddenly
8
DemeanourOutward behaviour
9
UnconventionalNot belonging to the traditional way
10
MeekQuiet and peaceful
11
PonderTo wonder and think deeply
12
DiscreteSecretive and quiet
Reference:
National Council of Educational Research and Training (2006). Beehive. A Tiger in the Zoo - Leslie Norris  (pp. 29-31). Published at the Publication Division by the Secretary, National Council of Educational Research and Training, Sri Aurobindo Marg, New Delhi.