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Keeping Quiet Extract Questions and Answers
By- Pablo Neruda
Read the extracts and answer the questions that follow.
Now we will count to twelve
And we will all keep still.
For once on the face of the Earth
Let’s not speak in any language,
Let’s stop for one second,
And not move our arms so much.
(a)What does the poet appeal for?
Ans. The poet appeals for peace and harmony on the earth.
(b) To attain this, what does he expect all of us to do?
Ans. He expects all human beings to be silent, totally inactive and introspect.
(c) Why does he advocate silence?
Ans. He advocates silence so that human beings could introspect about themselves without any external disturbance.
(e)What kind of activity does the poet feel the man is involved with?
Ans. The poet feels that man is leading a very monotonous and dull existence. He is also engaged in destructive activities that harm himself and nature too.
- It would be an exotic moment (1 x 4 = 4 Marks)
Without rush, without engines,
We would all be together
in a sudden strangeness.
Fishermen in the cold sea
Would not harm whales
And the man gathering salt
Would look at his hurt hands.
(a) What does he mean by ‘exotic moment’?
Ans. By ‘exotic moment’ the poet means that this moment will be worth cherishing as it would be extraordinary.
(b) How could man achieve this exotic moment?
Ans. In this exotic moment, man would be able to stop all activity, remain silent and introspect. He would feel enlightened and be in harmony with man and nature.
(c) What kind of a feeling would this exotic moment evoke?
Ans. It would be an extraordinary moment as a man would be at peace with himself and his surroundings. This moment might reduce man’s sadness at having generated negative thoughts.
(d)What harm do the fishermen do and why do salt gatherer’s hands hurt?
Ans. The fishermen kill the whales and cause their extinction while salt gatherers’ hands hurt due to the course and rough feel of the salt causing pain to their hands.
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- Those who prepare green wars, (1 x 4 = 4)
Wars with gas, wars with fire,
Victory with no survivors
Would put on clean clothes
And walk about with their brothers
In the shade, doing nothing.
(a)What are the kinds of wars mentioned in the above lines?
Ans. The poet mentions three types of wars, i.e. green wars that man wages against nature and the environment. He also mentions wars with gas and wars with fire meaning that man kills other human beings with the help of biological and nuclear weapons.
(b)What are green wars?
Ans.`Green wars’ refers to the environmental degradation caused by man’s mindless activities.
(c)How would the wars affect our lives?
Ans. Apart from the death of thousands of innocent people, the war would not leave anyone victorious because there would be no survivors.
(d)What could be the ideal situation?
Ans. An ideal situation would be one in which human beings would be seen happily walking with others hence depicting a feeling of oneness, unity and brotherhood. There will peace and universal brotherhood.
- What I want would not be (1 x 4 = 4)
With total inactivity.
Life is what it is about;
I want no truck with death.
If we were not so single-minded about keeping our lives moving, and for once could do nothing,
Perhaps a huge silence
Might interrupt this sadness
Of never understanding ourselves
And of threatening ourselves with death.
- What does the poet mean by inactivity?
Ans. By ‘inactivity’ the poet means a period of total silence, no work, no disturbance. He visualizes a calm and quiet atmosphere where man introspects and there is productive silence.
- How is inactivity different from death?
Ans. The poet only wishes for a few moments of inactivity and man be able to reflect on his actions. Death, on the other hand, is the end of life, which the poet does not advocate.
(c)What makes us sad and what are we single-minded about?
Ans. We are single-minded about moving on with our lives and focus only on our ambitions and goals. The mechanised lifestyle and the feeling that we cause a threat to our own destruction makes us feel sad.
- What does the poet mean by ‘to have no truck with death’?
Ans. The poet wants to have no association with death as death is the end of life. He only appeals that we should be more productive and give up endless and futile pursuits that cause unhappiness.
- Perhaps the Earth can teach us (1 x 4 = 4)
As when everything seems dead
And later proves to be alive.
Now I’ll count up to twelve
And you keep quiet and I will go
(a) What can the Earth teach us?
Ans. The earth can teach us how to be in harmony with others while remaining silent and productive.
(b) How does it teach us this lesson?
Ans. The earth continues to nurture life despite all the harm done to it by man. It silently goes about its work and this is the lesson that we should learn from it.
(c)How does the Earth ‘prove to be alive’?
Ans. The Earth nurtures life and ensures that the life cycle of birth, life and death moves on and the process of regeneration goes on unhampered.
(d)What is the poet’s appeal?
Ans. The poet appeals to man to make an effort to keep silent for a few seconds and introspect in order to make amends for a harmonious environment.