NO MEN ARE FOREIGN
By– James Kirkup
SHORT ANSWER QUESTIONS
(to be answered in about 30 – 40 words each)
Q1.”Beneath all uniforms…” What uniforms do you think the poet is speaking about? (Textual)
Ans:- The poet is speaking about the dresses or uniforms that armies of different countries wear. Though these ‘uniforms’ are absolutely different in appearance the bodies under them are the same. The poet tries to convey that the differences among the people of different countries are superficial. Essentially, all human beings are the same.
Q2.Whom does the poet refer to as ‘our brothers’ and why?
Ans:-The poet refers to the people living in other countries as ‘our brothers’. He says so because the superficial dissimilarities of complexion, language, dress, culture and nationality do not, and must not, segregate us as human beings. Human wants, human needs, human hopes, human emotions are the same anywhere in the world.
Q3.How does the poet suggest (in the first stanza) that all people on earth are the same? (Textual)
Ans:-In the first stanza, the poet suggests that no human being is strange or different. Beneath the superficial surface of our bodies, we all have similar hearts, minds and souls. We all breathe and live in a similar manner. The earth is our common asset and one day we all shall die and be buried in the same way.
Q4.What does the poet mean when he says, ‘in which we all shall lie’?
Ans:-The poet means that we all shall lie under the same earth. Here ‘lie’ means to be buried after death. This is to highlight that all of us have to meet the same fate, sooner or later, hence there is no point in hating each other.
Q5. In stanza 1, find five ways in which we are alike. Pick out the words phrases suggesting these similarities. (Textual)
Ans:-Following are the five phrases that suggest that we are all alike.
(1) No men are strange
(2) No countries foreign
(3) a single body breathes like ours
(4) the land our brothers walk upon is earth like this
(5) in which we all shall lie
Q6. Why does the poet call harvests ‘peaceful’ and war as ‘winter’?
Ans:-Harvests are called ‘peaceful’ because they bring abundance and prosperity and they thrive in peaceful times only. War, on to the other hand, is like the severe and harsh ‘winter’ that ruins the crops and starves people. It is only the peaceful times that bring harmony and contentment. War destroys everything and forces people to face hunger, poverty, disease and death.
Q7. How many common features can you find in stanza 2? Pick out the words. (Textual)
Ans:-The common features listed in stanza 2 are:
- Like us, the people in other countries too enjoy
(i) sun (ii) air (iii) water (iv) peaceful harvests
- Like us, they too hate starvation caused by long drawn wars
- Like us, they too work hard for their livelihood by using their hands.
Q8. ‘They have eyes like ours’. What similarity does the poet find in the eyes of people all over the world?
Ans:-The poet finds that eyes of men all over the world have similar sights and scenes to see, and experience the phenomena of waking up and sleeping in a similar way. Hence, the so-called strange and foreign people to have eyes just like us. Even though the colour and shape of their eyes are different from ours, they bring us identical experiences and perform a similar function.
Q9.”…whenever we are told to hate our brothers….” When do you think this happens and why? (Textual)
Ans:-Whenever their own importance or existence is in danger, politicians and religious leaders make us believe that our existence and our interests are in danger and, provoke us to hate our fellow human beings. This happens when we allow our reason to be swayed by our fears and hatred.
Q10. In one of the stanzas, the poet finds similarity in human hands. What is it?
Ans:-The poet feels that people of all countries have to work hard in a similar fashion to earn their livelihood. This is done by them with the help of their hands. It is the hands that do all the work in the world and it is the hands that are a source of all creativity.
Q11.Who tells us ‘to hate our brothers’? Should we do as we are told at such times? What does the poet say? (Textual)
Ans:-The politically motivated and power-hungry people tell us to hate our brothers during wartime. The poet says that we should not get swayed by such provocation. If we do so, it would result in our own dispossession, betrayal and condemnation.
Q12.How does man pollute this earth by going to war?
Ans:-Man pollutes the earth by causing death and destruction and by spreading hatred and enmity through wars. The war also causes irreparable damage to the earth’s environment by polluting it with dust, debris and smoke caused by war weapons.
Q13. What does the poet say about ‘hating our brothers’?
Ans:-The poet strongly condemns ‘hating our brothers’. He feels that when we indulge in such negativity, we actually harm ourselves. We deprive ourselves of the love of our brothers and earn condemnation for such depravity.
Q14. Why does the poet say that people of the world should live in peace and not go to war?
Ans:-The poet advocates living in peace because peace brings progress, prosperity and cheer in this world. He advises mankind to shun wars because wars bring death, exploitation, want, poverty and starvation. They also defile the earth and pollute the very air we all breathe.
Q15.How does the poet propose to win over other countries?
Ans:-The poet proposes to win over other countries through the divine force of love. It is a universal fact that this world responds positively to love and kindness. So the poet plans to use it to end all hatred and war and create peaceful heaven on earth.
Q16.Who, according to you, is the speaker in this poem?
Ans:-The speaker in this poem is the poet himself who stands for the goodness of the human heart that propagates love, peace and universal brotherhood. He is a champion of love, peace and joy.
Q17.In four stanzas out of five, the poet uses the word “Remember”. Why do you think he has repeated this word so many times?
Ans:-By repeating the word ‘remember’, the poet wishes us never to forget that our ideas, emotions and experiences are similar to that of the people we conventionally think of as ‘strange’ or ‘foreign’. He wants to emphasise that all human beings are identical in nature and phases of human life are the same anywhere in the world.
Q18. Mention any two ways in which people living in other countries are similar to us.
Ans:-All people of the world have eyes similar to ours. They too experience the phenomena of sleeping and waking up like us. The emotion of love too is experienced and responded to in a similar manner by all the people. Everyone’s physical strength can be countered with the power of love.
Q19. What is the central idea of the poem?
Ans:-The central idea of the poem is that all human beings are similar and equal. Hence, we should love one another and live in peace and harmony. Universal brotherhood and harmonious co-existence will not only unite us but will also save our mother earth from getting polluted and damaged.
Q20. Why do countries engage in wars and to what effect?
Ans:-Vested interests of the power-hungry people instigate the common man to hate fellow-beings living in different parts of the world. This narrow approach leads to wars and results in bloodshed and irreparable loss of innocent lives.
Q21.How does the title sum up the theme of the poem “No Men are Foreign”?
Ans:-Right through the poem, the poet talks about the concept of universal brotherhood and peaceful co-existence, without any place for any kind of prejudice. He emphasises the fact that all human beings are inherently the same and divisions based on nation, caste, colour, creed or religion are baseless. James Kirkup, the poet, has beautifully conveyed these ideas through the title of the poem “No Men Are Foreign”.
Q22. “No Men are Foreign” is an anti-war poem. Comment.
Ans:-“No Men Are Foreign” is a peace poem which propagates the idea of human brotherhood and peaceful co-existence by annihilating all war and hatred. War harms both the suppressed and the suppressor. It brings about death, destruction, deprivation’ starvation and pollution. Hence, wars should be shunned forever.
Q23. (i) “Beneath all uniforms…” What uniforms do you think the poet is speaking about?
(ii) How does the poet suggest that all people on earth are the same?
Ans. (i) The poet thinks about the various dresses that people of various countries wear but beneath these dresses, the human body is the same.
(ii) The poet says that nobody is different and unique. No country is foreign. A single body breathes beneath all uniforms. Moreover, the land is the same everywhere.
Q24. How does the poet suggest that all people on earth are the same?
Ans. The poet suggests that all people on earth are the same. They breathe, eat and walk in the same way. They all use the same light of the sun, air and water. They all love peace and hate war and have similar eyes. The poet says:
No men are foreign and no countries strange;
we all have a common entity of being humans.
Q25. When do we defile the earth?
Ans. When we take arms against each other, we defile the earth. Wars cause enormous suffering without yielding any result.
Q26. How do all human beings live and suffer the same on the earth?
Ans. The poet says that all live and suffer the same. The human body is the same everywhere. All live under the same sun, use the same air and water. All prosper when there is peace. All starve when there is war. War destroys everyone equally.
Q27. How do we defile and outrage the ‘human earth’ that is ours?
Ans. Hate breeds hatred. Narrow ideas pollute and defile this earth which belongs to all mankind. ‘Hells of fire and dust’ are our own creations. They pollute and outrage the ‘innocence of air that is our own’. We should remember that the mother earth belongs to all lands and all people.
Q28. Explain: ‘Are fed by peaceful harvests’.
Ans. It means the fact that humanity or the world progresses only in peaceful conditions. It is only in the time of harmony and satisfaction that brings prosperity for all.
Q29. What is the air full of? How is it polluted?
Ans. The air is full of innocence. It is polluted by wars and hatred and it also controls the innocent minds of people. Thus, wars and hatred are not good for us.
Q30. What will happen if we hate our brothers?
Ans. Hatred is our biggest enemy in the world. If we hate our brothers it means we deprive ourselves of what we are. It means our self-betrayal and self-condemnation only.