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Class 12 English FLAMINGO – POETRY ~ Keeping Quiet

                                          Keeping Quiet

          –Pablo Neruda
Points to Remember
 According to the poet, keeping still and quiet will facilitate introspection and a feeling of unviersal harmony.
 The use of number twelve can be associated with twelve hours of the clock or number of months in a year.
 The poet says that silence will be exotic, because it will be a blissful moment, a near-divine experience when we all will be together.
 In that exotic moment, even the fishermen (who represent the people who kill and harm other creatures) would not harm the whales. Salt gatherers represent poor strata of the society.
 By green wars the poet means waging war against our green zone i.e., exploitation of nature by human beings.
 By 'wars with gas, wars with fire' the poet means new weapons of mass destructions like wars with atomic or nuclear bombs or wars
with chemicals.
 The poet believes in life so he is against total inactivity. He only wants to interrupt the sad and cruel activities of the world.
 Inactivity is death and activity is the essence of life, so whatever is emphasised upon by him is connected with life not death.
 We can learn a lot from nature. The poet involves the symbol of mother earth to reinforce his idea that there is wisdom in tranquility
and peace.
 The earth is calm and soothing. Things appear to be dormant but actually are constantly active.
 The poet states that we must try to understand what life means in terms of activities i.e., which actions are worthy of being done, and which are not.
1. Those who prepare green wars
war 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

Q1- What does the title of the poem suggest?
A) Inactivity
B) noise
C) unhappiness
D) Maintenance of silence

Q2- What does the poem speak about?
A) the necessity to be happy
B) the necessity to introspect , understand and have feelings of brotherhood
C) the necessity to work quietly
D) none

Q3- What does counting upto 12 signify and how will it help?
A) hours of the day
B) months of a year
C) it will help to create peace and harmony
D) all

Q4- What is poet's pen name?
A) Neruda
B) Pable
C) Pablo
D) Pablo Neruda

Q5- What does the style of the poem symbolise, that the poet used to write with?
A) desires
B) happiness
C) hope
D) desire and hope

Q6- What is the original language of the poem ?
A) English
B) French
C) Pali
D) Spanish

Q7- What is the essence or message of the poem ?
A) introspection and retrospection to be more peaceful and be in harmony
B) to prosper
C) to be happier
D) to reach out more people

Q8- What does the poet feel is needed to be at peace?
A) meeting with people
B) talking with people
C) interaction with the people
D) Soul searching
Q9- According to the poet what creates barriers?
A) interactions
B) reactions
C) fighting
D) languages

Q10- Why does the poet ask people not to speak?
A) because it creates noise
B) he doesn't like noise
C) it makes things unpleasant
D) because it creates barriers or obstacles in the form of misunderstanding amongst people

Q11- What is the rhyming scheme used in the poem?
A) enclosed rhyme
B) Monorhyme
C) sonnet
D) Free verse

Q12- How is keeping quiet related to life and can change attitude?
A) it helps to think and search soul
B) helps to scratch one's soul
C) helps to develop new thinking process
D) All these

Q13- How will keeping quiet protect our environment?
A) by creating peace and brotherhood feelings
B) no noise will be there
C) people will not fight
D) none

Q14- What is destroying the environment?
A) unthoughtful actions
B) violent actions
C) speaking without thinking
D) All

Q15- What does number 12 represent?
A) hours of the day and months of a year
B) earth
C) clock
D) cricket players

Q16- What does the poem Keeping Quiet teach us?
A) how to maintain silence
B) not to make noise
C) speaking creates noise
D) To be peaceful , thoughtful and have feelings of brotherhood

Q17- Not move our arms' what does this expression refer to?
A) sit quietly
B) stand quietly
C) to be inactive
D) sitting still without any movement

Q18- Why is silence treated as a big issue?
A) it helps to search our soul
B) helps us to analyze our actions
C) helps us to be thoughtful and find our true self
D) All these

Q19- What should not be confused with total inactivity or death?
A) no movement
B) a statue
C) talking people
D) Stillness and silence

Q20- What can be a cure or an antidote to violent actions?
A) speaking practice
B) wise words
C) polished language
D) Practice of silence

Q21- What is the sadness in the poem that the poet speaks about ?
A) violence because of unthoughtfulness of the people
B) unnecessary movements
C) speaking aloud
D) fighting

Q22- What does the earth symbolise?
A) perseverence and new beginning from seemingly stillness
B) stillness
C) greenery
D) prosperity

Q23- What is always alive even when everything seems to be dead or still?
A) mountains
B) rivers
C) Sun
D) Earth and nature are always alive

Q24- Why does the poet request people to keep quiet?
A) to maintain silence
B) to avoid noise
C) to be friendly
D) in the hope of becoming more thoughtful and peaceful

Q25- What does the poet want people to do for one second?
A) to sing
B) to close eyes
C) to stand quietly
D) to be silent and motionless

Q26- How can the moments of no activity help people?
A) they will be healthy
B) they will be happy
C) they will work easily
D) to relax and be more thoughtful

Q27- What will happen if there are no engines and no crowd?
A) noise will be lessened
B) no crowd on roads
C) no traffic rush
D) it will create a perfect, happy moment

Q28- Why is the moment of silence called Exotic?
A) because of the beautiful scenery around
B) because of the gathering
C) because of large gathering
D) because of perfect peace and harmony

Q29- What would everyone feel at that exotic moment?
A) happy
B) content
C) dancing
D) strange blissful oneness

Q30- How long is the poet expecting everyone to stay still?
A) for 10 minutes
B) for 12 minutes
C) for 15 minutes
D) for 1 second till we count 12

Q31- Why is the poet asking everyone not to speak any language?
A) to avoid noise
B) to avoid loud voices
C) to avoid people
D) to avoid conflicts and misunderstandings

Q32- What is the poet expecting from fishermen?
A) to find more fish
B) to go deeper into the sea
C) to think and stop harming the fish
D) none

Q33- While gathering salt, what will happen to the man if he keep silent for a moment?
A) he will stop dropping it
B) he will look at the ground
C) he will walk carefully
D) he will think of the harm the salt is doing to his hands

Q34- What does hurt hand refer to ?
A) Growing needs of the man
B) growing greed of man
C) unfulfilled desires
D) growing insensitivity of man to pain

Q35- How will silence benefit the man and nature?
A) both will be friends
B) man will know nature better
C) man will be healthy
D) man will stop hurting nature and both will heal themselves

Q36- Which images in the poem show that the poet condemns or hate violence?
A) fishemen not harming whales
B) wars leaving behind no survivors to celebrate
C) poet's refusal to deal with death
D) All these

Q37- What symbol from nature the poet uses to prove that keeping quiet is not total inactivity?
A) Sun
B) Soil
C) earth
D) Nature and earth

Q38- What are the different kinds of wars mentioned in the poem?
A) War against humanity
B) War against nature
C) War with gases and fire
D) All these

Q39- What can human beings learn from nature?
A) beauty
B) keeping quiet
C) to be happy
D) working with silence

Q40- How does the poet perceive life?
A) as stillness
B) as silence
C) a noisy place
D) a continuous evolution of nature


Question.1. Read the extract given below and answer the questions that follow.
“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(Compartment 2014 Modified)
(a) Whom does ‘we’ refer to in the above lines?
(b) Why does the poet want us to ‘do nothing’ for once?
(c) What is the‘sadness’that the poet refers to in the poem?
(d) How can a huge silence do good to us?
(a) ‘We’ refers to the human beings, who are always thinking about their own progress and advancement.
(b) The poet wants us to ‘do nothing’ for once so that our mind can be at peace and we are able to introspect and analyse our own actions.
(c) The poet refers to the ‘sadness’ which arises due to the fact that people fail to understand themselves. They have no time to introspect about their actions and their consequences.
(d) A huge silence can do good to us because we are able to achieve peace in this silence. It helps us in analysing ourselves and our actions, interrupting the sadness of threatening ourselves with death.
Question.2.Read the extracts given below and answer the questions that follow.
Perhaps the Earth can teach us
as when everything seems dead
and later proves to be alive
Now I’ll count upto twelve
and you keep quiet and I will go.
(a) What does the Earth teach us?
(b) What does the poet mean to achieve by counting upto twelve?
(c) What is the significance of ’keeping quiet’? (All India 2013; Modified)

(d) What is always alive, even when everything seems to be dead?
(a) What does the Earth teach us?
(b) Why does the poet countupto twelve?
(c) What will keeping quiet help us achieve?(Delhi 2008 Modified)
(d) How does the Earth teach us that there is activity even in apparent stillness?
(a) The Earth teaches us how new life springs from dead remains, and how there is life under apparent stillness.
(b) The poet wants to achieve peace by counting upto twelve. He wants us to introspect in a moment of silence.

(c) Keeping quiet doesn’t mean just not speaking. It means that we should avoid all activities which hurt nature and, in turn, hurt us.
(d) The Earth is always alive, even when everything else seems to be dead. There is always some activity going on in nature beneath its apparent stillness.
(a) The Earth teaches us how new life springs from dead remains. It gives us lessons about sustaining and resurrecting life.
(b) The poet is initiating an exercise in meditation. When he counts upto twelve, the meditator puts away all digressions and experiences bliss. He wants all meditators to experience that bliss.
(c) Keeping quiet will help us introspect, reflect and experience silence and peace. This will in turn help us find solutions to our problems.
(d) Though the Earth appears still, there are so many changes that keep occurring beneath its surface. A seed that seems dead germinates under the Earth and a new life springs from it.

Question.3.Read the extract given below and answer the questions that follow.
For once on the face of the Earth
let’s not speak in any language,
let’s stop for one second,
arid not move our arms so much.
(a) Why does the poet want us to keep quiet?
(b) What does he want us to do for one second?
(c) What does he mean by “not move our arms”? (Delhi 2012; Modified)
(d) How can this moment of stillness help us?
(a) The poet wants us to keep quiet in the hope that the moment of tranquillity might help us in finding the answers to our problems.
(b) The poet wants us to be silent and motionless for one second.
(c) The poet means that we should be in a state of total stillness with no physical activity at all.
(d) This moment of stillness can provide us physical and mental rest, during which our mind will be at peace. We can analyse our actions and their consequences and avoid rash or thoughtless behaviour.
Question.4. Read the extract given below and answer the questions that follow.
It would be an exotic moment
without rush, without engines,
we would all be together
in a sudden strangeness.
(a) What will happen if there is no rush or running of engines?
(b) Why would it be called an exotic moment?
(c) How would we feel at tliat moment? (Foreign 2011; Modified)
(d) Name the poem and the poet.
(a) It will be an ecstatic moment of tranquillity without rush or running of engines.
(b) It would be called an exotic moment because it will be an instance of universal peace and brotherhood. In that moment, all of us would initiate introspection through meditation and the whole world will be enveloped in quietness.
(c) We would feel very strange at that moment, because at that time everyone will have a feeling of oneness with their fellow human beings. It will be a new feeling altogether.
(d) The poem is ‘Keeping Quiet’, and the poet is Pablo Neruda.
Question.5. Read the extract given below 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) How long does the poet want to stay still?
(b) What does he hope to achieve by keeping quiet?
(c) What does the poet mean by “not move our arms so much”? (All India 2009; Modified)
(d) Why does the poet suggest us not to sp,eak in any language?
(a) The poet exhorts each one of us to count to twelve and then be quiet, silent and motionless for a brief moment.
(b) He hopes to achieve and realise the value of quiet introspection. In this silence, we shall feel that all are together and will experience a strange feeling of togetherness.
(c) By this, he means that we should not make any physical movement, as physical activity will stop dr interrupt our introspection.
(d) The poet wants us to simply be silent for a moment and utilise that time to understand ourselves as well as others. Besides, language differences often lead to conflict, which the poet, perhaps, wants to avoid.
Question.6.Read the extract given below and answer the questions that follow.
Fishermen ip.the cold sea
would not harm whales
and the man gathering salt
would look at his hurt hands.
(a) What does the poet expect of the fishermen and why?
(b) While gathering salt, what will the man do?
(c) What do the hurt hands imply? (All India 2008;Modified)
(d) How would man and nature benefit in this moment of silence?
(a) In the exotic moment of silence and introspection, fishermen will become conscioi the fact that they are causing harm to the whales. The poet expects this because he feels that at this opportune moment all evil will come to an end.
(b) The man gathering salt will stop for a while at that quiet moment and look at his hurt
(c) ‘Hurt hands’ means that human beings are oblivious of the pain they are causing to themselves in the pursuit of amassing more and more comforts. They have no time for themselves.
(d) In this moment of silence, man will not harm nature, and both human beings and nature will get some time to attend to and recover from their wounds.
Short Answer Type Questions (3 Marks, 30-40 words)
Question.1. Which is the exotic moment that the poet refers to in ‘Keeping Quiet’? (Delhi 2014)
Answer. The poet refers to the moment of stillness and quietness as an exotic moment. It would be an exotic moment, as such a tranquillity will initiate peace and brotherhood. There would be no movement, no talk, no activity and consequently, no violence.
Question.2. What is the sadness that the poet refers to in the poem ‘Keeping Quiet’? (All India 2014)
What is the sadness that the poet refers to in the poem? (All India 2011)
Answer. The poet refers to the sadness which surrounds man due to not having any time for himself, the pain of not understanding what he or his fellow human beings want. He has no time for introspection; as a result, he is unable to analyse his own actions and understand its consequences.
Question.3. Which images in the poem ‘Keeping Quiet’ show that the poet condemns violence?
(Compartment 2014)
Answer. The images of fishermen not harming the whales in the sea and wars leaving behind no survivors to celebrate the victory show that the poet condemns violence. The poet wants the warmongers to change their blood-stained clothes to clean ones. The poet’s refusal to have any association or dealing with death also shows that he is not in favour of any form of violence.
Question.4. What symbol from nature does the poet use to prove that keeping quiet is not total
inactivity? (Foreign2014)
Answer. The poet uses nature as a symbol to explain his idea that there can be life under apparent stillness. According to him, keeping quiet is not total inactivity. A seed may appear to be dead and inactive, but one day, the same seed may turn into a fruitful tree.
Question.5. How, according to Neruda, can keeping quiet change our attitude to life?
(Compartment 2014)
Answer. Keeping quiet and suspending all our activities for a brief moment will give us time to introspect and analyse our own actions. We will develop a new understanding of our surroundings and thus change our attitude to life. We will check our destructive ways and try to be more positive and constructive.
Question.6.What are the different kinds of wars mentioned in the poem? What is Neruda’s
attitude towards these wars? (Delhi 2013)
Answer. The poet has written about wars against humanity and nature. Green wars, wars with poisonous gases and wars with fire are the different kinds of wars mentioned in the poem. Wars do good to no one. Pablo Neruda feels that such wars may bring victory, but there are no survivors. It means that there is heavy loss on both sides.
Question.7. How can suspension of activities help? (All India 2012)
Answer. The poet believes that suspension of activities will allow man to introspect, which can help them in analysing their own actions, and in solving many of their problems based on caste, religion or nationality. It will help them develop a new understanding of their surroundings, and thus make them mend their destructive ways.
Question.8. Do you think the poet advocates total inactivity and death? (Delhi 2011)
Answer. No, the poet clearly states that his asking for stillness should not be confused with total inactivity or death. He perceives life to be a continuous process, where man’s activities should not lead to destruction of fellow human beings or nature, but should be channelised in a resourceful way.
Question.9. According to the poet, what is it that human beings can learn from nature? (All India 2010)
Answer. Life under apparent stillness in attitude is the thing which man can learn from nature. The Earth is never in a state of total inactivity. Nature carries on its work even where there is stillness all around. Winter is associated with inactivity, but this is not actually true.
Question.10.What will counting upto twelve and keeping quiet help us to achieve? (Foreign 2009)
Answer. The poet asks each one of us to count to twelve and then be quiet, silent and motionless. This quietness will create a moment of togetherness among all; a condition which is foremost for the survival of humanity, which is indeed an achievement. It will also give us One to analyse our actions and their consequences.

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