On Keeping Quiet Summary Notes

On Keeping Quiet About the Author

Ricardo Eliecer Neftali Reyes Basoalto better known by his pen name and, later, legal name Pablo Neruda was a Chilean poet diplomat and politician. He was bom on 12 July 1904. His father was a railway employee and his mother, who died shortly after his birth, was a teacher.

Neruda became known as a poet when he was 13 years old. Alongside his literary activities, Neruda studied French and pedagogy at the University of Chile in Santiago. Meruda occupied many diplomatic positions in various countries during his lifetime and served a term as a Senator for the Chilean Communist Par Between 1927 and 1935, the government put him in charge of a number of honorary consulships, which took him to Burma, Ceylon, Java, Singapore, Buenos Aires, Barcelona, and Madrid.

The Spanish Civil War and the murder of Garcia Lorca, whom Neruda knew, affected him strongly and made him join the Republican movement, first in Spain, and later in France, where he started working on his collection of poems Espana enel Corazon
and, later, legal name Pablo Neruda was a Chilean poet diplomat and politician.

He was bom on 12 July 1904. His father was a railway employee and his mother, who died shortly after his birth, was a teacher. Neruda became known as a poet when he was 13 years old. Alongside his literary activities, Neruda studied French and pedagogy at the University of Chile in Santiago.

Meruda occupied many diplomatic positions in various countries during his lifetime and served a term as a Senator for the Chilean Communist Par Between 1927 and 1935, the government put him in charge of a number of honorary consulships, which took him to Burma, Ceylon, Java, Singapore, Buenos Aires, Barcelona, and Madrid.

The Spanish Civil War and the murder of Garcia Lorca, whom Neruda knew, affected him strongly and made him join the Republican movement, first in Spain, and later in France, where he started working on his collection of poems Espana enel Corazon
(1937).

The same year he returned to his native country, to which he had been recalled, and his poetry during the following perio was characterised by an orientation towards political and social matters. He won the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1971. He died on 23 September 1973.

Neruda is often considered the national poet ofChile, and his works have been popular and influential worldwide. The Colombian novelist Gabriel Garcia Marquez once called him “the greatest poet of the 20th century in any language”, and Harold Bloom included Neruda as one of the 26 writers central to the Western tradition in his book ‘The western Canon. ’

On Keeping Quiet Summary

The given poem “Keeping Quiet” is penned by the Chilean poet Pablo Neruda. He is one Of the greatest poet of the 20th century. The poet has written this poem with the aim of creating universal brotherhood and peace among humanity.

“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 a second,
And not move our arms so much,”

At the beginning of the poem, the poet, Pablo Nemda gently urges everybody to stay ‘still’ by counting to twelve, i.e., for a minute or an hour or a day or for twelve months of a year. (The counting till twelve may be interpreted as signifying the twelve – hours on the face of a clock or twelve months.of a year). The hands on a clock – and the months of a year move monotonously while we are involved in our drudgery to make a living.

The poet advises us to stay silent and not speak in any language. The people of the world speak in many languages. Each one is different from the other. Not all people can understand or speak in languages other than their native language. There is a great chance of misinterpreting each other, or the meaning of what is spoken may be lost in translation.

This will lead to misunderstanding among people, because languages have their own limits. Hence it is better to take refuge in silence to avoid strife and quarrels. The poet implies that it is better to be silent than to speak out and be misunderstood. According to an old saying ‘silence is golden’ – it keeps us away from troubles.

The poet again urges us to ‘stop for a second and not move our arms so much’. Everything in this universe is under ceaseless movement. The sun, the moon, the stars, the planet, the hands of a clock and living beings are in a state of constant motion (activity). The poet regards ‘movement’ as a symbol of aggression. Hence he urges us to keep still, to avoid aggression, of which there is a lot in this constantly mobile modem world.

“It would be an exotic moment
Without rush, without engines;
We would all be together
In a sudden strangeness.”

According to Neruda, this ‘silence’ will be an ‘exotic moment’ there would be no rush; no engines (no noise and movement) and all the people in this world would be united by this strange silence.

“Fishermen in the cold sea
Would not harm whales
And the man gathering salt
would not look at his hurt hands.”

In that ‘moment’ when we are all ‘still and silent’, the fishermen in the sea would stop their act of killing the whales and the men who collect salt would stop their work and look at their bruised hands, hurt from the burdens of their toil, rather than by their work.

In these lines the poet is subtly hinting the need for conservation of the environment and ecology and social equality of the working class people.

“Those who prepare green wars,
Wars with gas, wars with fire,
Victories with no survivors,
Would put on clean clothes And
walk about with their brothers in
the shade, doing nothing.”

These lines highlight the devastating consequences of war. Mo st of the troubles in the world, from the plight of the whales to the horrors of war is the result of man’s inability to keep quiet (peaceful). He condemns the people who prepare ‘green wars’ (Biological warfare) and ‘wars with gas, wars with fire’ (Nuclear wars).

Though they emerge as victors in these wars, there would be no survivors. The poet urges them to remove their blood – stained uniforms and put on ‘clean cloths’ (may be the poet implies by ‘clean cloths’ as ‘having a change of attitude’ and walk with others in the shade (peace) doing nothing (being peaceful) and do some self – introspection.

“What I want should not be confused
with total inactivity.
Life is what it is about;
I want no truck with death.”

The poet sounds imperative when he clearly states ‘What I want should not be confused with total inactivity”. He makes it clear that what he’s advocating shouldn’t be confused with total inactivity. Inactivity is death, and he wants nothing to do with death – (I have no truck with death). His message is aimed at the way of living. We should live a peaceful and non-aggressive life. (Life is what it is about). He implies that we lead life peacefully and harmoniously and not kill each other for some reason or other.

“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
Perhaps the earth can teach us
As when everything seems dead
And later proves to be alive.”

These insightful lines of the poem compel us to introspect within ourselves. We are ‘single minded’ – determined, and our only aim in life is to be active and we keep moving all our lives (Inactivity is against the good morals of modem men). The grave reality of modem life is that we are intensely caught in the web of rush and activity. We are so occupied with activity that we have no time to introspect within ourselves.

We have no time to understand ourselves. We are puppets in the hands of modem life. If everybody kept quiet for a single moment, a huge silence may interrupt the sadness ofbeing too busy to understand ourselves. The monotonous rush of life makes individuals threaten themselves with death and this failure to keep quiet leads nations into wars with other nations and ultimately death and destruction.

Hence ‘Keeping Silence’ may act as a balm and heal the self-inflicted wounds of humanity. We will then be able to analyze the real purpose of our life on this earth. The poet means to convey the meaning that mere movement should not be confused with life. This is probably the gravest mistake that man has ever committed; he has confused movement with life. Hence, there is a need to keep quiet. Only then will we be able appreciate life.

The poet makes this earth as an example for us to emulate in our lives. The earth can teach us how to live our lives. Though the earth looks dormant, it is in feet very dynamic. In one season (winter)’ it looks dead and still, yet in another season (spring) it is look alive. Similarly a few moments of ‘silence’ (in activity) is necessary for man to rejenuate and thus he can resume his activities with a new vigor and vision.

“Now I’ll count up to twelve
And you keep quiet and I will go.”

At the end of the poem the poet requests the reader to keep quiet while he counts up to twelve. As a poet, he has given the message and initiated a process of introspection and reflection within us, and his work is over. He is ready to leave. He has left the choice of following his message to us, if we want to live a wholesome and meaningful life.

In these lines the poet subtly implies that when we keep silence and introspect, ‘I’ – ‘Ego’, will go. When our ‘ego’ disappears, disseminates, we will have better chance of living in universal brotherhood and peace on this earth.

On Keeping Quiet Glossary

  • Now we will count to twelve: could be a reference to the hours in the clock or months – passing of Time
  • And not move our arms so much: signifying violence or our selfish pursuits.
  • Exotic: unusual and exciting
  • Green wars: denote new wars and biological weapons.

On Keeping Quiet Questions and Answers

I. Answer the following in one or two sentences (or as required)

Question 1.
Whom does “we” refer to in the poem?
Answer:
‘We’ refers to the entire humanity.

Question 2.
Why does the poet want us to ‘do nothing’ for once?
Answer:
The poet wants us to ‘do nothing’ for once so that we can introspect and analyse our actions.

Question 3.
What is the ‘sadness’ that the poet refers to in the poem?
Answer:
The ‘sadness’ that the poet refers to in the poem, is one which arising due to the fact that we never understand ourselves or our actions, because we are so involved in our daily activities, that we never find anytime to intrapect within ourselves about of actions and their results.

Question 4.
How can a huge silence do good to us?
Answer:
The ‘Huge Silence’ means peace which according to the poet is so elusive in this world. When we are ‘silent’ peaceful, we will be able to introspect within and analyze our actions and will be able to take the right path. Then ‘sadness’ will be eliminated form this world.

Question 5.
Why does the poet count up to twelve?
Answer:
The poet advices us to count up to twelve, because we will have time to calm down, if we are in anger about something. Moreover it will help us to introspect on the pros and cons of our actions.

Question 6.
Why does the poet want us to keep quiet?
Answer:
‘Keeping quiet’ means being peaceful. When we are at peace with ourselves we will have the mentality to introspect, reflect on our actions. When we introspect within ourselve we will be able to find solutions to any problems that are tormenting us.

Question 7.
What does he mean by “not move our arms”?
Answer:
The poet’s suggestion to ‘not move our arms’ implies that we should not raise our arms in agression. ‘Arms’ also mean weapons. ‘Arms’ – weapons – are implements of aggression. Hence by not ‘Raising our arms’, there will be peace in this world.

Question 8.
What will happen if there is no rush or running of engines?
Answer:
If there is no rush or the world is ‘without engines’ there would be an unusual peace and tranquility in the world. There would be a rare calm in the world.

II. Answer the Questions in About a Page:

Question 1.
What does the Earth teach us?
Answer:
The poet makes this earth as an example for us to emulate in our lives. The earth looks dormant, it is in fact dynamic. In one season (winter) it looks dead and still, yet in another season (spring) it looks vibrant. Similarly a few man to rejuvanate and thus he can resume his activity with a new vigour and vision.

Question 2.
What will keeping quiet help us achieve?
Answer:
‘Keeping quiet’ will develop a better understanding among human beings and allow us to establish brotherhood. Keeping quiet will help us to attain a state of peace. There will be no agreession, war or loss of life, keeping quiet will help conserve our natural resources. Keeping quiet will bring social equality and universal brotherhood, keeping quite helps us to understand ourselves and analyze our actions.

Question 3.
Why does the poet suggest us not to speak in any language?
Answer:
Language is a means of communication. When we communicate we break the silence i.e., peace. The poet suggests us not to speak in any language. The people of the world speak in many languages. Each one is different from the other. Not all people can understand or speak in languages other than their own native language. There is a great chance of Misnterpreting each other or the meaning of what is spoken may be lost in translation.

This will lead to misunderstanding among people, because languages have their own limits. Hence it is better to take refuge in silence to avaoid strife and quarrels. More by not speaking i.e., being silent we will be able to introspect within us and understand and analyze our actions and their consequences.

Question 4.
Explain the “Exotic moment”?
Answer:
‘Exotic Moment’ means a new kind of moment that we have not experienced before. According to Neruda, this ‘silence’ will be an exotic moment, there will be no rush, no engines (no noise and movement) and all the people in this world would be united by this strange silence.

This will help us to meditate among ourselves and a strange new outlook will develop among humanity. The moment appears ‘exotic’ because when we keep still, we will not be aggressive, we will not wage wars, we will not kill animals and birds, we will not destroy our natural resources, we will not pollute our environment, we will not be selfish, we will not be oppressive and so on. Hence this will appear strange, hence it is an ‘exotic moment’.

Question 5.
What does the poet expect of the fishermen and why?
Answer:
Fishermen ensnare evert a large animal such as whale in their nets. They represent oppression. The poet expects them to eschew this oppression and save the world from degradation. Their selfishnes will lead to the destruction of the world, hence the poet expects them to stop their indiscriminate destruction of our natural resources and save the earth from doom.

III. Answer the Following in About a Page and Half:

Question 1.
What is the significance of ‘Keeping Quiet’?
Answer:
‘Keeping quiet’ signifies peace, restraint, mindfulness which promotes fellowship, solidarity, universal brotherhood, justice and ecological conservation. The poet asks us to ‘count to twelve’. This ‘moment’ of quietness, stillness and silence gives us time to introspect the merits and demerits of the action we are about to commit and do it accordingly. This means we will be able to contemplate on the results of our action.

The poet wants everyone of us to ‘keep still’ which must not be confused with inativity. Keeping still represents ‘retrain’. We should take a moment to think about the pros and cons of our action. When the poet asks us to not speak in any language, he menas to say that we have to take recourse to silence. This will prevent animosity among human beings.

The moment of ‘keeping still’ will be an ‘exotic moment’ because the people of this world will be united in universal brother – hood. There will be a sudden and strange camaradiere between human beings and all the other things on earth. This state of universal brotherhood will stop wars, ecological destruction, social inequality and economic inequality.

The people who advocate wars will have a change of heart and live peacefully with others. Keeping quiet, not to be confused with in activity – will enable us to stop and introspect within us. When we keep quiet and count upto twelve our ego will be destroyed. We will be one among our fellow humans.

Question 2.
How would man and nature benefit in this moment of silence? Explain?
Answer:
In a moment of silence we are all ‘still and silent’. The fishermen in the sea would stop their act of killing the whales and the men who collect salt would stop their work and look at the bruised hands, hurt from the burdens of toil, rather than by their work. The act of ‘silence’ will prove beneficial because the natural resources of this earth will be conserved. Man will not unnecessarily pollute the environment. His greed will be curbed. The salt – gatherer will rest from toil, giving time for his hands to heal.

A moment of silence will help to mitigate the devastating consequences of war, the unnecessary slaughter of man and destruction of the earth. Most ofthe troubles in the world, from the plight of whlaes to horrors ofwar is the result of man’s inability to be silent and still. They wage wars. Though they emerge victors there would be no survivors. Hence silence will help thee warmongers to introspect and contemplate their actions.

They will realize the futility of wars. This realization will help them turn a new leaf in their life. They will discard their blood – stained clothes, arms and ammunition and wear clean cloths – they whill have a change of attitude and cultivate friendly relationship with others and five peacefully in universal brotherhood.

Hence ‘silence’ will act as a balm and heal the self inflicted wounds ofhumanity. This ‘silence’ will enable us to analyze the real purpose of our life on this earth.

Question 3.
What is the sadness that the poet refers to in the poem? Elaborate?
Answer:
In the poem ‘Keeping Quiet’, the ‘sadness’ that the poet refers to is failing to understand oneself in the monotony of the daily existence. Human beings are not able to understand the essence of their lives in their rush of activity. Man is an intelligent animal, the highest living being the evolutionary order of the earth, yet he fails to understand himself and his actions are not based on intelligence or rationality. Humanity is in disharmony with itself.

We are ‘single – minded’ – determined, and our only aim in life is to be active and we keep moving all our lives. Inactivity is against the good morals of modem men. The grave reality of modemlife is that we are intensly caught in the web of modem life, i.e, in our pursuit of materalistic wealth. We have no time to understand ourselves. We are puppets in the hands of modem life.

If everybody kept quiet for a single moment, a huge silence may interrupt the sadness of monotonous life. The monotonous rush of life makes individuals threaten themselves with death. This failure to keep quiet for a single moment, a huge silence may interrupt the sadness of monotonous life.

The monotonous rush of life makes individuals threaten themselves with death. This failure to keep quiet leads nations to wars with other nations and ultimately death, destruction and sadness. The mad rush of modem life doesn’t leave enough time for people to mingle with each other and healthy interaction among them.

They cannot share their happiness or even sadness. They have no time to confide with each other. Ultimately they have no time to converse with themsleves, to introspect within themselves, to contemplate their actions. This is the ‘sadness’ that the poet refers to in the poem ‘keeping quiet’ we have no time to ‘keep quiet’ had that is sad.

Question 4.
Comment on the images in the poem which show that the poet condemns violence?
Answer:
In the poem ‘Keeping Quiet’ the poet pablo Neruda condems violence. The image of a ‘fisherman in the cold sea / would not harm whales’, shows that the poet does not favour violence towards animals but he is optimistic that people will realize that they are destroying the ecology, they will be sensible enough not to destroy other living creatures.

In the lines:

Those who prepare green wars, wars with gas, wars with fire,
victories with no survivors,
would put on clean clothes
and walk about with their brothers
in the shade, doing nothing

The poet shows that abhorrs war and hopes for peace. He condemns the people who wage ‘green wars’ (biological wars) and ‘wars with gas’ wars with fire’ (Nuclear wars). He dwells on the irony that these warmongers will emerge as victors but there will be no surviors.

But he is optimistic. He foresees a peaceful future. These war – mongers will realize the futility of wars, they will discard there blood – stained uniforms and put on clean clothes. They will have a change of heart and live peacefully in universal brotherhood, ‘doing nothing’ by ‘doing nothing’ the poet implies that ‘they won’t wage wars again’.

In the lane ‘I want no truck with death’ the poet reiterates his refusal to have any association with death. He wants us to eschew violence and lead life peacefully and harmoniously and not kill each other for some reason or the other.

Question 5.
What can human beings learn from nature?
Answer:
The natural world is in a vibrant staff of active symbiotic relationship. All things in nature are interdependent. If one link in the chain of active interdependee in nature is lost then the whole of nature is destroyed. As we known a small fish is food for a big fish, a big fish is food for a large fish, a large fish is food for another larger fish and so on. In the food chain if the small fishes are destroyed the whole food chain gets lost and ultimately there will be a dearth of fish in the ocean.

Hence taking example from nature we human beings should always be in a state of universal brotherhood. We should learn to live with each other peacefully and cordially to survive on earth. In the poem ‘Keeping Quiet’ the poet makes this earth an example for us to emulate in our fives.

Though the earth looks dormant, it is in fact very dynamic. In one season (winter) it looks dead and still, yet in another season (spring) it is vibrant. Similarly a few moments of ‘silence’ (inactivity) isnecessary for man to rejenuavate and that he can resume his activities with a new vigour and vision.

On Keeping Quiet Language Component

Exercise – 1
Answer the Following Questions:

Question 1.
What is non – verbal communication?
Answer:
The form of communication in which words are not used is called non – verbal communication.

Question 2.
Mention the types of non – verbal communication?
Answer:
Type of Non – Verbal communication

  1. Kinsics (Body Language)
  2. Para Linguists (The Language of vice)
  3. Proxemics (The language of space/distance)
  4. Chronemics (The Language of time)
  5. Haptics (The language of touch)

Question 3.
What is body language? What are the main aspects of body language?
Answer:
A Systematic study of the movement of human body in the process of communication is called kinesies or study of body language. The main aspects of body language or kinestics are:

  1. Personal Appearance
  2. Facial Expression
  3. Eye contact
  4. Movement
  5. Posture
  6. Gesture
  7. Illustrators
  8. Regulators

Question 4.
What is gesture? Give examples?
Answer:
Gesture: Gesture refers to the movement of any part of the body such as hands, arms, fingers, head, shoulders etc to convey, reinforce or illustrate a meaning. Eg: Regulators: nodding your head to indicate to keep talking and movements of neck, eyes and hand gestures.

Question 5.
Define space language?
Answer:
Proxemics is space language. It is the study of how we communicate with space / distance around us. The space around us and its contents convey a definite meaning. Our interaction with people around us has a well – defined or well – understood distance / space.

For eg: When we are with our family we keep very Minimal distance between us, say 0-18 inches but in a public space we maintain a respectable distance, say 12-25 ft.

English Summary

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *