Word Meaning, Summary, Important Questions Of Chapter 3 Keeping Quiet | Class 12

Chapter 4 A Thing of Beauty

Hindi Meaning Of Difficult Words | Chapter 3 Keeping Quiet

S.No.WordMeaningsMeanings (in hindi)Synonyms
1Still Without movement, Calmशांतquiet, tranquil, serene
2For OnceOne Single Timeएक बारonetime
3ExoticUnusal, Strangeअनोखाunique, comical, marvelous
4 RushHurryतुरंतquickly, right away, off-hand
5EnginesFactory, Vehiclesइंजनmechanism
6Cold SeaSea whose water is co;ldशीत सागर…………..
7WhaleType of a big Fishव्हेल……….
8HugeVery Bigविशालgiant, spacious, large
9 InteruptBreakबाधाobstacle, impediment

About The Poet | Pablo Neruda | Chapter 3 Keeping Quiet

Pablo Neruda (July 1904 – September 1973) was from Spain. He was known as a poet when he was 10 years old. He wrote in a variety of styles including poems, historical epics, political manifestos and autobiography. He got the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1971.

Short Summary Of Chapter 3 Keeping Quiet In English

The poet wants each one of us to practice silence and feel the power of silence. He says that all of us should count to twelve and then be quiet, silent and motionless so that for once no language will be spoken on the surface of the Earth. In this moment of silence, poet doesn’t want anyone to even move their arms.

Again the poet reinforces his call not to take a step further, move nor speak. The appeal to not speak in any language is symbolic of asking people to only speak the language of silence. This will give us an opportunity to gather on one platform and introspect. The appeal of not moving arms is made so that we must not move or speak but stay at one place and introspect. He wants people to let their thoughts flow without any hurry or rush. He emphasizes on the fact that if for once everyone goes silent it will be a different feeling or a different experience to see the world come to a halt, where everything stops, and everyone comes together in strangeness, a sudden moment of inactivity, which the world has not observed before. When this moment of silence will be observed then fishermen will not be catching fish and the whales in the cold water will be safe. This suggests that the destruction of nature by human will also stop, even if for a brief moment. He says that a man who goes out to collect salt will also get time to tend their wounded hands and look after them which otherwise would have not been possible for him.

 Then the poet refers to wars and those that participate in it as now there is some time to breathe in and out, without being required to do what is usually done or blindly follow orders. Everyone will be able to introspect and realize that in wars there are no real winners. This is what is inferred from ‘put on clean clothes. The act of putting on new clothes can be seen as taking a different role or adopting a different persona. They would be building mutual trust and brotherhood. In that moment of silence humanity would experience complete harmony.

The poet says that the silence should not be confused with human inactivity or death. What he is trying to propagate is selflessness and stopping acts to meet one’s selfish ends. They should not focus on their lives streaming smoothly but also take a step back and introspect. They will be able to understand themselves and know what they want in life. When one cannot understand their inner self, their hearts are filled with sadness. Also when we threaten ourselves from death, this moment of silence helps us to listen to our inner self. The poet states that the Earth teaches us that after the end of each process starts a new beginning on one hand, winters make us experience the dormant state of life, whereas, the onset of spring sees the blossoming of new life. Similarly, the peace one will feel in the moment of silence would eradicate all evil thoughts and will initiate a new thought process of positivity. There will be no frenzy to work without a break.

We must not only live in harmony with each other but also with the elements of nature. The poet asks to contemplate and think through to achieve brotherhood and understanding. So, the poet starts the process with self. He counts till twelve and goes silent.

Important Previous Year Questions From Chapter 3 Keeping Quiet

SAI (2 marks)

  1. Which is the exotic moment that the poet refers to in ‘Keeping Quiet’? (Delhi 2014)
  2. What is the sadness the poet refers to in the poem ‘Keeping Quiet’? (AI 2014)
  3. How, according to Neruda, can keeping quiet change our attitude to life? (Delhi 2014 C)
  4. Which images in the poem ‘Keeping Quiet’ show that the poem condemns violence? (AI 2014 C)
  5. What are the different kinds of wars mentioned in the poem? What is Neruda’s attitude towards these wars? (AI 2013)
  6. How can suspension of activities help? (AI 2012)
  7. Do you think the poet, Pablo Neruda advocates total inactivity and death? Why/ Why not? (Delhi 2011)
  8. What is the sadness that the poet Pablo Neruda, refers to in the poem, ‘ Quiet’? Keeping (AI 2011)

SA II (3 marks)

  1. What will counting up to twelve and keeping still help us achieve? (Delhi 2015)
  2. Which symbol from nature does the poet invoke that there can be life under apparent stillness? (Delhi 2015)
  3. Life is what it is all about,…. How is keeping quiet related to life? (AI 2015)
  4. Why does one feel a sudden strangeness’ on counting to twelve and keeping quiet? (AI 2015)
  5. How will ‘Keeping Quiet’ protect our environment? (AI 2015)
  6. What will possibly be the effect of keeping quite? (Foreign 2015)
  7. What does the poem, ‘Keeping Quiet’ teach us? (AI 2015 C)

SA III (4 marks)

Read the given extract and answer the questions that follow:

  1. 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 is the significance of the number twelve?

(b) Which two activities does the poet want us to stop?

(c) What does the poet mean by let’s not speak in any language?

(d) Describe the pun in the word, ‘arms. (AI 2016)


perhaps a huge silence

might interrupt this sadness

of never understanding ourselves

and of threatening ourselves with death.

(a) How can we bring about a huge silence?

(b) Why is silence called ‘huge?

(c) What do we do for lack of under standing?

(d) What does this lack ultimately lead to? (Foreign 2016)

  1. It would be an exotic moment without rush, without engines, we would all be together in a sudden strangeness.

(a) Which exotic moment is referred to in these lines?

(b) Why would that moment be strange?

(c) What does the poet advocate in the poem?

(d) What does the poet mean by the word, ‘engines’? (AI 2015 C)

  1. 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


(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? (AI 2014 C)

  1. Perhaps the Earth can teach us

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 does the Earth teach us?

(b) What does the poet mean to achieve by counting up to twelve?

(c) What is the significance of keeping quiet’? (Delhi 2013)

  1. 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) 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 2010)

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Answer Of Chapter 3 Keeping Quiet ​ For The Above Questions

  1. The poet talks about the exotic moment when everyone quietens and becomes still. In that moment, no language must be spoken and there must be no movement; it must be a moment of introspection. It would be a moment free from all types of violence and madness of the world.
  2. The poet refers to the ‘sadness’ of failing to understand nature and oneself in the monotonous everyday existence. He also finds it sad that the humanity is moving towards its own ruin, owing to its unanalysed actions. He regrets the rush of outdoing others that has made one forget the values of humanity.
  3. Silence will give us time to think, to introspect, evaluate our actions and act more responsible. According to Neruda, this is how keeping quiet can change our attitude towards life.
  4. “Fishermen not harming Whales”, “Wars with gas”, ” Wars with fire”, “Victory with no survivors”, images in the poem, ‘Keeping Quiet” show that the poet condemns violence.
  5. The different kinds of wars mentioned in the poem are green wars, wars with gases and wars with fire.
  6. No matter which type of war it is, it is always against either humanity or nature. Therefore,
  7. Neruda condemns all kinds of wars saying that wars may bring victories, but there are no survivors to celebrate such victories. He urges us to stop, keep quiet, count to twelve and introspect.
  8. Suspension of activities will give us time to introspect and assess our own actions. This self reflection would avoid destruction of mankind, ultimately helping us.
  9. No, the poet does not advocate complete inactivity and death. He makes it clear that stillness should not be confused with ‘total inactivity. He merely wants every individual to keep quiet and stay still so as to introspect. He says that everyone has lessons to learn from the earth where life sprouts out of even seemingly dead surroundings.
  10. The sadness, which Pablo Neruda refers to in his poem ‘Keeping Quiet’ is the one that comes from never being able to understand ourselves; it is the sadness of isolation, yet no time for introspection. Humans are oblivious of the consequences of their destructive actions, the poet finds it quite saddening.
  11. Counting upto to twelve and keeping still for this brief interval of time would give us a momentary pause to introspect and understand oneself and each other better. It would also give us n opportunity to stop and think before taking any reckless decision. As a result, we will find inner peace.
  12. The earth is taken as a symbol from nature, which the poet invokes that there can be life under apparent stillness. It is only earth that nurtures life even after death.
  13. Keeping quiet must not be confused with total inactivity. Take the example of earth, how it seems still yet, it nurtures life under apparent stillness. This is how keeping quite is related to life.
  14. On counting to twelve and keeping quiet makes one feel a sudden strangeness’ because everything comes to a standstill. In this stillness one can enjoy the exotic moment and introspect.
  15. Keeping quiet will protect our environment also because in that moment of inactivity man will not exploit nature for his vested interests, fishermen will not harm the whales, there will be no green wars and no wars with gases.
  16. The possible effect of keeping quiet would calm us down, help us to introspect, help us live in peace. It will halt destruction and make us realise the need to be happy and united. Keeping quiet teaches us to live in close proximity with nature without harming it.
  17. The poem ‘ Keeping Quiet’ teach us about how quietness leads to stillness, which further leads to peace and calmness in the world. It also teach us about the importance of introspection.
  18. (a) The number twelve represents the twelve hours marks on the clock to measure time.
  19. (b) The poet wants us to not speak in any language and stop for one second and not move our hands so much.
  20. (c) The poet means that different languages symbolises difference. Keeping silent will ensure peace and give one the chance to introspect.
  21. (d) The word ‘arms’ in the extract refers to both the hands and weapons.
  22. (a) We can bring about a huge silence’ by keeping quiet and counting upto twelve or by halting all activities.
  23. (b) Silence is called ‘ huge’ because it is an exotic moment when every person on earth has become quiet.
  24. (c) For lack of understanding, we must keep quiet and introspect.
  25. (d) This lack ultimately leads to death.
  26. (a) The exotic moment referred to in these lines is the moment when everyone keeps quiet and there are no movements.
  27. (b) The moment would be strange because there would be no rush and no noise. It will bring the whole humanity together.
  28. (c) In this poem, the poet advocates keeping quiet for twelve seconds and in that time, everyone should introspect. This would save mankind from disaster.
  29. (d) By engines the poet means machines, automobiles, factories, etc.
  30. (a) ‘We’ in the above lines refers to the people wants us to do nothing for once of the world.
  31. (b) The poet wants us to do nothing for once because he wants us to stop and introspect and in the process take stock of our actions.
  32. (c) ‘Sadness’ that the poet refers to in the poem is the due to causing so much destruction to the world and people.
  33. (a) The Earth teaches us that there is life under seeming stillness.
  34. (b) The poet wishes to wipe out the discord in the world and the reason for the imbalance that exists between man and nature. Ultimately, he wants to ensure the survival of the human race.
  35. (c) Keeping quiet will provide time for introspection and create oneness among human beings.
  36. (a) The poet wants as to keep quiet so as to keep stock of our mindless activities and do self-analysis. Keeping quiet will give us mental relaxation, will ensure and eventually save mankind from doom.
  37. (b) The poet wants us to keep quiet for a second, not move our arms so much and stop all activities.
  38. (c) By ‘not move our arms’ the poet means to not move our hands nor weapons. This will prevent as from harming others thus, resulting in no wars and violence.










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