Keeping Quiet Class 12 Important Questions and Answers

If you're a student preparing for your Class 12 English exams, you may be looking for helpful resources to aid in your studies. One important topic to focus on is the poem "Keeping Quiet" by Pablo Neruda. Here are some key questions and answers to help you better understand the poem and prepare for your exams.

keeping quiet class 12 important questions and answers
SubjectEnglish Language & Literature
Chapter NameKeeping Quiet
TypeImportant Questions and Answers
Book NameFlamingo

Happiness is not by chance, but by choice.

- Jim Rohn

Q. No. 1) Read the extract and answer the questions given below:

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.

 It would be an exotic moment

 without rush, without engines,

we would all be together

 in a sudden strangeness.

i. The poet uses the word “let’s” to _______

a. initiate a conversation between the poet and the readers.

b. invite readers as part of the poem’s larger call to humanity.

c. welcome readers into the world of the poem and its subject.

d. address readers as fellow members of the human race.

Ans. Option (b)

ii. Margaret Atwood said, “Language divides us into fragments, I wanted to be whole.”

Choose the option that correctly comments on the relationship between Margaret Atwood’s words and the line from the above extract – “let’s not speak in any language

a. Atwood endorses Neruda’s call to not speak in any language.

b. Atwood justifies Neruda’s request to not engage in any speaking.

c. Atwood undermines Neruda’s intent to stop and not speak in any language.

d. Atwood surrenders to Neruda’s desire for silence and not speaking in any language.

Ans. Option (a)

iii. Why do you think the poet employs words like “exotic” and “strangeness”?

a. To highlight the importance of everyone being together suddenly for once.

b. To emphasize the frenetic activity and chaos that usually envelops human life.

c. To indicate the unfamiliarity of a sudden moment without rush or without an engine.

d. To direct us towards keeping quiet and how we would all be together in that silence.

Ans. Option (a)

iv. Choose the option that correctly matches the idioms given in Column A with their meanings in Column B

Column AColumn B
1. On the face of the earth(i) In existence
2. What on earth(ii) To do all possible to accomplish something
3. Move heaven and earth(iii) To express surprise or shock
4. The salt of the earth(iv) To be good and worthy

a. 1 – (i); 2 – (iv); 3 – (iii); 4 – (ii)

b. 1 – (i); 2 – (iii); 3 – (ii); 4 – (iv)

c. 1 – (ii); 2 – (i); 3 – (iv); 4 – (iii)

d. 1 – (iv); 2 – (ii); 3 – (iii); 4 – (i)

Ans. Option (b)

Q. No. 2) Read the statements given below carefully. Choose the option that best describes these statements, with reference to the poem.

  • Statement I – The poem ‘Keeping Quiet’ calls for change as much in the individual as human society at large.
  • Statement II – The poem ‘Keeping Quiet’ implies that individual change will lead to bigger societal change.
  • Statement III – Neruda believes that when people come together as a community, they will be able to bring a transformation in each person.

a. Statement I is True, Statement II is False, and Statement III cannot be inferred.

b. Statement I and II cannot be inferred, Statement III is True.

c. Statement I is True, Statements II and III cannot be inferred.

d. Statement I cannot be inferred, Statement II cannot be inferred, Statement III is False.

Ans. Option (a)

Q. No. 3) What statement does Neruda make about wars?

a. Wars are of varied kinds – internal, green wars, wars with gas, fire, etc.

b. Wars are wasteful and cause irrecoverable loss and damage to property and life.

c. Wars never yield any winners, and the loss is far greater than what can be measured.

d. Wars are unavoidable in the enduring struggle for human dignity and power.

Ans. Option (c)

Q. No. 4) In ‘Keeping Quiet’ the poet does not want the reader to confuse his advice for _____ with total inactivity.

a. experimentation

b. relaxation

c. isolation

d. Introspection

Ans. Option (d)

Q. No. 5) “What I want should not be confused with total inactivity.”

Choose the option that draws the most accurate parallel.

keeping quiet: total inactivity = ______ : ______

a. reflection and death

b. silence and chaos

c. stagnation and introspection

d. mindfulness and fear

Ans. Option (a)

Q. No. 6) ‘Keeping Quiet’ uses fishermen to symbolize man’s

a. persistent pollution of the natural environment.

b. rapid degradation of human values.

c. limitless exploitation of natural resources.

d. constant participation in acts of terror.

Ans. Option (c)

Q. No. 7) Identify the tone of Pablo Neruda in the following line:

Perhaps the Earth can teach us….

a. Confident and clear about future events.

b. Dramatic about the prediction he made.

c. Convinced about the sequence of events to follow.

d. Uncertain, yet hopeful about the possibility.

Ans. Option (d)

Q. No. 8) Read the extract and answer the questions given below:

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.

i. Look at the images given below. Choose the image to which the above extract can be seen as an appropriate response.

keeping quiet class 12 important questions and answers

a. Option (i)

b. Option (ii)

c. Option (iii)

d. Option (iv)

Ans. Option (d)

ii. What do you think is the mood of the poet in the above extract?

a. gloomy, cynical

b. reflective, inspired

c. introspective, aware

d. critical, demotivated

Ans. Option (c)

iii. Pick the option that DOES NOT complete the given sentence suitably, as per the extract.

Threatening ourselves with death __________

a. feeds on the fear of death.

b. challenges the finiteness of life.

c. keeps us rushing through life.

d. makes us restless and impatient.

Ans. Option (b)

iv. What might the “huge silence” signify?

a. melancholy

b. understanding

c. discomfort

d. Flexibility

Ans. Option (b)

Q. No. 9) Which of these is NOT a theme in the poem 'Keeping Quiet'?

a. the importance of being content with our lives

b. the importance of reflecting on our lives silently

c. the importance of being earnest in all our pursuits

d. the importance of a sense of brotherhood among humans

Ans. Option (c)

Q. No. 10) “Now I’ll count up to twelve and you keep quiet and I will go.” Why does the poet wish to go at the end of the poem?

a. The poet does not believe people will be quiet.

b. The poet has already invested enough time.

c. The poet will move on and seek to inspire others.

d. The poet is marking the end of the poem by leaving.

Ans. Option (c)

Q. No. 11) What will counting up to twelve and keeping still help us achieve?

Ans. Counting up to twelve and keeping still can help us achieve:

  • Unity: It fosters a sense of togetherness among humanity.
  • Peace: It allows for a moment of tranquility and calmness.
  • Reflection: It prompts us to contemplate our actions and behaviors.
  • Introspection: It encourages self-examination and understanding.
  • Breaking the cycle: It helps disrupt the cycle of noise, chaos, and violence.
  • Shared humanity: It reminds us of our interconnectedness as human beings.
  • Transformation: It can lead to personal and collective growth and change.

Q. No. 12) What is the ‘sadness’ that the poet refers to in the poem?

Ans. In the poem "Keeping Quiet," the "sadness" that the poet refers to is the pain and suffering experienced by individuals and communities due to various reasons such as conflict, division, and lack of understanding among people. The poet suggests that this sadness can be mitigated or overcome through the act of stillness, introspection, and unity. By practicing silence and contemplation, individuals can break free from the cycle of violence and chaos, leading to a sense of peace and harmony. The "sadness" serves as a catalyst for the poet's call to action, urging readers to reflect upon their own roles in creating a more empathetic and compassionate world.

Q. No. 13) What does Neruda mean by ‘an exotic moment without rush’ in his poem, ‘Keeping Quiet’?

Ans. In the poem "Keeping Quiet," when Pablo Neruda refers to "an exotic moment without rush," he is describing a unique and extraordinary moment of stillness and tranquility. Here's what he means by that phrase:

  1. Exotic: The word "exotic" suggests something rare, unusual, or unfamiliar. Neruda is emphasizing that this moment of stillness and quiet is distinct from our everyday experiences.
  2. Moment: It refers to a specific point in time, highlighting the temporary nature of this serene state. It is an opportunity to pause and be fully present in the current moment.
  3. Without rush: The absence of rush signifies a lack of haste or urgency. It implies a deliberate slowing down and letting go of the fast-paced, busy nature of our lives. It's a time to pause, reflect, and be free from the pressures of time.

Neruda encourages us to embrace and appreciate this extraordinary moment of stillness, which allows us to break away from the constant rush and noise of the world. It presents an opportunity for self-reflection, introspection, and a deeper connection with ourselves and the world around us.

Q. No. 14) Those who prepare green wars,

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.

What I want should not be confused

with total inactivity.

(Keeping Quiet)

i. Which of these uses the same poetic device as used in the third line of the extract?

a. The boy ran at lightning speed.

b. The little joys of life are necessary.

c. The absence of his presence was felt.

d. The hooter buzzed when the shooter shot

Ans. Option (c)

ii. From the extract, identify the line or phrase that suggests the following:

Humans are involved in the exploitation of natural resources.

Ans. Those who prepare green wars / green wars.

iii. Based on the extract, which of these best describes the poet?

  1. prudent
  2. spiritual
  3. visionary
  4. methodical

a. (1) and (2)

b. (1) and (3)

c. (2) and (4)

d. (2), (3), and (4)

Ans. Option (b)

iv. Complete the sentence appropriately in no more than TWO words.

When the poet says that people who participate in wars 'would put on clean clothes' he means that they should __________.

Ans. Start afresh /become non-violent / adopt peace.

v. Based on the extract, select the correct option with reference to (1) and (2).

  1. Not every win is a triumph.
  2. Self-reflection is crucial to evolution.

a. (1) is the result of (2)

b. Both (1) and (2) are true

c. Both (1) and (2) are false

d. (1) is a hypothesis based on (2)

Ans. Option (b)

vi. Which of these is an appropriate title for the extract?

a. Standing in Solitude

b. Looking for Prosperity

c. The Desire for Renewal

d. The Road to Uncertainty

Ans. Option (c)

Q. No. 15) Read the extract given below and answer the questions that follow:

Those who prepare green wars, 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.

i. Who are 'those' in line 1?

Ans. Overambitious/eccentric people are involved in waging wars to gain dominance.

ii. What are 'green wars'?

Ans. The war against the environment

iii. Explain: 'victory with no survivors'.

Ans. None may survive to celebrate victory.

iv. Which figure of speech is used in the above stanza?

Ans. Irony- victory with no survivors; symbolism - would put on clean clothes; repetition - green wars, wars with gas, wars with fire; alliteration - wars with.

Q. No. 16) Read the following extract and answer the following questions briefly:

What I want should not be confused

with total inactivity.

Life is what it is about;

I want no truck with death.

(i) Name the poem and the poet of the above stanza.

Ans. Poem- Keeping Quiet, Poet- Pablo Neruda

(ii) What does the poet mean by “inactivity”?

Ans. complete stillness/no movement

(iii) Explain what life is all about, according to the poet?

Ans. Life is about movement/development/action/living to the fullest with happiness.

(iv) What is the ultimate expectation of the poet from all human beings?

Ans. live by maintaining harmony with earth/stop destruction/introspect and live in peace and brotherhood.

Q. No. 17) Perhaps the Earth can teach us

As when everything seems dead

And later proves to be alive

Now I will count up to twelve

 And you keep quiet and I will go.

a) What does the Earth teach us?

Ans. The earth teaches us how new life springs from dead remains and how there is life under apparent stillness.

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

Ans. The poet wants to achieve peace by counting up to twelve. He wants us to introspect in a moment of silence.

c) What is the significance of “keeping quiet”?

Ans. Keeping quiet doesn’t mean being idle. It means that we should avoid all such activities, which are hurting nature and, in turn, us.

Q. No. 18) What symbol from Nature does the poet invoke to say that there can be life under apparent stillness?

Ans. In the poem "Keeping Quiet," the poet Pablo Neruda invokes the symbol of a tree to illustrate that there can be life under apparent stillness. Here's how he conveys this idea:

  1. Tree as a symbol: The poet uses the tree as a representation of nature's resilience and hidden vitality. Trees may appear still and motionless, but beneath the surface, they are teeming with life.
  2. Life in stillness: By referring to the tree, Neruda suggests that just as a tree appears dormant and motionless during certain seasons, there is an unseen life force at work within it. This implies that even in moments of apparent stillness, there is a vibrant and active existence.
  3. Nature's example: The poet draws upon the natural world to emphasize that life can thrive even in moments when external appearances might suggest otherwise. It serves as a metaphor for the potential for growth, renewal, and transformation that lies within each individual.

Through the symbol of the tree, Neruda encourages us to recognize that beneath the surface of apparent stillness, there is a richness and vitality that can be discovered and nurtured. It reminds us to appreciate the hidden depths of life and find meaning even in moments that may seem quiet or stagnant.

Q. No. 19) Give two reasons why, according to Pablo Neruda, is ‘keeping quiet’ essential to attaining a better, more peaceful world.

Ans. 'Keeping Quiet' is essential to attaining a more peaceful world as it:

  • Makes us introspect and reflect upon our actions.
  • Helps us better understand ourselves and what we want.
  • Enables us to realize that many of our mindless actions are only harming us and not giving us happiness.

Q. No. 20) In a world that is constantly running after ‘more’ and chasing the next new thing, would it be fair to think of Neruda’s call as merely a fanciful idea?

Ans. No, because of the following reasons:

  1. Relevance of stillness: In a fast-paced world consumed by the pursuit of material gain and instant gratification, Neruda's call for stillness and introspection holds significant value. It serves as a reminder to pause, reflect, and connect with ourselves and others beyond the relentless pursuit of more.
  2. Countering the cycle: Neruda's call to break the cycle of noise, chaos, and violence is a profound message that challenges the status quo. It encourages individuals to question the incessant chase for "more" and consider alternative paths toward unity, peace, and deeper understanding.
  3. Importance of introspection: The idea of stillness and introspection has practical benefits. Taking a moment to reflect allows individuals to gain clarity, make conscious choices, and cultivate a sense of inner peace. It can lead to personal growth, empathy, and a more meaningful existence.

Therefore, rather than dismissing Neruda's call as fanciful, it is important to recognize its relevance and potential to counterbalance the constant pursuit of "more" and bring about positive change on both individual and collective levels.

Q. No. 21) The world has become a global village, and people across boundaries, nationalities, and communities are now connected to one another.

With the advancement of technology, and the advent of social media, do you think that the task of keeping quiet, as envisaged by Neruda, has become easier or more complicated? Justify your stance.

Ans. With the advancement of technology and the global interconnectedness brought about by social media, the task of keeping quiet, as envisioned by Neruda in the poem "Keeping Quiet," has become more complicated rather than easier. Here's a justification for this stance:

  1. Constant stimulation: Technology and social media provide a constant influx of information, notifications, and distractions. The ease of access to news, updates, and virtual interactions keeps individuals engaged and connected at all times. This constant stimulation makes it challenging to find moments of stillness and silence.
  2. Fear of missing out: Social media platforms foster a fear of missing out (FOMO) mentality, where individuals feel compelled to be continuously connected, informed, and engaged. This fear drives the desire for constant activity and engagement, leaving little room for quiet contemplation.
  3. Shortened attention spans: The digital age has led to shorter attention spans and a preference for quick, bite-sized content. This can make it difficult for individuals to invest the time and focus required for deep introspection and silence.
  4. Comparison and validation: Social media often promotes a culture of comparison and seeking validation through likes, comments, and shares. This constant need for external validation can hinder the ability to disconnect and find solace in silence.

However, it is important to note that technology and social media can also be used as tools to promote mindfulness, self-reflection, and meaningful connections. It ultimately depends on how individuals choose to utilize these platforms and their conscious efforts to create boundaries, prioritize stillness, and disconnect when needed.

Q. No. 22) It could be said that the poem ‘Keeping Quiet’ presents the poet’s philosophy for a different kind of world.

If you were asked to highlight elements of Neruda’s vision that resonate in your specific social, political, and cultural context, which three main ideas would you engage with?

Use relevant textual details to support your analysis.

Ans. Here are the three main ideas from Neruda's vision in "Keeping Quiet" that resonate in today's context:

  1. Unity and Interconnectedness: Neruda emphasizes coming together and recognizing our shared humanity.
  2. Breaking the Cycle of Violence: He calls for a pause to reflect and find alternative ways to resolve conflicts.
  3. Personal Responsibility and Transformation: Neruda highlights the importance of self-reflection and individual contributions to positive change.

These ideas are relevant in our social, political, and cultural context, promoting empathy, peace, and personal growth.

Q. No. 23) The last two years of school tend to be about planning for life after school. This can be motivating, overwhelming, or encouraging for some, and stressful for others.

Write a diary entry recording your thoughts on the following:

  • Neruda’s ideas in ‘Keeping Quiet’ as a guide in this situation.
  • Thinking differently about your decisions with reference to Neruda’s ‘Keeping Quiet’.


Dear Diary,

Today, I find myself contemplating Neruda's ideas in 'Keeping Quiet' and how they can serve as a guide during this crucial time of planning for life after school. The last two years of school can indeed be a mix of emotions, ranging from motivation and encouragement to overwhelming stress. Neruda's perspective offers a fresh approach that encourages me to think differently about my decisions.

His idea of unity and interconnectedness resonates with me as I navigate through this transitional period. Instead of getting caught up in the individualistic pursuit of personal success, I am reminded to consider the impact of my decisions on others. By seeking unity and cooperation, I can build connections, collaborate, and contribute to a supportive community in my future endeavors.

Neruda's call to break the cycle of violence holds relevance here as well. While planning for the future, it's easy to get caught up in competition, comparison, and the pressure to conform. However, I now realize that I have the power to challenge these norms. By embracing stillness and introspection, I can make decisions that align with my values and bring about positive change in my own life and the lives of others.

This newfound perspective encourages me to think differently about my decisions. Rather than succumbing to societal expectations or succumbing to stress, I am inspired to take a moment to reflect and listen to my inner voice. I can prioritize my own well-being, dreams, and passions while also considering the broader impact I want to have on the world.

In light of Neruda's ideas, I feel empowered to approach this planning phase with a sense of purpose and authenticity. I can find a balance between setting realistic goals and embracing the unknown possibilities that lie ahead. By keeping his words in mind, I believe I can make informed decisions that reflect my true self and contribute to a more harmonious and compassionate future.

Till next time,
[Your Name]

Q. No. 24) Imagine you are Pablo Neruda, the poet of Keeping Quiet.

What advice might you offer to Robert Frost, the poet of A Roadside Stand, in the context of his conflicted emotions, as displayed in the given lines-

The requisite lift of spirit has never been found,

Or so the voice of the country seems to complain,

I can’t help owning the great relief it would be

To put these people at one stroke out of their pain.

Pen down your advice, in a letter to Frost.

You may begin this way:

Dear Robert

I recently read your poem, "A Roadside Stand," and...

You may end this way:

I hope this advice is helpful to you. Please let me know if there is anything else I can do to support you.


Pablo Neruda

Ans. Dear Robert

I recently read your poem, "A Roadside Stand," and was struck by the conflicting emotions that you expressed towards the end. I understand that it can be difficult to make decisions when we are overwhelmed by our emotions.

In my own experience, I have found that taking a moment of stillness and reflection can be very helpful in gaining a deeper understanding of the situation and connecting with our own humanity and that of others. This is the message that I try to convey in my poem, "Keeping Quiet."

I would advise you to take a moment to be still and contemplative before making any decisions about the fate of the people at the roadside stand. By quieting your mind and being present in the moment, you may be able to understand their struggles and pain objectively and gain a new perspective about your own place in the world too. I also feel that by breaking from your routine and taking a moment of stillness and reflection, you might gain a deeper understanding of the situation and make a more functional decision.

I believe that this moment of reflection could help you to see beyond your conflicting emotions. We are all human, after all, and before connecting with others, and resolving their issues, we must try to connect with our own selves to advice from a place of balance and calm.

I hope this advice is helpful to you. Please let me know if there is anything else I can do to support you.


Pablo Neruda

Also Read:
Class 12 Important Questions and Answers
Class 12 Notes

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