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What I want should not be confused
with total inactivity.
Life is what it is about;
I want no truck with death.
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) What does the poet want? What should it not be confused with?
B) Explain: I want no truck with death
C) What do people pursue single-mindedly? Which is the better course the poet suggests?
D)When can a huge silence do us good?

Last updated date: 23rd Apr 2024
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Hint: The above lines have been taken from the poem “Keeping Quiet” written by Pablo Neruda. The main theme of the poem revolves around reflection on our actions in silence, peace with others and ourselves and promotion of brotherhood.

Complete answer:
Inactivity- idleness;lifelessness
Single-minded- concentrating only on one aim

Short Explanation of the given lines
The poet says that sitting and spending time in silence must not be compared with death/lifelessness. Being silent must not mean to stop living. He only wants the people to take some time off from the work and analyze their acts and the consequent results of their acts. He finds that everyone is in a rat race to keep their lives moving by accomplishing their personal goals.

If for once, they stop and do nothing then they will have time to understand their own selves. The silence will interrupt their sadness to relieve them from their day-to-day worries of survival and fears of death. The silence will allow them to take a moment to relax, introspect, understand and be happy.

Answer A) The poet wants all the humans to sit in silence for some time. He wants them to stop the wars and the activities that damage our environment. He wants people to resort to peace, kindness and humanity as a new approach to life. He wants people to introspect and reflect on the consequences of their actions. However, he does not want them to think that sitting in silence implies death. He only wants them to adopt a new way of living which is peaceful.

Answer B) By the phrase ‘I want no truck with death’,the poet means, he does not want lifelessness i.e. complete inactivity. Silence has to be only a brief moment of introspection.

Answer C) People pursue their personal goals single-mindedly. Such goals that keep up with their survival and keep them from death. As per the poet, the better course of action is to take a break, sit in silence and adopt a life of kindness.People should become kind towards each other and nature. The people must introspect and understand each other to make this world a peaceful living place.

Answer D) Huge silence can do us good by interrupting our sadness that arises due to our worries of survival and death. It can help us in understanding ourselves, healing our wounds and celebrating our achievements. In the silence we will be able to think beyond ourselves, think about others and the environment. It will help us to live in peace with everyone and nature instead of living in the fear of death.

Note: The poem was originally written in Spanish. Poet Pablo Neruda was a poet as well as a politician. He advocated feelings of social change through his works in literature. He was also a recipient of the Nobel prize in literature.