A Simple Philosophy: NBSE Class 9 English questions, answers

a simple philosophy NBSE class 9 English
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Get here the summary and notes of NBSE class 9 English chapter “A Simple Philosophy”. However, these notes should be used only for references and additions/modifications should be made as per the requirements.

Summary

Chief Seattle wrote this letter in response to a request from President Franklin Pierce to purchase land from his tribe. Though he agrees to consider the offer, Seattle conveys that the land is sacred to his people. He explains that nature – the sky, land, water, air, plants and animals – are all interconnected and sharing the same life breath. So selling the land would be like selling a relative.

Seattle says his people’s dead are buried in the land and their spirits remain there even after death. The land is their mother. Everything is holy – the pine needles, sand, mist, insects. The rivers are their brothers as they provide water and food. The pony, deer, horse are their brothers too. If they sell the land, the white man must treat the animals as brothers too.

Seattle cannot understand how the white man can own the land, sky and water. Their ways of thinking are different. The white man sees land only for its monetary value whereas for Seattle’s tribe the land is sacred and linked to their ancestors. The white man comes, takes what he needs and moves on without any attachment to the land.

Seattle says if they don’t sell the land, the white Americans will attack them with superior weapons and guns, causing death and destruction. So the chief decides to sell the land.

Seattle says if they sell the land, the white man should preserve it and love it as they have, for their children. The white man should teach his children that the land is sacred. Whatever happens to the land happens to the people. All are connected. Men are just strands in the web of life. Seattle says their God is the same, and the destiny of all men is interlinked.

Though Seattle agrees to move his tribe to a reservation, he conveys the sacredness of the land. He wants the white man to respect nature, preserve it for future generations and understand the interconnectedness of all creation. He ends saying if the white man can do this, they may realize that all men are brothers after all.

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Textual questions and answers

Multiple Choice Questions

1. The Americans treat land as………..

a. a commodity to be used for their gain b. their father and brother c. sacred as their forefathers are buried there d. their children’s birthright

Answer: a. a commodity to be used for their gain

2. If the Red Indians do not part with their land they know that the Americans will………….

a. renegotiate with them b. take no for an answer and move on c. forcefully take it away from them d. none of the above

Answer: c. forcefully take it away from them

3. The Chief refers to the Earth as the………… of the red man.

a. sparkle b. father and brother c. mother d. ashes

Answer: c. mother

4. The Chief compares the shining water of the streams to…………….

a. blood of their ancestors b. voice of his grandfather c. mist of the mountains d. the birthright of his children

Answer: a. blood of their ancestors

5. The Chief requests that their land be kept…….., as its……….gives them their first breath as well as their last sigh.

a. clean, streams b. sacred, air c. quiet, wind d. free of litter, ashes

Answer: c. sacred, air

Read and Write

1. Why does Chief Seathl accept the white man’s offer?

Answer: Chief Seathl accepted the white man’s offer because he knew that if he would not accept the offer, they would march into their lands and occupy them by force.

2. ‘The clatter only seems to insult our ears.’ What is Chief Seathl trying to say?

Answer: Chief Seathl means that he is always disturbed due to the constant rustling and bustling of urban life.

3. ‘All things are connected.’ In what context does the Chief say this?

Answer: The chief means that all living and nonliving things are connected like the blood which unites our family.

4. What does the author want the white man to teach his children?

Answer: In A Simple Philosophy, he wants the white man to teach his children to treat rivers like their brothers and if they sell their land, they must give the rivers the kindness they would give to their brothers. He further asks him to teach his children that the ground beneath their feet is the ashes of the tribe’s grandfathers. So that they will respect the land. He asks him to teach his children what they have taught their children that the earth is their mother. Whatever befalls the earth, befalls the sons of the earth. If men spit upon the ground, they spit upon themselves.

5. What does the author hold sacred to his tribe?

Answer: According to the author, every part of the earth, the ashes of their fathers that are part of the rivers and land are secured to the tribe.

6. How does the author explain man’s relation to his environment?

Answer: According to the author, man’s relation to his environment is sacred. He and every part of the earth are like brothers and sisters and are entwined like a family. All creatures give and take birth and as such, all are bound to each other. If anything happens to animals or any of the creatures, it affects humans too. Everything on this earth is linked.

7. The red man has always retreated before the advancing white man, as the mist of the mountain runs before the morning sun. Why does the author say so? What does it convey about the relationship between the tribal people and the white man?

Answer: The author says so because the white man has been relentlessly invading and defeating the tribes owing to the superior arms and also trickery.

The white man and the tribal people were at loggerheads over the ownership of resources that were actually the legacy of the tribal people. They shared a bitter relationship.

8. What is the author’s concept of ownership?

Answer: The author feels that one cannot buy or sell something one does not own. He finds it strange that the White man wants to buy their land sins according to him, land, air, water, birds, animals, etc., cannot be bought or sold.

9. The value of land cannot be measured. Pick up words and phrases that convey this.

Answer: The words and phrases that convey this message are “bought or sold”, “brothers”, “sisters”, “sacred”, “holy”, etc.

10. Discuss the relevance of these words, written more than a century back, in the present-day context.

Answer: These words, written more than a century ago, are as relevant today as they were a hundred years ago. Just like the white man in A Simple Philosophy, Chief Seathl was talking about, men today continue to fight for the resources to fulfil their greed of having more power and riches, and men do not care about the lives of other animals or any other creatures as long as their greed is satisfied. This greed has led to disputes and wars, bloodshed and death, and history is being repeated over and over.

Think and Write

1. What is Chief Seathl’s belief regarding the ownership of land?

Answer: Chief Seathl believes that land cannot be owned in the traditional sense of property ownership. He views the land, the sky, the warmth of the land, the freshness of the air, and the sparkle of the water as elements that are not possessions to be bought or sold. To him, every part of the earth is sacred, intertwined with the lives and spirits of his people, and essential to their identity and existence. This perspective highlights a profound connection with and reverence for nature, contrasting sharply with the concept of land as a commodity.

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5. Seathl’s letter though written in prose has all the qualities of a poem. One of its most remarkable qualities is the aesthetic balance. For example

  • How can you buy or sell the sky, the warmth of the land?
  • We are part of the earth, and it is part of us.

Answer: Additional sentences that exhibit aesthetic balance include:

  • The rivers are our brothers; they quench our thirst.
  • The earth does not belong to man; man belongs to the earth.
  • Whatever befalls the earth befalls the sons of the earth.

Extra MCQs

1. Who wrote the letter in response to the request from President Franklin Pierce?

A. An Indian Chief B. Chief Seattle C. A Red Indian leader D. The leader of the Suquamish Tribe

Answer: B. Chief Seattle

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20. Why does Chief Seattle agree to consider the offer to buy their land?

A. He wants to avoid bloodshed B. He is greedy for money C. He wants the reservation promised D. He knows they cannot win against the powerful weapons of the white men

Answer: D. He knows they cannot win against the powerful weapons of the white men

Extra questions and answers

1. What does Chief Seattle compare his words to in the letter?

Answer: Chief Seattle compares his words to the stars, which do not set.

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19. What does Chief Seattle say is the common destiny that cannot exempt even the white man?

Answer: Chief Seattle says that the common destiny that cannot exempt even the white man is that whatever befalls the earth will also befall the sons of the earth, highlighting the shared fate of all who live on it.

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7 thoughts on “A Simple Philosophy: NBSE Class 9 English questions, answers”

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