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: In this chapter, A Simple Philosophy, the chief of the Suquamish Tribe, a Red Indian tribe in northwest America, is talking about an offer that the “white man” has sent to the tribe. It is a letter written by Chief Seathl (also spelt Chief Seattle) in 1860 in response to the offer.
Chief Seathl here talks about the offer of the white man to buy the lands that belong to the tribe. The chief says that it is a very strange idea to sell the land because the land is not theirs. They don’t own the land, but the land is a part of the family. The land and everything about the land are sacred to the tribe. They treat the land, animals, birds, trees, etc. as part of their family. He, however, understands that if they don’t sell the land, the white man (white Americans) will attack them with their superior weapons and guns and will cause death and destruction. So the chief decides to sell the land.
He, however, asks the white man to teach their children to take care of the land and everything about it like family members.
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.
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: In “A Simple Philosophy”, Chief Seathl’s belief regarding the ownership of land is that one cannot buy or sell the land as one cannot own it, and the idea of buying and selling the land is strange to him. For him and the tribe, the land is, for the tribe, more than what the white man can understand. For the tribe, the land and everything about it is sacred and part of the family, and so when the white man wishes to buy their land, he asks a lot of them, so it would not be easy for them to give up.
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