Important Questions and Answers of National Prejudices By Oliver Goldsmith

Q. How does the writer spend his time while he travels? Give reasons for his choice.
Ans. The writer is a traveller at his heart. While he travels, he loves spending his time in coffee houses, pubs and other public places because these places give him ample opportunity to observe people. He loves to spend most of his time studying the cultures and the people of the different regions which he visited. He says that humans are more fascinating than art and nature. He used the opportunity of his travels to enrich his experience with people from all over the world. This helped him gain more content to write about in his books.

Q. What we’re the views expressed by the Englishman? Did the writer share his views?
Ans. The Englishman said that Dutch were greedy, French were sycophants, Germans were beastly gluttons, Spanish were tyrants but English were bold and kind. The writer didn’t agree with him because, to him, all these views were prejudicial.

Q. What are the virtues and faults that the writer finds in the English? Do you think this is an expression of prejudice? Why? Why not?

Ans. The writer said that English were brave and generous but at the same time, they were rash, headstrong and impetuous also. This is not an expression of prejudice rather a genuine one because he sincerely talks about both virtues as well as faults of the English.

Q. Why did the other gentleman begin to feel jealous of the writer?
Ans. The other gentleman began to feel jealous of the writer because he could not digest his honesty. He could not digest the bitter truths spoken by the writer. He thought that he was an invert enemy of England. He thought that the writer did not have a moral right to be called a citizen of England. He thought that he was the enemy of government also.

Q. Why did the gentleman condemn the writer’s attitude as unpatriotic?
Ans. The other man condemned the writer’s attitude as unpatriotic because, according to him, anyone who doesn’t hateful remarks about the natives of other countries is unpatriotic. They thought that the writer was not patriotic because he made an impartial comment about his country and as well about other countries which they could not digest as it was against their jingoistic view.

Q. Why did the writer go off to his room?
Ans. The writer went off to his room because he thought it is useless to continue to argue with the narrow-minded and prejudiced people.

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Q. What is the evil effect of national prejudices?
Ans. The evil effect of national prejudices is that they divide, distance and separate people. They give birth to unreasonable hate, enmity and hostility. They act as a stumbling block in the way of international peace, global love and mutual progress.

Q. What are the qualities of a gentleman?
Ans. A gentleman is well-read, well-travelled and well-experienced. Social status and money do not make a person gentleman. He is free from all prejudices. An exemption of prejudice is a characteristic mark of a gentleman. He loves his own country without hating the natives of other countries. He never makes prejudicial remarks about other countries.

Long Answer Questions

Q. What is the author’s attitude towards national prejudices? Discuss.


What does the writer want to say about the curse of national prejudices? Do you see any reason in his arguments?
Ans. For Goldsmith, national prejudices are a curse. They enable a man to sing songs of greatness and glory of his country and run down the other countries of the world. He thinks that his nation is the best in the world.

The writer refers to the proud Englishman who suffered from the curse of national prejudices. For that Englishman the Dutch were greedy, the French a set of flatterers, the German drunkards and the Spaniards proud and cruel. He thought that the English were the best of all. Little did the Englishman know that the Dutch were economical, the French more polite, the Germans more hardy and the Spaniards more serious than the English. The Englishman was also ignorant that the English were no gods, they were rash, obstinate and impatient. The writer says that the national prejudices are not essential for the growth of the patriotism. Love of one’s country does not teach hatred for other countries.

National prejudices are the signs of a vulgar mind. They must be giving up at all costs. National prejudices have bred a superiority complex in many countries of the world. They look upon themselves as the roof and crown of all creation. This attitude has played havoc with numberless precious lives in different countries of the world. National prejudices sow the seeds of discord. They don’t let people feel that ” no men are foreign and no countries strange. ”

The writer has beautifully advocated the cause of international understanding in the essay. National prejudices serve as barriers to the free flow of human thought. They create unnecessary hurdles between the nations of the world. People think only in terms of their own country and not in terms of mankind. For them, a part is greater than the whole. They don’t regard themselves as the citizens of the world.

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Q. What does Goldsmith mean by “jealous eye” with which the speaker says the company regarded him in paragraph 5.

Ans. By “jealous eye, Goldsmith means his fellow companions are jealous that there may be someone who is truly loyal to his/her country. His companions don’t feel this way. “…how some people could have the conscience to live in a country which they did not love, and enjoy the protection of a government, to which in their hearts they were inveterate enemies.” The patriotic gentlemen is supposed to be one loyal to his country and one who respects the actions of his government. In this case, thw two are actually well-known enemies.

Q. What relationship does Oliver Goldsmith find between national prejudice and patriotism?

Ans. Olive Goldsmith says that national prejudice is not the natural and necessary growth of love for our country. It is wrong to think that national prejudice cannot be ended without denting our patriotic feelings. National prejudice is not the natural and necessary growth of our patriotic feelings.

Superstition and communalism are also the growth of religion. But it is wrong to say that they are necessary growth of religion. These are undesirable parts of religion. Instead of giving any benefit to religion, superstition and communalism are injurious to religion. They are actually the base or illegitimate branches of the plant of religion. Superstition and communalism can be very easily cut off from the plant of religion. Such a cutting off will not do any damage to the plant of religion. As a matter of fact, the plant of religion will have a healthier growth if it was freed from superstition and communalism.

It is possible to love one’s own country without hating other countries. One can defend the law and liberty🗽 of one’s own country without hating the rest of the world. The writer can prefer to be a citizen of the world. He would not like to call himself a citizen of this country or that. He calls upon the reader not to hate people belonging to other countries.

Q. What do you think Goldsmith’s attitude is toward his country?
Ans. Goldsmith’s attitude toward his country is not the most loyal as he is not jingoistic. He has an open mind, or free spirit and feels he is a citizen of the world, not to just one particular race of people or country. He is not bashful. He has a disagreement regarding the prejudices many people have and is influenced by some of these attitudes. This can be backed up by the following quote:It is not very possible that I may love my own country, with out hating the natives of other countries.”

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Q. How does Goldsmith’s use of the word “prejudices” differ from the way we use it today?
Ans. Goldsmith relates prejudice to nationality whereas we relate prejudice to race. In paragraph 2 Goldsmith makes a remark towards the French, “…a set of flattering sycophants.” We as a society relate prejudice to skin colour, not by race alone.

Q. What is the theme of the essay “National Prejudices”?

The lesson titled ” National Prejudices” has a beautiful theme. It is relevant to our times. Modern people have almost turned the world into a virtual hell with prejudices. Every one has narrowed himself to a particular nation, caste, creed, or religion. Everyone can see Hindus, Sikhs, Muslim, Indians, Pakistanis etc but none is broadminded enough to see hungry, naked poor, oppressed or subjugated humans. We all humans are biologically identical. We all need love, peace and harmony. Therefore, we should not divide one another based on nationality, colour, religion, or sect. We should respect one another’s feelings, beliefs and cultures but we should prioritise humanity and global citizenship. We may belong to a particular region geographically but emotionally we should belong to the whole world. Any human being’s pain and joy should be our pain and joy. We should fight with our hand, tongue and heart against those who divide us on the grounds of nationality, caste, colour or religion. We should not forget that all religions were sent for humanity and humanity was not sent for any religion. The best religions of the world teach universal love, global equality and international fraternity. In short, all great minds including the author himself always prefer humanity to everything else.


It is possible to love one’s country without hating the people of other countries. The narrator also says that he prefers the title “a citizen of the world” to “a citizen of a particular country”. He says that humanity comes before and nationality or mentality.

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