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No Man Is An Island Commonlit Answers

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  • 9th Grade

Source: No Man Is An Island by John Donne

Assessment Answers

QuestionAnswer
Which of the following best describes a theme in the text?Everyone and everything in the world is connected as part of a larger whole.
How does the figurative language in lines 1-4 develop the text’s theme?It compares people to land masses, and when one clod is washed away it lessens the continent; this develops the theme of connection between individuals as parts of a whole.
PART A: What does the word “diminish” most likely mean as used in line 6?to lessen
PART B: Which of the following quotes best supports the answer to Part A?“if a clod be washed away by the sea, Europe / is the less” (Lines 3-4)

How do lines 8-9 contribute to the overall meaning of the text?

Lines 8-9 of “No Man Is An Island” by John Donne, which read “And therefore never send to know for whom the bell tolls; it tolls for thee,” contribute significantly to the overall meaning of the text by emphasizing the universal impact of human loss and the shared destiny of all people.

This part of the poem encapsulates the theme of interconnectedness and mutual empathy among individuals within the larger human community.

Traditionally rung to announce a death, the bell symbolizes the communal nature of grief and mourning. By stating “it tolls for thee,” Donne implies that the death of any person is a matter of concern and significance for everyone because each person is a part of the collective humanity.

This line reinforces the idea that we are not isolated entities (“No man is an island”), but rather deeply connected to one another. The death of one person diminishes us all, not just because we might know them personally, but because we are all part of mankind.

Thus, these lines deepen the poem’s exploration of human solidarity and compassion, urging readers to recognize and embrace their common bonds with all people.

The bell’s tolling serves as a poignant reminder of our shared vulnerability, mortality, and, ultimately, our collective responsibility to care for one another.

Discussion Answers

How does our modern society value connection between people? Is this similar to how Donne conceived of it?

Modern society values connection between people in various ways, largely facilitated by technological advancements, social media, and global mobility. These connections are celebrated for fostering understanding, collaboration, and support across diverse cultures and geographies.

Technology has made it easier to maintain relationships over long distances, share experiences instantly, and mobilize collective action for social, environmental, and political causes. Social networks and platforms have become crucial in building communities around shared interests, identities, and goals.

However, despite these advancements, modern society also grapples with issues of isolation, superficial connections, and the paradox of feeling lonely in a highly connected world. The depth and quality of connections can sometimes be diluted by the sheer volume and pace of information exchange.

As expressed in “No Man Is An Island,” John Donne’s conception of connection emphasizes a deep, intrinsic interconnectedness of all people based on our shared humanity, mortality, and moral responsibility to one another.

For Donne, the connection between individuals is not just a matter of social or emotional convenience but a fundamental truth of human existence. Every individual’s fate is tied to the fate of others, and the loss of one diminishes the whole.

While there are similarities in valuing connections, the context and depth of these connections differ. Modern society often focuses on the quantity and utility of connections facilitated by digital means, whereas Donne’s perspective is more philosophical and spiritual, emphasizing the ethical and existential implications of our interconnectedness.

Both views recognize the importance of connection, but Donne’s approach calls for a deeper reflection on the quality and significance of our relationships with others, suggesting a more profound sense of empathy and communal responsibility that transcends mere digital or superficial ties.


In the context of this poem, how do people face death? How are people affected or not affected by grief today? Cite evidence from the text, your personal experience, or other sources of history and literature.

In “No Man Is An Island” by John Donne, people face death not just as an individual loss but as something that affects everyone. It’s like when someone in class is absent because they’re sick or something; it changes the vibe of the whole class, not just their friends. Donne is saying that when anyone dies, it’s like a piece of the puzzle is missing, and we all feel it because we’re all connected.

He writes, “any man’s death diminishes me, because I am involved in mankind.” So, it’s like he’s saying we lose a part of ourselves with every death because we’re all part of the same big family of humans.

Today, people are affected by grief in different ways. With social media, when someone famous dies, you see tributes and stories shared all over, and it feels like the whole world is mourning together.

But then, there’s also a lot of people who feel alone in their grief because they might not have close connections or because others around them move on quickly. It’s weird; even with all the ways we have to connect with each other, some people feel more isolated than ever when they’re grieving.

From what I’ve seen and read, like in books and movies, grief can really change people. In “The Fault in Our Stars” by John Green, the characters deal with grief by connecting with each other, which kind of shows how sharing the pain can make it a bit easier to bear.

It’s like what Donne was getting at—we’re not meant to face life or death alone because our connections to others are what make the tough times a little less tough.

So, comparing Donne’s idea to today, the basics haven’t really changed. Death impacts everyone, and grief is something we all face. But maybe today, with all our technology and social media, we just see it and deal with it in new ways.

But the bottom line is, whether back in Donne’s time or now, the way we connect with each other plays a huge part in how we face death and grief.


How does the poet likely define friendship? What does it mean to be a friend?

If I were a 9th grader analyzing “No Man Is An Island” by John Donne to figure out how the poet defines friendship, I’d say that Donne probably sees friendship as something super deep and essential, not just hanging out or liking each other’s posts online.

When he writes, “any man’s death diminishes me, because I am involved in mankind,” it’s like he’s saying being friends means you’re part of something bigger together, like a team where everyone really matters to each other.

According to what Donne is getting at, being a friend means you really feel it when your friend is hurting or happy, almost like it’s happening to you. It’s not just about being there when everything’s cool but also sticking around when things get tough. And it’s like every person is a piece of a puzzle—take one out, and the whole picture is messed up.

So, being a friend means you’re a crucial piece of someone else’s life, and they’re a crucial piece of yours.

Donne’s idea is kinda deep for just hanging out. It means being connected on a level where what happens to one person affects the other because you’re all part of this big thing called humanity.

So, being a friend is about way more than just sharing memes; it’s about sharing life’s ups and downs and caring about each other on a level that’s all about being human.


In the context of this poem, what is the importance of community? What does it mean to be a part of a community? Cite evidence from the text, your personal experience, or other sources of history and literature.

In “No Man Is An Island” by John Donne, the poem really hammers home how important community is. It’s like saying that nobody can or should go through life solo. The line “No man is an island entire of itself; every man is a piece of the continent, a part of the main;” is basically Donne’s way of saying that everyone is connected, kind of like how all the apps on my phone are part of the same system. If one app crashes, it can mess up the whole phone, just like how if one person is hurting, the whole community feels it.

Being part of a community means you’re not alone, whether you’re having the best day ever or everything seems to be going wrong. It’s like when someone at school starts a food drive or a GoFundMe for someone who’s going through a tough time.

Everyone pitches in, showing that they care and that we’re all in this together. That’s community—knowing there’s a bunch of people who’ve got your back, no matter what.

From my experience, community is like being on a sports team. Everyone has their role, but we all share the same goal. Win or lose, we do it together. And it’s not just sports; I’ve read stories and seen movies where people come together to overcome huge challenges, like in “The Lord of the Rings.” Frodo wouldn’t have gotten far without the Fellowship.

Each member of the Fellowship brought something unique to the table, but they all shared the same mission. It shows that being part of a community means contributing your part but also relying on others, creating something stronger than just one person could be on their own.

So, according to Donne and just from what I’ve seen and read, community is super important because it’s about being connected. It’s about sharing the load, celebrating the good times, and helping each other through the bad times.

Being part of a community means you’re never really alone, which Donne thought was important for everyone to understand.

Other Commonlit Answers

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