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Class 12 English FLAMINGO – PROSE ~ Chapter 3: Deep Water (William Douglas)

                                                    Deep Water 

Deep Water Class 12 ( Explained in Hindi ) - YouTube

Points to Remember
William Douglas
 feared water
 3 or 4 years old, went to beach with father, knocked down, swept over by waves, suffocated, frightened.
 decided to learn swimming at Y.M.C.A. pool, Yakima.
 pool safe 2/3 feet at shallow end, a feet at deep end.
 got water wings
 beginning to feel comfortable.
 Another incident / misadventure
 big boy threw him into deep end, fightened, lungs ready to burst
 decided to hit feet on the bottom and return as a cork.
 came up slowly, opened eyes but water everywhere.
 terrified, tried to scream, no sound
 legs paralyzed, rigid
 went down second time
 hit bottom, felt dizzy, paralyzed, rigid
 groped for support, called for help, no result
 went down third time.
 stopped struggling, legs limp
 blackness swept over his brain - was quiet, peaceful, drowsy. Once out of unconsciousness, he
 found himself, lying on stomach, vomiting
 reached home felt weak, trembled

 wept, couldn't eat, frightened, avoided water.
Years Later
 felt terrified
 feared water, spoiled holidays
 one October, decided to overcome fear
 hired swimming instructor
 practised swimming, five days a week, one hour daily took three months to relax.
 learnt to put face in water, exhale, raise nose and inhale.
 learnt to kick with legs.
 instructor gave practice with a rope and a pulley.
 taught for six months
 made swimmer out of him, no longer feared water.
 Douglas got confidence

 no longer afraid, managed to conquer fear.

1. How and when did Douglas develop an aversion to water?
Ans. His aversion to water began when he was three or four years old. He went with his father to a beach where the waves knocked him down and overpowered him. This created the phobia in his mind and left him in a state of fear.

2. Why has the Yakima river been referred to as treacherous?
Ans. There had been several cases of drowning in the river. It was not considered safe because of its rough water and fast current.
3. In order to escape drowning what strategy did Douglas adopt while
in the deep end of the pool?
Ans. When Douglas was thrown into water, he was terribly frightened
but still mentally alert. He planned that when his feet hit the bottom,he would make a hig jump, come to the surface lie flat on it and
paddle to the edge of the pool.
4. How did the insturctor 'build a swimmer' out of Douglas?
Ans. The instructor built a swimmer out of Douglas piece by piece. For three months, he held him high on a rope attached to his belt. Douglas practiced moving back and forth across the pool. Then he was taught to put his face under water and exhale, then raise his nose and inhale. Next, the instructor told him to kick with his legs. Finally his legs relaxed and he could command over them.

1. Give an account of the fears and emotions of Douglas as he made
efforts to save himself from drowning in YMCA pool.

Ans.  When the author was flung into the deep end of the pool, he was overcome with fear.
 Fortunately, he was able to think rationally.
 So, he planned that as soon as he hit the bottom, he would make a big jump.
 He hoped that he would be able to come to the surface.
 but his efforts went futile.
 Panic groped him when he realised that he had gone deep inside nine feet of water.
 He thought he would bob to the surface like a cork
 His limbs were almost paralysed.
 He failed to find anything to hold on to and he was again being pulled under.
 His lungs ached and his screams went unheard.
 The mass of yellow water gripped him which produced stark terror.
 When three attempts to rise to the surface failed, he fainted. He experienced a terror which never left him.

Question.1. Which two incidents in Douglas’ early life made him scared of water? (Compartment 2014)
Answer. When Douglas was three or four years old, his father took him to a beach in California. There he was knocked down by strong waves, was almost buried under water, and got breathless. Though he hung on to his father, he was quite frightened. Secondly, when Douglas was ten or eleven, a big bully of a boy tossed him into the deep end of the YMCA pool. He could not come to the surface, in spite of all his efforts, and became panicky. These two incidents made Douglas scared of water.
Question.2.Why did Douglas prefer to go to YMCA swimming pool to learn swimming?
(Compartment 2014)
Which factors made Douglas to decide in favour of YMCA pool? (All India 2011)
Answer. According to Douglas, the YMCA pool was safer compared to the Yakima River. The river was quite deep and there were several cases of drowning reported about it. As against the uncertain depth of the river, the pool was only two or three feet deep at the shallow end. Though its depth was about nine feet at the deeper end, yet the drop was gradual, and Douglas could rely on it.
Question.3.What did Douglas feel and do when he was pushed into the swimming pool?
(Compartment 2014)
What were the series of emotions and fears that Douglas experienced when he was thrown into the pool? (Foreign 2011)
Answer. When Douglas was thrown into the pool, he did not lose heart and planned to push himself up with all his force. He thought that once he came to the surface, he would paddle to the edge of the pool. Thrice, he tried to come to the surface, but unfortunately his strategy did not work and terror gripped him. His lungs were ready to burst; he was breathless and instead of air, sucked water.
Question.4.How did his swimming instructor ‘build a swimmer’ out of Douglas? (Compartment 2014)
How did the instructor turn Douglas into a swimmer? (Delhi 2013)
Answer. The instructor adopted a systematic method to turn Douglas into a swimmer. He first made Douglas shed his initial fear of water by making him cross a pool suspended by a rope attached to a pulley. The instructor held the other end of the rope and relaxed and tightened it from time to time. Then he taught the narrator to breathe while swimming, and finally the leg movements and other strokes.

Question.5. How did Douglas make sure that he conquered the old terror? (All India 2013)
Answer. After the instructor had trained Douglas in the art of swimming, Douglas was still not sure of himself. He felt tiny vestiges of the fear now and then. So, he went to Lake Wentworth and swam. Once when terror returned, he challenged it and did not let it overcome him. Finally, Douglas went to the Warm Lake. There he swam and the fear didn’t return to haunt him again.
Question.6. What efforts did Douglas make to get over his fear of water? (Delhi 2012)
Answer. After several individual attempts to overcome his fear, Douglas finally engaged an instructor. The instructor built a swimmer out of him. But Douglas was not sure. To confirm that the terror would not strike him when he was swimming alone, Douglas decided to go to Lake Wentworth in New Hampshire. At last, he made his terror fly away by swimming across the Warm Lake.
Question.7. Why was Douglas determined to get over his fear of water? (DeM20ii, 2009)
Answer. The misadventure of having a near-drowning experience left a deep mark on Douglas’ mind.
The phobia of water hampered all his joys of enjoying different water sports like fishing,
canoeing, boating and swimming. He did not want to live with this handicap and so was determined to overcome his fear of water.

Question.8. What did Douglas experience when he went down to the bottom of the pool for the
first time? (Delhi 2011,2010)
Answer. When the author was going down to the bottom of the pool for the first time, those nine feet felt almost like ninety feet. His lungs were ready to burst, but somehow he summoned all his strength and sprang upwards, hoping to reach the surface, but he didn’t pop up to the surface like a cork, as he had imagined. When he opened his eyes he saw nothing but water, his hands too grabbed only water.
Question.9. Why did Douglas go to Lake Wentworth in New Hampshire? (Delhi 2011)
Answer. Douglas was not satisfied with his practice so he decided to go to Lake Wentworth. There when he was swimming in themiddle of the lake, only once did the terror return, but he finally overcame it, and it made him feel better.
Question.10.When Douglas realised that he was sinking, how did he plan to save himself?
(Delhi 2010)
Answer. When a big boy threw Douglas into the water, he went straight down. He was completely frightened. Still, he did not lose his wits and thought of a strategy to make a big jump when his feet touched the bottom, so that he could reach the surface. He even thought that he would lie flat on the surface and finally paddle to the edge of the pool.

Question.11. What sort of terror seized Douglas as he went down the water with a yellow glow?
How could he feel that he was still alive ? (Delhi 2010)
Answer. When Douglas found himself deep down into the water with a yellow glow, stark terror gripped him. The terror ripped him apart and he had no control over it. He felt paralysed, stiff and rigid with fear. Even the screams in his throat were frozen. It was only his throbbing heart that made him realise that he was still alive.
Question.1. “I crossed to oblivion, and the curtain of life fell.” What was the incident which nearly killed Douglas and developed in him a strong aversion to water? (Foreign 2014)
Answer. The incident which nearly killed Douglas occurred when he was ten or eleven years old. He had decided to learn swimming at the YMCA pool, and thus get rid of his fear of water. One . morning, when he was alone at the pool, waiting for others, a big bully of a boy tossed him into the deep end of the pool. Though he had planned a strategy to save himself as he went down, his plan did not work. He went down to the bottom and became panicky. Thrice he struggled hard to come to the surface, but failed each time. He was almost drowned in the pool. He lost his consciousness and felt that he would die. Though he was ultimately saved, this misadventure developed in him a strong aversion to water.
Question.2. Douglas fully realised the truth of Roosevelt’s statement, “All we have to fear is fear
itself.” How did this realisation help him brush aside his fear and become an expert swimmer? (Foreign 2014)
Answer. Douglas had experienced both the sensation of dying and the terror that the fear of death can cause. Strong will, hard determination, courage and toil as well as honest labour won over all his terrors and fears. The will to live brushed aside all his fears.
In reality all our fears are only psychological, and can be easily won over, if we can control our mind. This realisation makes Douglas resolve to learn swimming by engaging an instructor. This instructor, piece by piece, built Douglas into a swimmer. However, his first step was to drive away Douglas’ fear of water, before training him in swimming techniques. When Douglas tried and swam the length of the pool up and down, small traces of his old terror of water would return. So, he went to Lake Wentworth, dived at Triggs Island and swam two miles across the lake to Stamp Act Island. Finally, he was certain that he had conquered his fear of water.
Question.3. Desire, determination and diligence lead to success. Explain the value of these
qualities in the light of Douglas’ experience in ‘Deep Water.’ (Compartment2014)
Answer. The terror of water followed Douglas wherever he went. To get rid of it, he made a strong determination. He decided to overcome his fear through his “will.” He engaged an instructor who would perfect him in swimming. The instructor first helped him drive away his fear, and then gave him many exercises besides teaching him to exhale and inhale in water.
The practice went on for months together, during which his fear came back to haunt him, but his desire and firm will made him persist in his- efforts. It was only through sheer determination and diligence that Douglas could not only counter his terror, but also become an expert swimmer.
He swam across and back lakes to ensure that his fear of water did not return. He had now completely lost his fear. His desire, determination and diligence succeeded in banishing his fear of water.
Question.4. How did Douglas develop an aversion to water? (Ddhi20i2)
“…….there was terror in my heart at the overpowering force of the waves.” When did Douglas start fearing water? Which experience had further strengthened its hold on his mind and personality? (All India 2010)
Answer. Douglas developed an aversion to water in his early childhood, When he was three or four
years old, his father took him to a beach in California. The waves knocked him down and
swept over him. He was buried in water. He was frightened but his father was laughing. Perhaps this was the moment his fear of water took root inside his mind.
Further, when Douglas was ten or eleven years old, he decided to learn to swim and went to
the YMCA pool. Here an incident took place that finally established his aversion to water as a big fear. One day when Douglas was alone at the pool sitting on the edge and waiting for others to come, a big boy of 18 years of age threw him into the deep end of the pool.
What followed was a nightmarish experience for him. Douglas tried very, hard and applied all his knowledge to come to the surface of the water but to no avail. Somehow, he was saved. Thus after this fearful incident, his fear of water got implanted in his heart and mind
Question.5. How did the instructor make Douglas a good swimmer? (All India 2012)
Answer. To overcome his fear of water, Douglas finally decided to get an instructor to learn
swimming. The instructor started working with him five days a week, an hour each day. The
instructor put a belt around Douglas. A rope was attached to the belt that went through a pulley that ran on an overhead cable. The instructor held on to the end of the rope and , along with Douglas went back and forth, across the pool, hour after hour, day after day,
week after week. On each trip across the pool a bit of panic seized Douglas. It took almost three months before the tension reduced.
Then the instructor taught him to put his face under the water and exhale and to raise his nose and inhale. For weeks, his instructor made him kick with his legs. Until, he was able to command his legs at his will.
In this way, piece by piece, his instructor made Douglas a swimmer. When Douglas perfected each piece, his instructor put them together into an integrated one. As a result, in nearly six months Douglas was able to swim, dive, crawl and so on.

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