CHAPTER 3-Deep Water By William Douglas

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About The Lesson
This lesson by Douglas is autobiographical . It gives us a peak into the feelings of a drowning person. He
tells us about his harrowing experience when he was a young boy , he was tossed into a swimming
pool. He was anxious to learn how to swim, but the bitter experience haunted him for several years . Even
earlier also , he had a horrifying experience. He was with his father on the beach . A large wave came
and buried him under it . He ran out of breath . He decided to master the art of floating on water . But the
big bully gave another push to his fear of water. Long afterwards , he engaged an instructor who trained
him step by step to fulfil his desire . But it took him several months to overcome his fear . He learnt ,
however , a valuable , life saving lesson that one must try to challenge and overcome the fear itself.
Deep Water is an excerpt taken from ‘ Of Men and mountains’ by William O. Douglas in which he narrates
his own experience of drowning in water.

  1. William Douglas – Narrator/ Writer/Author/Protagonist
  2. Instructor- A trainer who trained Douglas in swimming
  3. Yakima – A river and a name of a city
  4. Y.M.C.A – Place / An organisation
  5. Big Bruiser- A large strong boy who tossed Douglas into water or pool/ a big bullying
  6. Maine, Warm Lake of the Goat Rocks, Wentworth,Deschutes, Metolius – Name of a lake
  7. Tieton/Bumping River/- Name of a river
  8. Bumping – Name of a Lake
  9. California- Name of a place where there is a ‘ beach ‘
  10. Salmon,Boss,Trout – Kind of fish
  11. New Hampshire- Name of a place

  12. Very short answer type questions: (For RTC purpose)
  13. 1.What was the desire of Douglas since childhood?
    Ans. To learn swimming
  14. Who warned Douglas and for what ?
    Ans. Mother, not to go to river Yakima
  15. 3.When and where was Douglas taken and by whom?
    Ans. Father, at the age of 3-4,California beach.
  16. 4.What is Yakima? Why was it considered
    Ans. Name of a city and river / many persons had
    drowned in it.
  17. What is Y.M.C.A?
    Ans. Name of an organisation Young Men’s Christian
  18. When and where occured two unpleasant incident?
    Ans. At the beach 3-4 years old , at YMCA pool 10-11
    years old.
  19. 7.Who threw/tossed him into the deep end of the pool?
    Ans. Big / strong boy of 18 / Big Bruiser of a boy
  20. How many time did Douglas go down in the pool
    water ?
    Ans. thrice/three times
  21. What is misadventure?
    Ans. A mishap that occured at YMCA pool of Douglas
    getting drowned.
  22. 10.Why did Douglas choose the YMCA pool for
    swimming ?
    Ans. It was safe
  23. 11.Why was Douglas determined to get over his fear
    of water ?
    Ans. To enjoy boating,fishing,swimming etc.
  24. 12.In how many months from when to when did the
    instructor train Douglas for swimming?
    Ans. 6 months ( October to March)
  25. 13.Why did Douglas go to Lake Wentworth in New
    Ans.To remove his doubts about his fear of water.
  26. 14.How did Douglas make sure that he
    conquered the old terror ?
    Ans. Went to the Warm lake and swam across
    to the other shore and back.
  27. 15.Who said ‘All we have to fear is fear itself’?
    Explain with reference to Deep Water?
    Ans. Franklin.D.Roosevelt. Douglas has
    experienced both the sensation of dying and
    terror that fear of it can produce.
  28. 16.What ruined Douglas’ fishing trips?
    Ans. Fear of water stopped him.
  29. 17.’The instructor was finished but I was not
    finished’ means –
    Ans. Instructor’s job was over but Douglas had
    some fear of water
  30. 18.‘Then all efforts ceased’ means –
    Ans. Douglas stopped making an effort.
  31. ‘Imagined I would Bob to the surface like
    a cork’ means –
    Ans. To come up to the surface like a cork.
    Short answer type questions:
  32. Why was YMCA pool safe ?
    Ans. It was two or three feet deep at the shallow end while at the other it was nine feet . Slope was also very
    gradual and under control.
  33. What happened at the beach in California?
    Ans.The waves knocked him down and swept over him . He was buried in the water and he was out of breath.
    It happened at the age of 3-4 years old .
  34. What is the ‘misadventure’ at YMCA pool that Douglas speaks about ?
    Ans.One day at YMCA pool a big bruiser of a boy picked Douglas and tossed him into the deep end. He
    landed in a sitting position , swallowed water and went at once to the bottom . He feared to drown .
  35. How did Douglas overcome his fear of water?
    How did the instructor make Douglas a good swimmer ?
    Ans.The Instructor’s help with learning techniques. Douglas’ own determination and constant practice.
  36. 5.Why did Douglas go to Lake Wentworth in New Hampshire?
    Ans. He went to lake Wentworth in New Hampshire to remove his doubts and to say farewell to his chronic
  37. 6.What lesson did Douglas learn when he got rid of his fear of water ?
    Ans.What we have to fear is fear itself. It is the ‘will to live’ that removes all our fears , terrors , troubles and
    difficulties if we struggle hard and make a strong determination to encounter it .Long answer type questions:
  38. Why was William Douglas afraid of water ? Describe in 120-150 words.
    ● At the age of 3-4 experienced unpleasant incident
    ● Waves swept over him and buried in the water
    ● Occured on the beach of California
    ● At the age of 10-11 experienced another unpleasant incident
    ● Thrown deep into the YMCA pool by a strong boy
    ● Made 3 different attempts but failed
    ● Stark terror overpowered him
    ● Could not enjoy boating , fishing and swimming
  39. 2.How did Douglas overcome his fear of water ?
    How did instructor help Douglas to become a swimmer ?
    ● Engaged an instructor
    ● Practised 5 days a week, an hour a day
    ● Learnt swimming piece by piece
    ● Put a belt around Douglas
    ● A rope was attached to the bell
    ● Rope went through the pulley
    ● Pulley ran on a overhead cable
    ● Went back and forth across the pool
    ● Taught how to exhale underwater
    ● Taught how to inhale outside it
    ● Made him a perfect swimmer