NCERT Textbook - Deep Water Class 12 Notes | EduRev

English Class 12

Class 12 : NCERT Textbook - Deep Water Class 12 Notes | EduRev

 Page 1


Deep Water/23
Deep Water
About the author
William Douglas (1898-1980) was born in Maine,
Minnesota. After graduating with a Bachelors of Arts
in English and Economics, he spent two years teaching
high school in Yakima. However, he got tired of this and
decided to pursue a legal career. He met Franklin D.
Roosevelt at Yale and became an adviser and friend to
the President. Douglas was a leading advocate of
individual rights. He retired in 1975 with a term lasting
thirty-six years and remains the longest-serving Justice
in the history of the court. The following excerpt is taken
from Of Men and Mountains by William O. Douglas. It
reveals how as a young boy William Douglas nearly
drowned in a swimming pool. In this essay he talks
about his fear of water and thereafter, how he finally
overcame it. Notice how the autobiographical part of
the selection is used to support his discussion of fear.
Notice these words and expressions in the text.
Infer their meaning from the context.
— treacherous — misadventure
— subdued my pride — bob to the surface like a cork
— flailed at the surface — curtain of life fell
— fishing for landlocked salmon — back and forth across the pool
It had happened when I was ten or eleven years old. I had
decided to learn to swim. There was a pool at the Y.M.C.A.
in Yakima that offered exactly the opportunity. The Yakima
River was treacherous. Mother continually warned against
it, and kept fresh in my mind the details of each drowning
in the river. But the Y.M.C.A. pool was safe. It was only
two or three feet deep at the shallow end; and while it was
nine feet deep at the other, the drop was gradual. I got a
pair of water wings and went to the pool. I hated to walk
3 3 3 3 3
2020-21
©  NCERT 
not to be republished
Page 2


Deep Water/23
Deep Water
About the author
William Douglas (1898-1980) was born in Maine,
Minnesota. After graduating with a Bachelors of Arts
in English and Economics, he spent two years teaching
high school in Yakima. However, he got tired of this and
decided to pursue a legal career. He met Franklin D.
Roosevelt at Yale and became an adviser and friend to
the President. Douglas was a leading advocate of
individual rights. He retired in 1975 with a term lasting
thirty-six years and remains the longest-serving Justice
in the history of the court. The following excerpt is taken
from Of Men and Mountains by William O. Douglas. It
reveals how as a young boy William Douglas nearly
drowned in a swimming pool. In this essay he talks
about his fear of water and thereafter, how he finally
overcame it. Notice how the autobiographical part of
the selection is used to support his discussion of fear.
Notice these words and expressions in the text.
Infer their meaning from the context.
— treacherous — misadventure
— subdued my pride — bob to the surface like a cork
— flailed at the surface — curtain of life fell
— fishing for landlocked salmon — back and forth across the pool
It had happened when I was ten or eleven years old. I had
decided to learn to swim. There was a pool at the Y.M.C.A.
in Yakima that offered exactly the opportunity. The Yakima
River was treacherous. Mother continually warned against
it, and kept fresh in my mind the details of each drowning
in the river. But the Y.M.C.A. pool was safe. It was only
two or three feet deep at the shallow end; and while it was
nine feet deep at the other, the drop was gradual. I got a
pair of water wings and went to the pool. I hated to walk
3 3 3 3 3
2020-21
©  NCERT 
not to be republished
24/Flamingo
Sketch map not to scale
The Yakima River is a tributary
of the Columbia River in eastern
Washington, U.S.A. The state is
named after the indigenous
Yakama people.
THE YAKIMA RIVER
2020-21
©  NCERT 
not to be republished
Page 3


Deep Water/23
Deep Water
About the author
William Douglas (1898-1980) was born in Maine,
Minnesota. After graduating with a Bachelors of Arts
in English and Economics, he spent two years teaching
high school in Yakima. However, he got tired of this and
decided to pursue a legal career. He met Franklin D.
Roosevelt at Yale and became an adviser and friend to
the President. Douglas was a leading advocate of
individual rights. He retired in 1975 with a term lasting
thirty-six years and remains the longest-serving Justice
in the history of the court. The following excerpt is taken
from Of Men and Mountains by William O. Douglas. It
reveals how as a young boy William Douglas nearly
drowned in a swimming pool. In this essay he talks
about his fear of water and thereafter, how he finally
overcame it. Notice how the autobiographical part of
the selection is used to support his discussion of fear.
Notice these words and expressions in the text.
Infer their meaning from the context.
— treacherous — misadventure
— subdued my pride — bob to the surface like a cork
— flailed at the surface — curtain of life fell
— fishing for landlocked salmon — back and forth across the pool
It had happened when I was ten or eleven years old. I had
decided to learn to swim. There was a pool at the Y.M.C.A.
in Yakima that offered exactly the opportunity. The Yakima
River was treacherous. Mother continually warned against
it, and kept fresh in my mind the details of each drowning
in the river. But the Y.M.C.A. pool was safe. It was only
two or three feet deep at the shallow end; and while it was
nine feet deep at the other, the drop was gradual. I got a
pair of water wings and went to the pool. I hated to walk
3 3 3 3 3
2020-21
©  NCERT 
not to be republished
24/Flamingo
Sketch map not to scale
The Yakima River is a tributary
of the Columbia River in eastern
Washington, U.S.A. The state is
named after the indigenous
Yakama people.
THE YAKIMA RIVER
2020-21
©  NCERT 
not to be republished
Deep Water/25
naked into it and show my skinny legs. But I subdued my
pride and did it.
From the beginning, however, I had an aversion to the
water when I was in it. This started when I was three or
four years old and father took me to the beach in California.
He and I stood together in the surf. I hung on to him, yet
the waves knocked me down and swept over me. I was
buried in water. My breath was gone. I was frightened.
Father laughed, but there was terror in my heart at the
overpowering force of the waves.
My introduction to the Y.M.CA. swimming pool revived
unpleasant memories and stirred childish fears. But in a
little while I gathered confidence. I paddled with my new
water wings, watching the other boys and trying to learn
by aping them. I did this two or three times on different
days and was just beginning to feel at ease in the water
when the misadventure happened.
I went to the pool when no one else was there. The place
was quiet. The water was still, and the tiled bottom was as
white and clean as a bathtub. I was timid about going in
alone, so I sat on the side of the pool to wait for others.
I had not been there long when in came a big bruiser
of a boy, probably eighteen years old. He had thick hair on
his chest. He was a beautiful physical specimen, with legs
and arms that showed rippling muscles. He yelled, “Hi,
Skinny! How’d you like to be ducked?”
With that he picked me up and tossed me into the deep
end. I landed in a sitting position, swallowed water, and
went at once to the bottom. I was frightened, but not yet
frightened out of my wits. On the way down I planned:
When my feet hit the bottom, I would make a big jump,
come to the surface, lie flat on it, and paddle to the edge of
the pool.
It seemed a long way down. Those nine feet were more
like ninety, and before I touched bottom my lungs were
ready to burst. But when my feet hit bottom I summoned
all my strength and made what I thought was a great spring
upwards. I imagined I would bob to the surface like a cork.
Instead, I came up slowly. I opened my eyes and saw nothing
2020-21
©  NCERT 
not to be republished
Page 4


Deep Water/23
Deep Water
About the author
William Douglas (1898-1980) was born in Maine,
Minnesota. After graduating with a Bachelors of Arts
in English and Economics, he spent two years teaching
high school in Yakima. However, he got tired of this and
decided to pursue a legal career. He met Franklin D.
Roosevelt at Yale and became an adviser and friend to
the President. Douglas was a leading advocate of
individual rights. He retired in 1975 with a term lasting
thirty-six years and remains the longest-serving Justice
in the history of the court. The following excerpt is taken
from Of Men and Mountains by William O. Douglas. It
reveals how as a young boy William Douglas nearly
drowned in a swimming pool. In this essay he talks
about his fear of water and thereafter, how he finally
overcame it. Notice how the autobiographical part of
the selection is used to support his discussion of fear.
Notice these words and expressions in the text.
Infer their meaning from the context.
— treacherous — misadventure
— subdued my pride — bob to the surface like a cork
— flailed at the surface — curtain of life fell
— fishing for landlocked salmon — back and forth across the pool
It had happened when I was ten or eleven years old. I had
decided to learn to swim. There was a pool at the Y.M.C.A.
in Yakima that offered exactly the opportunity. The Yakima
River was treacherous. Mother continually warned against
it, and kept fresh in my mind the details of each drowning
in the river. But the Y.M.C.A. pool was safe. It was only
two or three feet deep at the shallow end; and while it was
nine feet deep at the other, the drop was gradual. I got a
pair of water wings and went to the pool. I hated to walk
3 3 3 3 3
2020-21
©  NCERT 
not to be republished
24/Flamingo
Sketch map not to scale
The Yakima River is a tributary
of the Columbia River in eastern
Washington, U.S.A. The state is
named after the indigenous
Yakama people.
THE YAKIMA RIVER
2020-21
©  NCERT 
not to be republished
Deep Water/25
naked into it and show my skinny legs. But I subdued my
pride and did it.
From the beginning, however, I had an aversion to the
water when I was in it. This started when I was three or
four years old and father took me to the beach in California.
He and I stood together in the surf. I hung on to him, yet
the waves knocked me down and swept over me. I was
buried in water. My breath was gone. I was frightened.
Father laughed, but there was terror in my heart at the
overpowering force of the waves.
My introduction to the Y.M.CA. swimming pool revived
unpleasant memories and stirred childish fears. But in a
little while I gathered confidence. I paddled with my new
water wings, watching the other boys and trying to learn
by aping them. I did this two or three times on different
days and was just beginning to feel at ease in the water
when the misadventure happened.
I went to the pool when no one else was there. The place
was quiet. The water was still, and the tiled bottom was as
white and clean as a bathtub. I was timid about going in
alone, so I sat on the side of the pool to wait for others.
I had not been there long when in came a big bruiser
of a boy, probably eighteen years old. He had thick hair on
his chest. He was a beautiful physical specimen, with legs
and arms that showed rippling muscles. He yelled, “Hi,
Skinny! How’d you like to be ducked?”
With that he picked me up and tossed me into the deep
end. I landed in a sitting position, swallowed water, and
went at once to the bottom. I was frightened, but not yet
frightened out of my wits. On the way down I planned:
When my feet hit the bottom, I would make a big jump,
come to the surface, lie flat on it, and paddle to the edge of
the pool.
It seemed a long way down. Those nine feet were more
like ninety, and before I touched bottom my lungs were
ready to burst. But when my feet hit bottom I summoned
all my strength and made what I thought was a great spring
upwards. I imagined I would bob to the surface like a cork.
Instead, I came up slowly. I opened my eyes and saw nothing
2020-21
©  NCERT 
not to be republished
26/Flamingo
but water — water that had a dirty yellow tinge to it. I
grew panicky. I reached up as if to grab a rope and my
hands clutched only at water. I was suffocating. I tried to
yell but no sound came out. Then my eyes and nose came
out of the water — but not my mouth.
I flailed at the surface of the water, swallowed and
choked. I tried to bring my legs up, but they hung as dead
weights, paralysed and rigid. A great force was pulling me
under. I screamed, but only the water heard me. I had
started on the long journey back to the bottom of the pool.
I struck at the water as I went down, expending my
strength as one in a nightmare fights an irresistible force. I
had lost all my breath. My lungs ached, my head throbbed.
I was getting dizzy. But I remembered the strategy — I
would spring from the bottom of the pool and come like a
cork to the surface. I would lie flat on the water, strike out
with my arms, and thrash with my legs. Then I would get
to the edge of the pool and be safe.
I went down, down, endlessly. I opened my eyes. Nothing
but water with a yellow glow — dark water that one could
not see through.
And then sheer, stark terror seized me, terror that
knows no understanding, terror that knows no control,
terror that no one can understand who has not experienced
it. I was shrieking under water. I was paralysed under water
— stiff, rigid with fear. Even the screams in my throat were
frozen. Only my heart, and the pounding in my head, said
that I was still alive.
And then in the midst of the terror came a touch of
reason. I must remember to jump when I hit the bottom. At
last I felt the tiles under me. My toes reached out as if to
grab them. I jumped with everything I had.
But the jump made no difference. The water was still
around me. I looked for ropes, ladders, water wings. Nothing
but water. A mass of yellow water held me. Stark terror
took an even deeper hold on me, like a great charge of
electricity. I shook and trembled with fright. My arms
wouldn’t move. My legs wouldn’t move. I tried to call for
help, to call for mother. Nothing happened.
2020-21
©  NCERT 
not to be republished
Page 5


Deep Water/23
Deep Water
About the author
William Douglas (1898-1980) was born in Maine,
Minnesota. After graduating with a Bachelors of Arts
in English and Economics, he spent two years teaching
high school in Yakima. However, he got tired of this and
decided to pursue a legal career. He met Franklin D.
Roosevelt at Yale and became an adviser and friend to
the President. Douglas was a leading advocate of
individual rights. He retired in 1975 with a term lasting
thirty-six years and remains the longest-serving Justice
in the history of the court. The following excerpt is taken
from Of Men and Mountains by William O. Douglas. It
reveals how as a young boy William Douglas nearly
drowned in a swimming pool. In this essay he talks
about his fear of water and thereafter, how he finally
overcame it. Notice how the autobiographical part of
the selection is used to support his discussion of fear.
Notice these words and expressions in the text.
Infer their meaning from the context.
— treacherous — misadventure
— subdued my pride — bob to the surface like a cork
— flailed at the surface — curtain of life fell
— fishing for landlocked salmon — back and forth across the pool
It had happened when I was ten or eleven years old. I had
decided to learn to swim. There was a pool at the Y.M.C.A.
in Yakima that offered exactly the opportunity. The Yakima
River was treacherous. Mother continually warned against
it, and kept fresh in my mind the details of each drowning
in the river. But the Y.M.C.A. pool was safe. It was only
two or three feet deep at the shallow end; and while it was
nine feet deep at the other, the drop was gradual. I got a
pair of water wings and went to the pool. I hated to walk
3 3 3 3 3
2020-21
©  NCERT 
not to be republished
24/Flamingo
Sketch map not to scale
The Yakima River is a tributary
of the Columbia River in eastern
Washington, U.S.A. The state is
named after the indigenous
Yakama people.
THE YAKIMA RIVER
2020-21
©  NCERT 
not to be republished
Deep Water/25
naked into it and show my skinny legs. But I subdued my
pride and did it.
From the beginning, however, I had an aversion to the
water when I was in it. This started when I was three or
four years old and father took me to the beach in California.
He and I stood together in the surf. I hung on to him, yet
the waves knocked me down and swept over me. I was
buried in water. My breath was gone. I was frightened.
Father laughed, but there was terror in my heart at the
overpowering force of the waves.
My introduction to the Y.M.CA. swimming pool revived
unpleasant memories and stirred childish fears. But in a
little while I gathered confidence. I paddled with my new
water wings, watching the other boys and trying to learn
by aping them. I did this two or three times on different
days and was just beginning to feel at ease in the water
when the misadventure happened.
I went to the pool when no one else was there. The place
was quiet. The water was still, and the tiled bottom was as
white and clean as a bathtub. I was timid about going in
alone, so I sat on the side of the pool to wait for others.
I had not been there long when in came a big bruiser
of a boy, probably eighteen years old. He had thick hair on
his chest. He was a beautiful physical specimen, with legs
and arms that showed rippling muscles. He yelled, “Hi,
Skinny! How’d you like to be ducked?”
With that he picked me up and tossed me into the deep
end. I landed in a sitting position, swallowed water, and
went at once to the bottom. I was frightened, but not yet
frightened out of my wits. On the way down I planned:
When my feet hit the bottom, I would make a big jump,
come to the surface, lie flat on it, and paddle to the edge of
the pool.
It seemed a long way down. Those nine feet were more
like ninety, and before I touched bottom my lungs were
ready to burst. But when my feet hit bottom I summoned
all my strength and made what I thought was a great spring
upwards. I imagined I would bob to the surface like a cork.
Instead, I came up slowly. I opened my eyes and saw nothing
2020-21
©  NCERT 
not to be republished
26/Flamingo
but water — water that had a dirty yellow tinge to it. I
grew panicky. I reached up as if to grab a rope and my
hands clutched only at water. I was suffocating. I tried to
yell but no sound came out. Then my eyes and nose came
out of the water — but not my mouth.
I flailed at the surface of the water, swallowed and
choked. I tried to bring my legs up, but they hung as dead
weights, paralysed and rigid. A great force was pulling me
under. I screamed, but only the water heard me. I had
started on the long journey back to the bottom of the pool.
I struck at the water as I went down, expending my
strength as one in a nightmare fights an irresistible force. I
had lost all my breath. My lungs ached, my head throbbed.
I was getting dizzy. But I remembered the strategy — I
would spring from the bottom of the pool and come like a
cork to the surface. I would lie flat on the water, strike out
with my arms, and thrash with my legs. Then I would get
to the edge of the pool and be safe.
I went down, down, endlessly. I opened my eyes. Nothing
but water with a yellow glow — dark water that one could
not see through.
And then sheer, stark terror seized me, terror that
knows no understanding, terror that knows no control,
terror that no one can understand who has not experienced
it. I was shrieking under water. I was paralysed under water
— stiff, rigid with fear. Even the screams in my throat were
frozen. Only my heart, and the pounding in my head, said
that I was still alive.
And then in the midst of the terror came a touch of
reason. I must remember to jump when I hit the bottom. At
last I felt the tiles under me. My toes reached out as if to
grab them. I jumped with everything I had.
But the jump made no difference. The water was still
around me. I looked for ropes, ladders, water wings. Nothing
but water. A mass of yellow water held me. Stark terror
took an even deeper hold on me, like a great charge of
electricity. I shook and trembled with fright. My arms
wouldn’t move. My legs wouldn’t move. I tried to call for
help, to call for mother. Nothing happened.
2020-21
©  NCERT 
not to be republished
Deep Water/27
And then, strangely, there was light. I was coming out
of the awful yellow water. At least my eyes were. My nose
was almost out too.
Then I started down a third time. I sucked for air and
got water. The yellowish light was going out.
Then all effort ceased. I relaxed. Even my legs felt limp;
and a blackness swept over my brain. It wiped out fear; it
wiped out terror. There was no more panic. It was quiet
and peaceful. Nothing to be afraid of. This is nice... to be
drowsy... to go to sleep... no need to jump... too tired to
jump... it’s nice to be carried gently... to float along in space...
tender arms around me... tender arms like Mother’s... now
I must go to sleep...
I crossed to oblivion, and the
curtain of life fell.
The next I remember I was
lying on my stomach beside the
pool, vomiting. The chap that threw
me in was saying, “But I was only
fooling.” Someone said, “The kid
nearly died. Be all right now. Let’s
carry him to the locker room.”
Several hours later, I walked
home. I was weak and trembling.
I shook and cried when I lay on
my bed. I couldn’t eat that night. For days a haunting fear
was in my heart. The slightest exertion upset me, making
me wobbly in the knees and sick to my stomach.
I never went back to the pool. I feared water. I avoided
it whenever I could.
A few years later when I came to know the waters of
the Cascades, I wanted to get into them. And whenever I
did — whether I was wading the Tieton or Bumping River
or bathing in Warm Lake of the Goat Rocks — the terror
that had seized me in the pool would come back. It would
take possession of me completely. My legs would become
paralysed. Icy horror would grab my heart.
This handicap stayed with me as the years rolled by.
In canoes on Maine lakes fishing for landlocked salmon,
1 1 1 1 1. What is the “misadventure” that
William Douglas speaks about?
2 2 2 2 2. What were the series of emotions
and fears that Douglas
experienced when he was thrown
into the pool? What plans did he
make to come to the surface?
3 3 3 3 3. How did this experience affect
him?
2020-21
©  NCERT 
not to be republished
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