Q. 1. What misadventure did Douglas experience at the YMCA swimming pool? [Comptt., Outside Delhi Set-I, 2013]
Ans. The writer had to face an extremely traumatic experience at the YMCA pool. He used to go there to learn swimming. The pool was two feet at its hallow end and nine feet at the deep end.One day a strong big boy picked him up and threw im into the deepest part of the pool. He sank to the bottom. But he decided to fight back. He hought of going down to the bottom of the pool and hit the floor and jump up like a cork. He tried to jump and come up gradually. But unfortunately,he could not succeed. Thrice, he tried to jump upbut he sank again. As fear had gripped him, all his efforts went in vain. He was nearly drowned. He tried to breathe but swallowed water. He lay there in complete peace without any sensation or the fear of death. But someone saved him.
Q. 2. Describe the efforts made by Douglas to save himself from drowning in YMCA swimming pool. [Outsdie Delhi Set-II, 2013]
How did Douglas try to save himself from drowning in the YMCA pool? [Delhi Set-III, 2012]
Ans. When Douglas was picked and tossed into the deep end he was frightened, but not so frightened that he lost his wits, entirely. On the way down he planned that when his feet hits the bottom, he would make a big jump, come to the surface, lie flat on it, and paddle to the edge of the pool. He imagined he would bob to the surface like a cork. Instead, he came up slowly. He opened his eyes and saw nothing but water. He flailed at the surface of the water, swallowed and choked. He tried to bring his legs up, but they hung as dead weights, paralysed and rigid and he went down again. He struck at the water expanding his strength, remembering that he had to hit the bottom of the floor. But the second time too, he failed, to come up to the surface. And then, sheer, stark terror seized him. The third time he went down, he tried to scream but ultimately found himself losing consciousness and started sinking to the bottom of the pool with total silence enveloping him.
Q. 3. What horrific experiences did Douglas have in his childhood? What impact did they have on him? [Comptt., Outside Delhi, Set-I, 2012]
Ans. When Douglas was a small boy, he had a very horrific experience. His father had taken him to a beach in California. There a huge wave washed over him and he was buried under water. After this experience, Douglas was scared of water. Then, when he was about 10–12 years of age, he again had a near drowning experience in the YMCA pool. This increased his fear and he became very scared of water.
Q. 4. “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]
How did Douglas develop an aversion to water? [Delhi Set-II, 2012]
Ans. Value Points: The incident which nearly killed Douglas and developed in him an aversion to water when : — he had joined YMCA swimming pool - one day he was sitting alone on the steps of the YMCA pool - a big bruiser of a boy picked him up and tossed him into the deep end of the pool — Douglas landed in a sitting position, swallowed water and went, at once, to the bottom — he was frightened but he used his wits and made a big push to come to the surface but those nine feet appeared to be ninety. — his lungs were about to burst but still when his feet hit the bottom, he summoned all his strength and made a great spring upwards but again was not successful — grew panicky, still he made two attempts to come out but failed — shook and trembled with fright - his arms and legs wouldn’t move — blackness swept over his brain, no longer felt any fear, felt the curtain of life falling and death approaching.
Detailed Answer: Douglas was about four years old when he visited a beach in California with his father. They stood together in the surf. Douglas clung to his father yet a powerful wave swept him and knocked him down. He was terrified. This developed a fear of water in him. Then, when he was eleven years old, he decided to learn swimming at the YMCA swimming pool. He paddled with water wings. One day, as he was sitting all alone at the edge of the pool, a well built young man picked him up and tossed him into the deepest part of the pool. He was almost drowned. This experience had a lasting effect on Douglas. He never went back to the pool. He feared water and avoided it whenever he could. Whenever he tried to enter water, the terror that had seized him in the pool came back. His legs would become paralysed and icy horror would grab his heart. These two incidents were responsible for Douglas’ aversion to water as a child.
Q. 5. Fear is something that we must learn to overcome if we want to succeed in life. How did Douglas get over his fear of water? [Delhi / Outside Delhi 2018]
Douglas fully realized the truth of Roosevelt’s statement, ‘All we have to fear is fear itself’. How did this realization help him brush aside his fear and become an expert swimmer? [Foreign, 2014]
How did the instructor make Douglas a goodswimmer? [Outside Delhi Set-II, 2012]
Ans. Suggested Value Points: — Appointed a swimming instructor, went to the pool, practised five days a week, an hour each day, in six months, learnt to swim, in July tested his newly learnt skills in different lakes and water bodies.
Detailed Answer: William Douglas’s aversion to water started when he was three or four years old and his father took him to the beach in California. He hung on to his father but the waves swept over him. He was almost buried in water, his breath was gone and he was terrified. He tried to overcome his fear of water by going to the YMCA swimming pool. But even there he was pushed into the pool by a bully and had a near death experience. This left a very strong impact on his psychology. A haunting fear of water took control of his physical strength and emotional balance for many years and when he tried to go near water, his fear would seize him and his legs would become paralyzed and icy terror would grab his heart. He decided to overcome his fear. He hired an instructor His instructor was very dedicated. He took immense pain and drove fear out of Douglas’ mind by making him practice hard five day a week for an hour en day. He taught him different steps one by one and then asked him to swim. Finally, Douglas was able to overcome his fear and become a good swimmer.
Q. 6. The childhood experience of terror of Douglas made him stronger and more determined. Elucidate the above statement supporting it with evidences from the text. [CBSE, SQP, 2018-19]
How did Douglas’ experience at the YMCA pool affect him. How did he overcome his fear of water? [Comptt., Outside Delhi Set-III, 2012]
Ans. Suggested Value Points:
— Experience at California beach developed an aversion of water in Douglas
— Misadventure at YMCA pool because of an eighteen year old, developed fear and terror of water in him
— Swallowed water, legs paralyzed, head throbbed, felt terror that knew no understanding
— Could not go near water for years
— But, gathered courage again, as was deprived of canoeing, fishing, swimming
— Hired an instructor and learnt swimming
— Terror returned every time he put his head in water but did not give up
— After learning from instructor, tested himself alone in pool, then went to fresh waters to do away with residual doubts
— Fought with his terror all through with determination and strength.
Ans. One day while Douglas was sitting by the pool side, a strong big boy picked him up and threw him into the deepest part of the pool. He sank to the bottom but he tried to jump and come up gradually. As fear had gripped him, all his efforts went in vain. He was nearly drowned. He tried to breathe, but swallowed water. He lay there in complete peace without any sensation or the fear of death. But someone saved him. He was terrified and the sight of water made him sick. He could not go for fishing or canoeing. So to overcome his fear, he hired an instructor who trained him as a swimmer bit by bit. He was able to overcome his fear. Then, to conquer his residual fear he went to Lake Wentworth and swam two miles on his own. The old fear came back for a while but he was able to conquer it. This experience of fear at first and then conquering, it made his life worth living.
Q. 7. “All we have to fear is fear itself”. Describe Douglas’ experiences which led to the making of this statement. [Comptt., Delhi Set II, 2015]
‘‘Nothing is impossible in the world, it is our willpower which makes the impossible, possible.” Elaborate it with reference to the essay ‘‘Deep Water’’.
We always admire those as heroes who face challenges bravely in different phases of life and emerge successfully. Elaborate on this statement with reference to William Douglas. [Comptt., Delhi Set I, II, III, 2017]
Ans. Value Points: Deep Water
—Douglas two traumatic experiences with water
— deprived him of joy of canoeing, swimming, fishing, boating
— fear haunted him for years
—engaged an instructor
— learnt swimming
— tested his fear in lake and rivers
— finally conquered fear, emerged stronger man.
Detailed Answer: In this story, Douglas from his early childhood, was terrified of water and avoided it. But when he entered his teenage, he had a desire to learn swimming. His terror of water created an obstacle in front of him. William Douglas, for a long time remained fearful of water. This handicap deprived him of the joy of canoeing, boating and swimming. He used every way he knew to overcome his fear of water, but it overpowered him. Finally, one October, he decided to engage an instructor and learn to swim. He went to a pool and practised five days a week, an hour each day. The instructor first put a belt around Douglas. A rope attached to the belt went through a pulley that ran on an overhead cable. The instructor held on to the end of the rope, and they went back and forth. Then, the instructor taught Douglas to put his face under water and exhale, and to raise his nose and inhale. Next, he taught Douglas how to kick in water with his legs. This is how Douglas learnt swimming step by step. However, to ensure that he had conquered his fear of water, Douglas went to Lake Wentworth in New Hampshire and dived off at Triggs Island. He swam two miles across the lake to Stamp Act Island. He swam in different ways like the crawl, breast stroke, side stroke and back stroke. Only once, the terror returned to some extent when he was in the middle of the lake. But he overcame it. Yet to clear his doubt, he went up the Lake Tietan to Conrad Meadows, and camped in the high meadows by the side of Warm Lake. The next morning he dived into the lake and swam across to the other shore and back. He shouted with joy as he had conquered his fear of water. His terror of water and his conquest of the same gave him an insight into the meaning of life and death. He made things possible. He had experienced the fear of death as well as the sensation of dying. He felt there is peace in death. So he lived more intensely and enjoyed his life. He emerged as a stronger man.