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Short Answer Type Questions
Q1. Douglas had a fear of water even before his experience of drowning in the Y.M.C.A pool? Why?
Ans. At the age of three or four, Douglas had gone with his father to the beach. A powerful wave had struck him and knocked him down while he was with his father in the surf. This experience had terrorized him and this fear stayed even as he grew older.
Q2. What is the ‘misadventure’ that William Douglas speaks about?
Ans. The misadventure tool place when Douglas went swimming in the Y.M.C.A pool. A big bruiser of a boy, about eighteen years old, picked him up and tossed him into the deep end. He swallowed a lot of water and went at once to the bottom. He planned to hit the bottom and make a big jump and come to the surface. But his plan failed and he almost had a brush with death.
Q3. What was the bruising experience that Douglas had at the Y.M.C.A?
Ans. To overcome his fear of water Douglas started learning swimming at the Y.M.C.A pool. However, he was tossed into the deep end of the pool by a big boy of eighteen. Douglas almost drowned in the incident and his fear of water became more intense and hard to overcome.
Q4. 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?
Ans. Douglas was frightened when he was thrown into the water but he did not lose his wits. He made a plan to make a big jump, to come to the surface, lie flat on it and paddle to the edge of the pool. He summoned all his strength and made a great spring upwards but instead, he came up slowly. He opened his eyes and saw nothing. He tried again but was seized by terror. He was shrieking underwater and was paralyzed-stiff and rigid with fear. He only knew one thing – that he was alive.
Q5. How did this experience affect him?
Ans. This experience revived the fear of water. He felt weak and trembled as he walked home. He shook and cried when he lay on his bed and could not eat anything that night. He was haunted by the frightening experience. The slightest exertion upset him, making him wobbly in the knees and sick in the stomach.
Q6. What strategy did the author remember when he was drowning in the Y.M.C.A pool?
Ans. Douglas thought that as he would hit the bottom of the tiled pool, he would spring up like a cork to the surface, then lie flat on the water, strike out with his arms and thrash with his legs and reach the edge of the pool. However, this plan failed.
Q7. ‘I crossed to oblivion and the curtain of life fell’. Why did the author make this remark?
Ans. The author had made three futile attempts to spring up to the surface but as his strength failed and energy got exhausted, he gave up and stopped all his efforts. He relaxed and passed into a state of unconsciousness and then there was no fear after that.
Q8. Why was Douglas determined to get over his fear of water?
Ans. Douglas after his misadventure and a near brush with death became so scared of water that he could not go fishing, canoeing, boating and swimming. He tried hard to overcome his fear but it held him firmly in its grip. Finally, one October he decided to get an instructor and learn to swim. He started going to the pool 5 days a week, an hour each day.
Q9. What joys did his fear of water deprive him off?
Ans. The author’s fear of water-deprived him of the joy of having fun with his friends during their fishing trips and also the thrill of canoeing, boating or swimming. The moment he would go near water, his fear of water would start haunting him.
Q10. How did the instructor make a swimmer out of Douglas?
Ans. The instructor put a belt around Douglas and attached a rope to the belt which went through a pulley that ran on an overhead cable. He held on to the rope and went back and forth across the pool for three months, after which his terror of water slackened a bit. He could put his face underwater and exhale and inhale with the nose out of the water. Then he learnt to kick with his legs for many weeks till he could relax. After seven months he could swim the entire length of the pool.
Q11. How did Douglas make sure that he conquered the old terror?
Ans. Douglas would still feel the old terror even after the instructor taught him to swim. To overcome this fear, he started talking to terror and challenged it. He would go for another length of the pool after talking to terror. Still, to ensure that he conquered it completely he went to Lake Wentworth, dived at Triggers Island and swam two miles to Stamp Act is land. He tried all strokes, put his face underwater, and mocked at his terror which fled as he swam on.
Q12. What did the author mean by ‘But I was not finished’ after his swimming lessons with the instructor were over?
Ans. The author’s remark meant that he was not sure whether his old terror had left him. He still felt scared and frightened while swimming the length of the pool up and down.
Q13. What impression do you get of Douglas from the essay?
Ans. Douglas was a brave and strong-willed person. Despite his horrifying experiences in water when he almost drowned, he didn’t give up. He resolved to overcome his fear by learning to swim. He hired an instructor and with complete focus and determination, he succeeded in learning to swim.
Q14. What did Douglas experience as he went down to the bottom of the pool for the first time?
Ans. The movement towards the bottom of the pool after being tossed in it by a big boy was gradual as he was in the deep side. He felt nine feet to be ninety. His lungs were ready to burst before he touched the bottom. He did not lose his presence of mind and tried to make a great jump upwards.
Q15. What two things did Douglas dislike to do? Which one did he have to do and why?
Ans. Douglas was very thin and hated to show his skinny legs. He was also scared of going into the pool alone. So he sat by the poolside and waited for others to come.
Q16. ‘On the way down I planned’, remarks Douglas. What plan had he devised and how far did it succeed?
Ans. After being tossed into the deep side of the pool, Douglas planned to save himself from being drowned. He decided to spring back to the surface like a cork after touching the bottom. Then he would lie flat on it, paddle to the edge and save himself. His plan did not succeed. He tried to come up three times by putting his plan to action, but he could not do so and swallowed a lot of water instead.
Q17. In what connection does Douglas mention ‘a big bruiser of a boy’?
Ans. Douglas talks about the boy who tossed him into the deep end of the Y.M.C.A pool. This boy was about eighteen, he had a good physique and ‘was a big bruiser’ according to Douglas. This boy, after Douglas almost drowned, exclaimed that he was only fooling.
Q18. How did Douglas initially feel when he went to the Y.M.C.A pool? What made him feel comfortable?
Ans. As Douglas started going to the Y.M.C.A pool to learn how to swim. His childhood fears and memories of the unpleasant experience were revived. He gradually regained some confidence and started paddling with the help of water wings. He watched other boys and copied their style. Slowly he started feeling more comfortable.
Q19. Give two character traits of Douglas that enabled him to overcome his fear of water.
Ans. Douglas had a strong-will and steadfastness of purpose. It is with the help of these two traits, i.e. his determination and fixity of purpose that he was able to conquer terror and learn swimming.
Q20. What were the thoughts that came to Douglas’s mind when he was going towards the bottom of the pool for the third time?
Ans. When Douglas went down the third time, his effort ceased. He relaxed and his legs felt limp. He felt there was nothing to be afraid of. It was nice and he felt drowsy, ready to sleep, too tired to jump. He felt he was floating and the tender arms of his mother were carrying him gently and putting him to sleep.
Q21. When did Douglas decide to learn swimming? What were the options available to him?
Ans. Douglas decided to learn swimming when he was ten or eleven years old. The options available to him were the Yakima River and the YMCA pool. The Yakima River was dangerous and many had drowned in it. So he closes the YMCA pool.
Q22. Why does Douglas recount a childhood experience of terror and his overcoming it?
Ans. Douglas suffered a handicap. He could not go for boating, swimming, canoeing and fishing. His willpower and determination made him overcome it. He realised that there is the terror that fear produces. In death there is peace. He had experienced both the sensation of dying and the terror that fear of it can produce. So the will to live somehow grew in intensity. He felt a release when he overcame his fear.
Q21. What two things did Douglas dislike to do?
Ans. Douglas hated to walk naked into the pool and show his very thin legs. Secondly, he was afraid of going into the pool alone. He would sit on the side of the pool and wait for others.
Q22. What shocking experience did Douglas have at YMCA pool?
Ans. At the age of ten or eleven, William O. Douglas decided to learn and swim at the YMCA pool because it was only two or three feet deep at the shallow end. He had an aversion to the water but he felt comfortable when he paddled with his new water wings in the water. One day he went to the pool when no one else was there. He was waiting for others to come. Then there came a big bruiser of a boy who picked Douglas and ducked him into the deep end. He landed in a sitting position, swallowed water and went at once to the bottom. Though he was saved, his fear of water intensified after this misadventure.
Q23. Why did Douglas fail to come to the surface of the pool as he hoped to?
Ans. When Douglas was thrown into the pool by a muscular boy, he landed in a sitting position, swallowed water and touched the bottom. He was frightened but he had not lost his wit. He thought of a strategy to come up to the surface by making a big jump when his feet touched the bottom. But his lungs were about to burst. He thought to spring back to the surface like a cock but he moved slowly. He grew panicky and saw water everywhere. He reached up as if to catch a rope with his hands but he could not clutch water and was paralysed.
Q24. How did Douglas’ introduction to YMCA pool revive his childhood fear of water?
Ans. At the age of ten or eleven, William O. Douglas decided to learn and swim at the Y.M.C.A pool because it was only two or three feet deep at the shallow end. He had an aversion to the water but he felt comfortable when he paddled with his new water wings in the water. One day he went to the pool when no one else was there. He was waiting for others to come. Then there came a big bruiser who picked Douglas and ducked him into the deep land. He landed in a sitting position, swallowed water and went at once to the bottom. This misadventure revived his childhood fear of water.
25. When Douglas realised that he was sinking, how did he plan to save himself?
Ans. When Douglas was thrown into the deep water of the pool, he was terrified. He knew that going to drown as he didn’t know to swim. So he thought of a strategy to save himself. He decided that as his feet hit the bottom of the pool, he would make a big jump and come to the surface. Then he would swim to the edge of the pool.
26. How did Douglas’ misadventure at the YMCA pool affect his later life?
Ans. Douglas’ misadventure at the YMCA pool developed an aversion of water in him. He suffered from, hydrophobia and could not swim. As a result, he was devoid of pleasures of swimming, rafting, fishing, canoeing and other water sports. This made him feel incomplete.
27. What factors led Douglas to decide in favour of Y.M.C.A. pool?
Ans. When Douglas was three years old, he was swept over by sea waves at the California beach. Since then he developed an aversion to water. But he wanted to learn to swim. So he decided to learn to swim in a safer place. The Y.M.C.A. pool was the safest pool with two or three feet deep at the shallow end and nine feet at the deep side. It was very safe even for the beginners. Thus Douglas decided to learn to swim at the Y.M.C.A. pool.
28. Why did Douglas go to Lake Wentworth in New Hampshire? How did he make his terror flee?
How did Douglas make sure that he conquered the old terror?
Ans. After getting training from the instructor, Douglas, in pursuit of complete elimination of the fear of water, decided to go to various water bodies. Finally, he decided to go to go to Lake Wentworth to test himself for fear. He swam there without fear, which made his confidant believe that he had chased away all residual fears and terrors.
29. How did William Douglas’ aversion to water begin?
Which two incidents in Douglas’ early life made him scared of water?
Ans. Douglas had a very bad experience at the age of three or four years. His father took him to the beach in California and there he was knocked down by huge waves and was almost buried under water. This left a scary impact on his mind. Second, when he was ten or eleven years old, a bruiser threw him into the Y.M.C.A. pool. This time he narrowly escaped death. He was saved from getting drowned but an aversion to water overpowered him. As a result, he became scared of water and couldn’t enjoy swimming, canoeing, fishing or any other water sport.
30. How did Douglas’s experience at the YMCA pool affect him?
How did the incident at the YMCA pool affect Douglas later in life?
Ans. This incident spoiled the confidence of Douglas. He became hydrophobic and always avoided water. The moment he entered the water, his limbs would become paralysed and a terror would grab him. This fear ruined his fishing trips. He could not enjoy any water sports like canoeing, fishing, swimming, etc. due to this fear of water.
31. How did Douglas remove his residual doubts about his fear of water?
“The instructor was finished. But I was not finished.” What does this refer to? Explain briefly.
Ans. The instructor worked with Douglas for seven months through rigorous training, the instructor made him get rid of his fear of water. But still some vestiges of fear used to haunt Douglas whenever he was alone in the water. So he decided to go the various water bodies to overcome his fear of water and become confident.
32. What was Douglas’ initial reaction on being thrown into the pool?
Ans. When Douglas was thrown into the pool, he was frightened. He knew that he was going to drown as he didn’t know to swim. But even then he was not out of his wits. On his way down the pool, he planned that when he hit the bottom, he would make a big jump, come to the surface, lie flat on it and paddle to the edge of the pool.
33. What sort of terror seized Douglas as he went down the water for a second time? How could he feel that he was still alive?
Ans. When Douglas went down for a second time, panic seized him. His lungs ached, his head throbbed and he was terrified. He was shrieking and was paralysed under water. But he could realise that he was alive as he shook and trembled with fright. He didn’t give up and tried for a third time to save himself.
34. What was the immediate effect of Douglas’ experience of nearly drowning in the pool? And what was the long-term effect?
Ans. The immediate effect was both physical and mental. He was sick and could not eat that night and was weak at the knees. It took him many days to recover. The long-term effect was that he developed hydrophobia, i.e. fear of water, and, as a result, he dreaded going near water to enjoy any water sport and fishing.
35. What happened to Douglas when he failed in his attempt to come onto the surface of the water a third time?
Ans. When Douglas was thrown into the pool, he tried his level best to save himself. He planned a strategy to come onto the surface of the water. He tried twice but failed. As Douglas went down for the third time, he sucked water as he tried to breathe air. Then all his efforts stopped. He had a blackout. Everything became quiet and calm.
36. Why did Douglas want to overcome his fear of water?
Ans. Douglas wanted to overcome his fear of water because this fear had become his handicap. The moment he entered the water, his limbs would become paralysed and terror would grab him. This fear ruined all his fishing trips. He could not do canoeing, boating and swimming. So in order to enjoy his life completely, he decided to overcome his fear of water.
37. Why couldn’t Douglas come up in his first attempt?
Ans. Douglas couldn’t come up in his first attempt, though he tried his best. His strategy didn’t work. His strategy was that when his feet hit the bottom, he would make a big jump, come onto the surface, lie flat on it and paddle to the edge. But by the time he reached the bottom, he felt as if his lungs were about to burst and he became helpless.
38. How did Douglas get rid of all the residual fear of water that he had?
Ans. The instructor had built as swimmer out of Douglas. But still same vestiges of fear used to haunt S whenever he was alone in the water. In order to get rid of all the residual fear, Douglas swam across various water bodies. He went up to the Tieton to Conrad Meadows, up the Conrad Creek ‘Bail to Meade Glacier and, finally, camped at Warm Lake.
39. Explain how Douglas felt when he was thrown into the pool. What plan did he make to come to the surface?
Ans. When Douglas was thrown into the pool, he got frightened and a sense of panic gripped him. But still was not out of his wits. He thought of a strategy to save himself. He decided that as his feet hit the bottom of the pool, he would make a big jump and come to the surface. He would lie flat on it and paddle to the edge of the pool.