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Deep Water Long Question
Q1. How did the swimming instructor ‘build a swimmer’ out of Douglas?
Ans. William Douglas had a most frightening and nightmarish experience at the Y.M.C.A pool when a boy of eighteen had tossed him into the pool and he had had a near brush with death. The terror that he experienced and the resulting fear of water prevented him from enjoying fishing, canoeing, swimming etc. with his friends. The fear became so deep-rooted that Douglas then decided to overcome it.
The first step he took was to get an instructor. The instructor made him swim five days a week and very patiently taught him how to exhale underwater and inhale above water. He made him practise very hard five days a week, an hour each day. His safety was ensured when the instructor put a belt around him, with a hook and a rope attached to it. An overhead cable had a pulley in it and the rope going over it. The instructor would hold the rope while Douglas swam from one end of the pool to the other. In about six months, and with a lot of hard work and determination, Douglas was able to perfect the art of swimming. His instructor had built a swimmer out of him, bit by bit.
Q2. A big boy threw Douglas into the swimming pool. How did this experience affect Douglas?
Ans. William Douglas had decided to overcome his childhood fear of water and joined the Y.M.C.A swimming pool. He had gradually gathered confidence and was trying to learn swimming by using water wings and aping other boys. Just when he was beginning to feel at ease, the misadventure happened.
A big boy, about eighteen years of age, saw Douglas sitting by the poolside and tossed him into the deep side of the pool. Douglas was frightened but did not lose his wits. He planned the strategy of giving himself a thrust just as he would touch the bottom and then move up to the surface of the water and float towards the edge. His plans failed and thrice he went up and down in the water, being unable to reach the surface and breathe. He had almost given up when he was rescued. The boy admitted that he was only ‘fooling’.
Douglas had to pay a heavy price for this ‘joke’. He was shocked and trembled when he recovered from this incident. But worse was the fact that his fear turned into terror and a sort of phobia. He could not get into the Cascades or bathe in the Warm Lake. He could not even go for fishing, canoeing, boating or swimming. His fear of water deprived him of all the joys that he wanted to experience in the water. He tried hard to overcome his fear but psychologically, the fear had a strong hold on him.
3. How did Douglas try to save himself from drowning in the YMCA pool?
Ans. When Douglas was flung into the swimming pool by a big boy, he became fearful. But he thought rationally and planned a strategy to save himself self f from drowning. He decided that as he hit the bottom of the pool, he would take a big jump to come to the surface of the water. Then he would lie flat and paddle to the edge of the pool. But unfortunately, it took so long for him to reach the bottom and felt as if his lungs would burst. Even then he tried to take a big jump using all his might but in vain. Once again, he tried the same technique but his action did not produce the desired result. Finally, panic seized him. His limbs got numb and he fainted.
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4. How did Douglas develop an aversion to water?
‘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?
Ans. When Douglas was three or four years old, his father took him to the beach in California. The waves of the sea knocked him down and almost buried him in water. He was terrified and unable to breathe. Since then he developed an aversion to water. Later on, when he was ten or eleven years old, one day while sitting on the side of the swimming pool, he was flung into the pool by a bruiser.
It was really an encounter with death. He underwent a terrible experience in his attempt to save himself. He almost drowned in water, which suffocated him, an abject fear immobilised his limbs. Though he was rescued, he became hydrophobic. He could not swim and do any other water activities like canoeing, fishing, boating, rafting, etc. Every time he came in contact with water, pangs of panic would paralyse him. He spent many years of his life under this fear and then finally decided to conquer it.
5. Douglas fully realised 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?
Ans. Fear is a paralysing emotion. It restricts all kinds of efforts, creativity and all kinds of ventures that one thinks of achieving. But with the help of grit, determination and hard work, fear can be conquered. William Douglas proved this. He chased away his fear of water by first psychoanalysing it and then treating it in a systematic manner. After his misadventure at YMCA pool, Douglas has developed hydrophobia. In spite of that, he hired a professional trainer and learnt swimming step by step. Due to his strong willpower and rigorous practice, Douglas was made a swimmer by the trainer. But even now Douglas was not satisfied and set a higher benchmark for his perfection and devised various tests and situations to defeat the fear in all forms. Thus, ultimately, Douglas was able to overpower his fear of water completely and became an expert swimmer.
6. Desire, determination and diligence lead to success. Explain the value of these qualities in the light of Douglas’ experience in Deep Water.
Courage and optimism are attributes that can make the impossible possible. Elucidate with reference to Deep Water.
Ans. It is only through courage, desire and determination that man has succeeded in making the impossible possible. The most appropriate example is William Douglas’ pursuit to overcome his fear of water. After the terrible experience of almost drowning at the Y.M.C.A. swimming pool, Douglas developed a fear of water. The moment he entered the water, pangs of panic paralysed his lumps. He spent many years of his life, under this fear. But finally, he decided to overcome this fear and succeeded in his attempts due to his relentless efforts and positive approach. He hired the services of an instructor, who after rigorous training and special technique, built a swimmer out of him. It took Douglas almost seven months to overcome this fear. But, finally, Douglas proved that it was courage, determination, desire, diligence and optimism that made him get rid of fear.
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7. ‘This handicap stayed with me as the years rolled by.’ Which handicap is being referred to and what are the events that made Douglas handicapped?
Ans. The handicap being referred to is the fear of water Douglas had developed due to some unfortunate incidents in his childhood. As a result, he could not enjoy water sports and swimming. When he was three or four years old, his father took him to the beach in California. Douglas was knocked down by the sea waves and was almost buried in water. He developed an aversion to water. Moreover, when he was ten or eleven years old, a bruiser flung him into a swimming pool. At that time he had a terrible experience. He was almost in the water, which suffocated him and the fear immobilised his limbs. However, he somehow escaped drowning. Since then he was scared of water and could not enjoy canoeing, swimming, rafting, fishing, etc. This became a handicap for him, as he was deprived of the joy of water sports and swimming.
8. But I was not finished.’ Describe how Douglas gained confidence as a swimmer after the instructor had left him.
Ans. Douglas was slowly made a swimmer by the instructor. He trained him to overcome his fear of water, swim, move his legs and inhale and exhale while swimming. In seven months, the instructor made a swimmer out of Douglas. But Douglas was not confident as yet. The vestiges of fear of water still haunted him. So he decided to swim in various pools and lakes to completely overcome his fear. He went to the Tieton to Conrad Meadows, up the Conrad Creek Trail, to Meade Glacier and finally swam in Warm Lake. After this, Douglas was confident that he had completely overcome his fear of water.
9. Do you think that ‘Deep Water’ is an appropriate title? Give reasons in support of your answer.
Ans. ‘Deep Water’ is the most appropriate title for the chapter. Literally ‘deep water’ means ‘in trouble’. The author suffered from hydrophobia and was really afraid of going deep in water. The misadventure at the YMCA pool made his efforts more difficult when a big bruiser threw him into deep water. The author underwent a series of emotions under water. He made a plan to come up to the surface of the water but failed. He was somehow rescued and saved. In order to overcome his fear, he hired an instructor and mastered each step of swimming. His grit, determination and rigorous practice enabled him to be an expert swimmer. The title signifies that the phobia of water was very deep rooted and had to be pulled out with great difficulty.