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Deep Water Summary
“Deep Waters,” tells us how the writer overcame his fear of water and learned swimming. He had developed a fear of water in childhood. When he was three or four years old the writer had gone to California with his father. One day on the beach, the waves knocked him down and swept over him. He was terrified but his father laughed as he knew that it was not harmful. The experience bred a permanent fear of water. Another incident, more serious, increased his terror.
The writer was trying to learn swimming in the Y.M.C.A. Swimming pool. One day while he was waiting for other boys, a burly boy of eighteen suddenly played a dangerous prank and pushed him into the water. The writer was terribly frightened. He went down nine feet into the water. His lungs were full of the unreleased air. When he reached the bottom, he jumped upward with all his strength. He came up, but very slowly. He tried to catch hold of something like a rope but grasped only at the water.
He tried to shout but no sound came out. He went down again. His lungs ached, head throbbed and he grew dizzy. He felt paralyzed with fear. Only the movement of his heart told him that he was alive. Again he tried to jump up. But this time his limbs would not move at all. He looked for ropes, ladders and water wings but all in vain. Then he went down again, the third time; this time all efforts and fear ceased.
He was moving towards a peaceful death. The writer was at peace. When he came to consciousness, he found himself lying on the side of the pool with the other boy nearby and the coach remonstrating with him for nearly causing him to drown. As a result of the near-death experience, the terror that he had experienced in the pool never left him. It haunted him for years. It spoilt many of his expeditions of canoeing, swimming and fishing. It spoilt his pleasures in Maine Lakes, New Hampshire, Deschutes, Columbia and Bumping Lake, etc.
But the writer was determined to conquer his fear. He took the help of a swimming instructor to learn swimming. The instructor taught him various actions necessary in swimming. He trained Douglas to put his face under water and exhale, and inhale raising it above water. He practised this for several weeks. He had to kick with his legs for a few weeks on the side of the pool.
At last, he combined all these actions and made Douglas swim. He thus learned swimming but the terror continued. Whenever he was in the water, his terror returned and the author tried to face the new challenge. When the terror came, he confronted it by asking it sarcastically, what it could really do to him? He plunged into the water as if to de& the fear. Once he took courage the terror vanished. He faced the challenge deliberately in various places like the Warm Lake. He conquered his fear of water at last.
Deep Water Summary (2) :
`Deep Water’ is an excerpt from Of Men and Mountains wrote by William 0. Douglas. It is an autobiographical description of how the author develops the fear of water and, thereafter, how he finally overcame it. He narrates that his aversion to water started when he was three or four years old and his father took him to the beach in California. There he was knocked down by the waves and was almost buried down in water. When he was ten or eleven years old, he joined the Y.M.C.A. pool to learn to swim.
One day, when he was sitting on the side of the pool all alone, a big bruiser of a boy picked him up and threw him into the deep end of the pool. He went at once at the bottom. He was frightened but thought of a strategy to save his life. He decided to hit the bottom and take a big jump to come to the surface and lie flat on it and then paddle to the edge of the pool. But it seemed his way down was very long.
Before he touched the bottom, his lungs were about to burst. Though he tried to take a big jump, he came up very slowly. As a result, he went down for a second time. His lungs ached and he started feeling dig’. He jumped, his feet touched the bottom but it made no difference. When he went down for the third time, he sucked a lot of water while trying to breathe air. Then all his efforts stopped and he had a blackout. He was completely overpowered by fear and eventually fainted.
After this incident, his fear of water worsened and he did not go swimming or fishing or to any other water sport for many years. Finally one October, he decided to overcome his fear of water. He hired an instructor to learn to swim. He started practising swimming. Bit by bit he shed part of the panic that seized him. The instructor tied a belt around his waist and connected it to a pulley with a rope. The author practised day after day till he began to get back his confidence. He was able to swim the length of the pool on his ova Tough the instructor was satisfied, the author felt that on many occasions his old fear of water would return’ So he continued relentlessly to swim in different water bodies till he was confident that he had overcome.
Finally, to test if he had lost the last vestiges of fear, Douglas went up to the Tieton to Conrad Meadows, up the Conrad Creek Trail to Meade Glacier, and camped in the high meadow by the side of Warm Lake. As he had experienced the terror of death, his will to live grew most intensely. This made him fearless and Confident.