Deep Water Summary Questions Answers

Deep Water: Summary Questions Answers

Deep Water is an autobiographical story by William Douglas, in which he tells his childhood fear of huge waves of sea and water and how he ultimately becomes successful in overcoming this fear. 

Introduction: Deep Water Summary 

The story “Deep Water” has been taken from the author, William Douglas’s autobiography Of Men and Mountains”. In this story, the author shares his fear of water and how he succeeded to conquer it by his strong willpower. 

The author tells that he went to the beach in California at the age of three with his father. But he got scared by the mighty huge waves which swept over him and it instilled a deep rooted fear in his subconscious mind. But after a few years later, he realized that it was a baseless fear. Thus, he was successful to overcome his fear and finally conquered it. 

Deep Water Summary Class 12:

Overcoming Childhood Fears: 

The author could not get rid of the unpleasant memories of his experience with his father on a beach in California when he was three or four years old. The waves had knocked him down and he was terrorised by the overpowering waves. He could not get over that initial childhood fear of water and the visit to the YMCA pool revived those memories. 

The Bruising Experience: 

Still, Douglas mustered courage and entered the pool. He was just beginning to feel at ease in water when, one day, a big bully of a boy tossed him into the deep end. He sank to the bottom and tried to surf up with all his strength, but saw only water all around. He grew panicky and, thus seized by terror, felt paralyzed.

All his attempts to bounce back to the surface only left him stiff and rigid. He ultimately gave up the third time and resigned to the engulfing water. Somehow, he was rescued, but the fear haunted him and made him wobbly in the knees. 

The Determination to Overcome Fear: 

The misadventure in the YMCA pool became his handicap. The fear of water stayed with him for years. But Douglas was determined to overcome it by engaging an instructor to teach him how to swim. 

Piece by Piece the Swimmer is Built: Douglas persevered with courage and engaged an instructor. It took him three months to learn to relax and to exhale and inhale in water, and to command his legs. He could finally dive off, crawl, stroke, and swim up and down. Though, deep somewhere, the fear would return, he learnt to push it aside and swim on. Eventually, he conquered his childhood fear. 

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The Meaningful Experience: 

The drowning experience in the YMCA pool made him realise there was terror only in fear of death. But, in death, there was peace like the author had experienced when he had resigned to the engulfing water. He understood the significance of Roosevelt’s words – one must only be afraid of fear itself. Once fear is overcome it is easy to feel released and go on. 

Deep Water Long Questions Answers:

1. What important lesson helped Douglas overcome his fear of water? 

Ans: Douglas had some childhood fear of water and, when he tried to get over it, he was terrorised further by yet another misadventure. A bully tossed him in the deep water when he was still trying to get over his fear of water. He had struggled hard to surf up, but was almost drowned.

However, the misadventure had also given him a valuable experience. When he had given up completely and accepted death, he had found peace. He learnt the valuable lesson that ‘All we have to fear is fear itself.’ If we act with courage, fear is conquered. It is basically the fear of death that produces terror. He realised that once the fear of death is overcome there is peace. The lesson had made him persevere and, finally learn to swim. 

2. “Deep Water” is a story of about the conquest of fear – Discuss. 

Ans: The story “Deep Water” is mainly about how William Douglas overcame his fear of the water and learned to swim. He uses this autobiographical part to discuss fear, the terror it creates and the conquest of fear. He describes his childhood misadventures in water and the deep-rooted fears. Just when he was getting to feel at ease in water, he had another terrible drowning experience which terrorised him all the more. However, he did not give up. Rather, he persevered to overcome his fear and even engaged an instructor to learn to swim. 

In the story, he shares the important lesson that helped him – ‘All we have to fear is fear itself.’ If we act with courage, fear is conquered. It is basically the fear of death that produces terror. He had himself experienced that once the fear of death is overcome there is peace. This valuable lesson had made him persevere and finally learn to swim. 

3. What were the various feelings and fears that Douglas underwent when he was drowning in the YMCA pool? 

Ans: Douglas had still not overcome his childhood fear when he was flung into the pool suddenly by a bully. He was sinking and felt his lungs burst. He tried to spring up and came up slowly. He tried to scream, but felt suffocated. 

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Fear paralysed him and he was once again going down a second time. He was stiff and rigid, yet he reasoned out a strategy. He thought he would try to bounce back once he touched the bottom. He tried, but it did not work. He was in panic and his legs felt heavy, pulling him down. 

Ultimately, Douglas gave up and resigned to fate. He ended all struggle and abandoned all fear. 

Once he had done that, it was a different experience. He found peace and was relaxed. It was fear that had caused panic and, once fear was overcome, he drifted into a state of unconsciousness. 

Deep Water Short Questions Answers:

1. What is the misadventure that Douglas speaks about? 

Ans: Douglas speaks about the misadventure at the YMCA pool when a big bully had tossed him into the deep end and he had almost drowned. The mishap had happened just when he was overcoming his childhood fear of water and started getting comfortable in water. 

2. What were the series of emotions and fears that Douglas had experienced when he was thrown into the pool? 

Ans: Douglas had been thrown into the pool by a big bully when he had not even overcome his childhood fear of water. At first, he was frightened, though not out of his wits, and made plans to bounce back by making a spring upwards the moment he would hit the bottom. He tried but panic seized him when that did not work and he was sinking again. He was paralyzed and rigid. But once, he had overcome the fear of death, he was relaxed and felt peace. There was no more terror, no panic, only oblivion. 

3. How did his experience affect him? 

Ans: The experience became his handicap and the childhood fear of water stayed with him for a long time. The unpleasant memory haunted him and made him wobbly in the knees and sick. He missed out on all the water sports. 

4. Why was Douglas determined to get over his fear of water? 

Ans: Douglas was determined to get over his fear of water because the haunting fear of water ruined his fun at the fishing trips and deprived him of the joy of canoeing, boating or swimming. 

5. How did the instructor ‘build a swimmer’ out of Douglas? 

Ans: Step by step, the instructor built a swimmer out of Douglas. Though it took him three months, he taught him to put his face under water and exhale and to raise his nose and inhale. He then helped him learn to relax in water and kick with his legs and command them. The instructor gave him the confidence to dive, crawl, stroke and swim. 

6. How did Douglas make sure that he conquered the old terror? 

Ans: Douglas dived into Lake Wentworth and swam two miles across the Lake. When he was in the middle of the lake, he put his face under water. On seeing only water all around, he felt the old fear return, but he laughed and pushed it aside, and swam on. 

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