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Deep water Summary in English by William Douglas

Deep water by William Douglas About the Author

William O. Douglas (16 October 1898 – 19 January 1980) was born in Maine, Minnesota and was raised in Yakima, Washington. He was an American jurist and politician. He served as an Associate Justice of the Supreme Court of the United States. He was nominated at the age of 40 by President Franklin D. Roosevelt and was the youngest justice appointed to the court and served for the longest term in the history of the Supreme Court.

Author Name William O. Douglas
Born 16 October 1898, Minnesota, United States
Died 19 January 1980, Bethesda, Maryland, United States
Books Of Men and Mountains
Party Democratic Party
Nationality American, Canadian
Deep Water Summary by William Douglas
Deep water Summary by William Douglas

Deep water Introduction to the Chapter

‘Deep Water1 is our autobiographical account of the author’s childhood misadventure at the swimming pool. In this chapter, he tells us how as a young boy, he was nearly drowned in the swimming pool. Thereafter, he feared water so much that he avoided it whenever he could, but on the other hand, he was also determined to get rid of his fear. Slowly and steadily, he overcame the fear of water in the end.

Deep water Theme

The chapter, ‘Deep Water’ is an essay written by William Douglas, in which he shares about his fear of water and how he overcomes the fear with courage, hardwork, determination, will power, perseverance and a strong desire to learn swimming. The theme covered in this chapter is ‘fear’ and his ‘triumph’ over it. It conveys the idea that fear is a great obstacle to our happiness and progress. It is a negative feeling which we can overcome by sheer will power and optimism.

Deep water Summary in English

The excerpt, ‘Deep Water’ written by William Douglas is taken from his book ‘Of Men and Mountains’.

‘Deep Water’ talks about his fear of water, and thereafter, how he finally overcame it. His first such experience was on the sea beach. He was with his father when a powerful wave swept over him. Though the wave receded, it left Douglas petrified. He decided to learn swimming. For this, he chose the Y.M.C.A. pool. It was safe. Its depth at the shallow end was only two feet. However, the deep end was nine feet deep.

One day, a strong young man picked Douglas and tossed him into the deep side of the pool. Douglas sank to the bottom. However, he jumped and came up gradually. Fear had seized him and he was nearly drowned. His efforts to save himself went in vain. No one came to’ his rescue. He tried to breathe but swallowed water. Though death was at his doorstep, he experienced complete freedom from the fear of death. He lay in complete peace. There was no sensation or fear of death. But someone finally saved him. This horrific experience, however, shook Douglas badly. Its memories haunted him so much that he felt sick. The sight of water rattled him so much that he could not even go canoeing or fishing.

Finally, he made up his mind to overcome his fear. He found an instructor who trained him as a swimmer bit by bit. He was able to overcome his fear completely and swim for miles.

The experience of fear and death; and its conquest made him live intensely. Conquering fear made him realise the true value of life and this helped him enjoy every moment of his living. He finally learnt to live life to the fullest.

Deep water Main Characters in the Chapter

William Douglas

William Douglas, the narrator of the story, was a positive thinker. He feared water since childhood. So he decided to overcome his fear. He was a determined man with a very strong will power. It was his determination and will power that helped him get rid of his fear. He was a strategic thinker also. When he was unexpectedly pushed into the water, he quickly planned his strategy to save his life.

Deep water Summary Reference-to-Context Questions

Read the extracts given below and answer the questions that follow.

1. From the beginning, however, I had an aversion to the water when I was in it. This started when I was three or four years old and father took me to the beach in California. He and I stood together in the surf. I hung on to him, yet the waves knocked me down and swept over me. I was buried in water. My breath was gone. I was frightened. Father laughed, but there was terror in my heart at the overpowering force of the waves.

a. Who is ‘I’ here?
Here, T is the author, William Douglas.

b. When did the aversion to water start?
Aversion to water started at the age of three or four.

c. Where did his father take him?
His father took him to the beach of California.

d. Why was the author frightened?
The author was frightened because he was swept over by the waves while surfing with his father.

2. With that he picked me up and tossed me into the deep end. I landed in a sitting position, swallowed water, and went at once to the bottom. I was frightened, but not yet frightened out of my wits. On the way down I planned: When my feet hit the bottom, I would make a big jump, come to the surface, lie flat on it, and paddle to the edge of the pool.

a. Who is ‘he’ here?
Here, ‘he’ is a boy of eighteen years old.

b. In which position did he land?
He landed in a sitting position and went once to the bottom.

c. Was he frightened?
He was frightened but was not out of his wits.

d. What did he plan?
He planned that when his feet would 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.

3. The next I remember I was lying on my stomach beside the pool, vomiting. The chap that threw me in was saying, “But I was only fooling.” Someone said, “The kid nearly died. Be all right now. Let’s carry him to the locker room.” Several hours later, I walked home. I was weak and trembling. I shook and cried when I lay on my bed.

a. Where was the author lying?
The author was lying on his stomach beside the pool.

b. Why was the author vomiting?
The author was vomiting because he got drowned inside the pool.

c. Where was the author carried to?
The author was carried to the locker room.

d. Describe the condition of the author.
The author walked home alone after few hours. He was weak and trembling with fear.

4. Next he held me at the side of the pool and had me kick with my legs. For weeks I did just that. At first my legs refused to work. But they gradually relaxed; and finally I could command them. Thus, piece by piece, he built a swimmer. And when he had perfected each piece, he put them together into an integrated whole. In April he said, “Now you can swim. Dive off and swim the length of the pool, crawl stroke.”

a. What did the author do for weeks?
For weeks, the author’s instructor held him at the side of the pool and had him kick with his legs.

b. Was he able to do?
Initially, his legs refused to work, but gradually, they relaxed and later he could easily command them.

c. Who built a swimmer?
The instructor built a swimmer out of the author, piece by piece.

d. When did he put together into an integrated whole?
When the instructor perfected each piece of the author, he put them together into an integrated whole.