Friday, September 18, 2020

Class 12 - Kaleidoscope - Non Fiction - 03 Film Making


Q1. What childhood memories does the author recollect that had a bearing on his later involvement with filmmaking?

ANSWER: The author had a childhood which made him aware of the two main types of characters in life. The good and the villainous. He came to know about these from his father who prepared sermons. From this knowledge, he easily connected to the stories like. Red Riding Hood and the Wolf, and all the others. And the wolf was the Devil, without horns but with a tail and a gaping red mouth. From imagining these bits to imagining church bells and hearing a piano from a picture at his grandmother's house at Uppsala everything was a part of his creative association with his childhood memories.

Q2. What connection does the author draw between filmmaking and conjuring?

ANSWER: The author says that film making and Conjuring are of the same dice because both require deception of the human eye. Most of the times the viewer is caught between the frames of a movie. Cause whatever emotion or situation is shown in it is false or enacted. But with the help of certain filming instruments, the film seems to be a real-life event and people express real emotions while watching it.

Q3. What is the nature of the first impressions that form the basis for a film?

ANSWER: A film is a finished product. The basis of a film is laid on split-second impressions that disappear as soon as they come. This means that the birth of a film can be a from anything as small as a note of music to an actor who seems to have been born for a role yet to be played. It isn't the story that takes the shape of a film. It is an idea, a feeling, a reflex of a second that draws into a film if it is followed beautifully.

Q4. Which art form is film-making closest to? What is the reason for the similarity?

ANSWER: Filmmaking is the closest to music according to the author. This is because both film and music are based on a certain rhythm. It is the inhalation and exhalation in a continuous sequence of recreation by directly affecting the emotions rather than affecting the intellect.

Q5. Quite often a film made out of a book is not very successful. Discuss.

ANSWER: There is a wide range of difference between films and literary work. Every literary work has an irrational aspect which forms the basis of its existence. This irrational dimension is the inherent seed of every literary work and makes a reader connect to it. The bitter part is that most of the times this aspect of literary creation is not physical. It is an emotion that can be struck through innumerable written lines but can never be put into enactment and converted into films.

Even after knowing this, when a literary work is forcefully converted into a movie, the nucleus or the purpose of the movie is in mist. Or the adjustments done to put the novel in terms of a film breaks the backbone of the movie and takes the magic element away from it.

Q6. What, according to Bergman, is the relationship between a film-maker and his audience?

ANSWER: A filmmaker essentially makes the story come live and the audience gives reactions. This means that the audience is meant to evaluate what the director has put into action. It's like the relationship between a teacher and a student. The audience is meant to rate or react to the movies. The reaction is the main element of the movie.

Q7. What is the story of the Cathedral of Chartres and how does the author relate it to his profession?

ANSWER: The story of the Cathedral of Chartres begins when the cathedral was hit by lightning and burnt down to ashes. Soon thousands of people came from all points of the compass, like a giant procession of ants, and together they began to rebuild the cathedral on its old site. They worked until the building was completed—master builders, artists, labourers, clowns, noblemen, priests, burghers. But they all remained anonymous and no one knows to this day who built the cathedral of Chartres.

The author says that in the old times the craftsmanship brought in glory. There was nothing like self-identity back in those days. It was all done for god. And the author wants to enjoy his own work. He wants to be satisfied with the quality of his work and enjoy his wok. That’s all he desires.

Q8. What are some of the flaws of the world of filmmaking today?

ANSWER: The world of filmmaking is dependent on learning from each other’s work and collaborating together. But today people have become so self-conscious that they do not want to share their ideas and the concept is that sharing will make the film vulnerable. Also, people are no longer polite and gentle. The expression has become very brutal. What was as easy as a play to the author once has now become a struggle. Failure, criticism, public indifference all hurt more today than yesterday. The brutality of the industry is undisguised.


Q1. Pick out examples from the text that show Bergman’s sensitivity to sensory impressions which have made him a great filmmaker.

ANSWER: There are many instances. But the most prominent ones are when he could imagine a whole live representation of the wall hanging and could imagine even the church bells ringing. He also could visualize the pigeons fly and was transported into a completely different world. It was a complete melodramatic scene created by Bergman in his fantasy of imagination.

The second instance is when he sees the cranes at Dalarna and left all work to watch the cranes fly.

Q2. What do you understand of the complexity of the little invisible steps that go into the making of a good film?

ANSWER: The first step is to get an idea of the theme. Once the theme is clear from split-second impressions and the topic is absolutely strong enough to take shape of reality, The next step is the storyline. Montage, rhythm and the relation of one picture to another—the vital third dimension without which the film is merely a dead product from a factory. The next important thing is shooting the movie helping each other work in the same direction to make the film a success. So the steps of filmmaking are idea formulation, storyline, scripting and shooting.

Q3. What are some of the risks that film-making involves?

ANSWER: Film-making involves storytelling through a sequence of pictures. It is absolutely important that the public identifies with the theme of the movie. If the theme is completely alien, then the message that the film wants to deliver will not be understood. Another thing is choosing the idea. If the theme of the movie is different from the current demand of the public, it will be difficult for the producer to impress the viewers.

Q4. What misgivings does Bergman have about the contemporary film industry?

ANSWER: The contemporary film industry doesn’t want to understand the fact that everyone learns from the other and that this is a continuous process. The current generation of filmmakers has the mentality of secluding oneself and ideas from everyone else. They take it to be cheating or creating plagiarised content. But in reality, it is a fact that we are all a community of people and we have to learn from each other. Learning from one another is the ultimate source of knowledge for us.

Q5. Compare Bergman’s views about making films out of books with that of Umberto Eco’s.

ANSWER: According to Bergman a novel cannot be put into a film completely. If done so, it becomes a complete injustice to the novel because the novel triggers the intellectual faculty of a person whereas the film triggers the emotion directly.

But according to Umberto Eco, the film takes over the popularity of a novel and it's only when the movie is made out of a novel that the novel reaches the epitome of its popularity. So the film indirectly helps the novel.


Q1. According to the author, split-second impressions form a ‘mental state, not an actual story, but one abounding in fertile associations and images’.
Compare this with Virginia Woolf’s experiment with the stream of consciousness technique in ‘The Mark on the Wall’.

ANSWER: Split Second Impressions is what Bergman associates with the beginning of the film that is a very vague but agreeable event which disappears as they come and leave behind a mood. He says that this is a mental state, not an actual story being a brightly coloured thread sticking out of the dark sack of unconsciousness. With the accumulation of all these threads, one can carefully weave a complete film but it requires patience and a pattern in accordance with these rhythms, obeying laws born out of and conditioned by his original stimulus can gain enough strength it could be made into a film. It requires proper analysis of the Impressions; Its rhythms, moods, atmosphere, tensions, sequences that give a perfect screenplay.

Whereas the Mark on the Wall Summary by Virginia Woolf is a first-person narrative recalling the past and specifics of an event. The narrator beautifully crafts his stream of consciousness into words that try to reflect and associate a series of event with a singularity of a mark on the wall. The process of thinking exhibits a spectrum of event related to the one being discussed and shows how vivid a mind could be.

Q2. Bergman talks about the various influences in his life including his parents and his religious upbringing. To what extent are an individual’s achievements dependent on the kind of influences he or she has had in life? Discuss.

ANSWER: An individual’s achievement is a mixed bag consisting of all his thoughts, his life experiences and his background. It shapes the way one perceives things around him and lays a path towards positivity and success. Bergman associates his motivation towards film and manipulating viewers emotions to the world of his childhood and his religious upbringing similarly one can definitely find pieces of their memory associate with every up and down of their lives. There is a substantial amount of evidence indicating that the way individuals are brought up has important implications on how they cope with their future, by serving as a framework for how they interpret success and the possibility of future achievements. Human behaviour is more closely related to environment and upbringing than education. Interpersonal skills and personality traits grow stronger with disciplined environments and many more examples could be easily related. Growing up and all other influential factors keep working in sync to help a person decide his both taken and untaken road that paves a path to his achievement depending on the role the person is playing. A person achievement depends closely on his personality and one could easily figure that personality is a pattern of thoughts, feelings and behaviours collected gradually over time and situation. So, one could easily map a person’s learnt behaviour to his life’s achievement. The environment that one entertains in his/her life collects the various modes of their problem solving, decision making and creative skills and help them in evolution in this brief period of time being on both positive and negative edges. Thus, with all these references and the statements of Bergman associating his childhood with his achievements one can safely assume the necessary association of an individual’s achievement with their incidents and influences bagged through their lives.


Q1. Autobiographical accounts make interesting reading when the author selects episodes that are connected to the pursuit of excellence. How does this apply to Ingmar Bergman’s narration of the details of film-making?

ANSWER: Autobiographical accounts do make interesting reading when the author selects episodes that are connected to the pursuit of excellence. In context with Ingmar Bergman’s narration of the details of film-making, one could easily find references to a various past event that draws readers attention on his hunger to perfection in filmmaking. He starts accounting the importance of childhood experiences and environment and how it moulds a person and paves his path to success. He describes the split-second Impressions that weave into an actual movie with hard work and giving importance to details that help him envisage a proper screenplay with appropriate dialogues. He shows the importance of working at the root level and also writing and says about the difference between film and literature. He finally lays the importance of people in one’s success in life. He describes the role of his parents and the values they inculcated in him. He urges taking advantages of setbacks to become stronger and thus shows how excellence in one’s career could be achieved.

Q2. Comment on the conversational tone of the narration. Compare this with the very informal style adopted by Umberto Eco in the interview.

ANSWER: People tend to prefer persons or textual materials where a conversational tone is used because when someone reads something written in a conversational tone, it tricks people’s brain to think that they are directly involved. As a result, a conversational tone is more effective for getting a message across–and getting that message to stick and this is what the narrator has utilised in this narration which leaves readers in a state of awe and motivation. They can relate well to the narrator’s story and can find pieces in them that can help them to reach their own goals. Whereas The informal style adopted by Umberto Eco in the interview is a series of questions with the person's answers and it's like reading them as a documentary of events and answers. It is casual and is appropriate when communicating with a large mass.

Thursday, September 17, 2020

Class 12 - Elective English - A Wedding in Brownsville by Isaac Bashevis Singer


Issac Bashevis Singer was a Polish – American writer who used to write in Yiddish language. He received a Nobel Prize in Literature in 1978.  This story basically points out the void or the emptiness that overpowers the protagonist of the story, that is, Dr.  Solomon Margolin, even after he manages to accomplish his goals and objectives. The story commences with the portrayal of marriage as a burden in the eyes of Dr.  Solomon. Dr. Solomon was basically a Jew who initially used to reside in Poland where his family was killed in the holocaust that was enforced by Hitler.  

(Holocaust here refers to the extermination of Jews by German Nazis in the rule of Hitler. This means that Jews were killed on a large scale by the Nazis under the supervision of Hitler). Dr.  Solomon ultimately escaped to America along with the other Jews who survived the holocaust. In America, Dr. Solomon had been appointed as the board member of a Jewish scholastic society and co-editor of an academic Jewish quarterly. However, the brutal treatment that was imposed on his family in Poland had an adverse impact on the mind of Dr.  Solomon, he seemed to have lost his faith in humanity and the fear of death often used to haunt him.  Also, Dr.  Solomon often used to keep thinking about his past memories, his first love, Raizel, who was a beautiful Jewish girl and the daughter of a Jewish watch – maker, Melekh. He also recalled that Raizel got married to someone else which disheartened him at that time but she and her entire family was later killed by Nazis. This thought further used to intensify his depressive tendencies.  Dr.  Solomon’s wife, Gretl, was also a German, but she was anti - Nazis. Dr.  Solomon used to treat rabbis, refugees and Jewish writers without charging any money from them and he also used to provide medicines and hospital beds to them in case of necessity. Dr.  Solomon and Gretl used to live a life of simplicity and modesty. Gretl used to manage all the household chores herself without ever thinking of appointing a maid or helper. Sometimes, Dr.  Solomon used to ponder about the transformation of his wife from a German blonde to a Jewish home – maker. Even after originally being a German, Gretl had begun to embrace Jewish culture and befriend Jewish women. This was primarily because one of Gretl’s brothers was killed by the Nazis, merely because he was a communist and he opposed the idea of exterminating (killing on a large scale ) the Jews. The story further begins to unfold. A Jewish wedding was about to happen in a town, that is, Brownsville and Dr.  Solomon had been invited to attend that wedding ceremony. The wedding ceremony was of Sylvia, daughter of Abraham Mekheles, an acquaintance of Dr.  Solomon. Abraham Mekheles was a Senciminer, that is, he too belonged to Sencimin (a small town in Poland) just like Dr.  Solomon. However, Dr.  Solomon was hesitant in attending that wedding ceremony because he was making attempts to distance himself from the Jewish community. This is because Dr.  Solomon had begun to feel that the Jews did not maintain the trueness of their culture after they had gone to America. Dr.  Solomon used to feel that the Jews were breaking their cultural legacy, for instance, Jewish men had started consuming alcohol in excess. This drove Dr.  Solomon away from his own community. Gretl noticed her husband’s aloofness from his own community. But since Dr.  Solomon occupied a prominent position in Jewish community, he finally decided to attend the wedding ceremony in Brownsville. He hired a taxi to reach Brownsville. Suddenly, the taxi in which Dr.  Solomon was going to Brownsville, stopped abruptly and Dr.  Solomon witnessed that an accident had taken place on that road. A man was being taken on a stretcher and Dr.  Solomon apparently seemed to recognize that person. Nevertheless, the driver again started driving the taxi and finally, Dr.  Solomon reached the wedding destination, that is, Brownsville. Upon reaching there, he discovered that the wedding venue was full of mirth and festivity, ladies were dancing around and people were getting drunk.  He came across Zissel, a person from his hometown, who narrated the old stories that described the brutal way in which the Jews were killed by the Nazis.  He described that the Jews were compelled (forced ) by the Nazis to dig their own graves and then those Jews were shot and buried in the graves that were dug by themselves. Many Jews were starved to death, burnt alive and many were transported to Auschwitz concentration camp in Poland which had over 40 extermination camps. Each camp was filled with poisonous gases in order to kill the Jews mercilessly. 

Dr.  Solomon felt suffocated when he recalled the animalistic ways in which the members of his community were killed and suddenly, he saw the face of a lady amidst the chaos of people. When he tried to get closer to that lady in order to recall who she was, that lady turned out to be his long – lost love, Raizel. He 

went ahead to confront Raizel and shockingly discovered that it was not a dream rather Raizel was really there at the wedding venue. The old romance between Dr.  Solomon and Raizel rekindled. Dr.  Solomon held the hand of Raizel and took her away from the crowd of people. Dr.  Solomon’s act of taking Raizel away from the crowd of people metaphorically depicts that Dr.  Solomon did not want to lose Raizel amidst the chaos of life all over again. A thought came to Dr.  Solomon that he was still single according to Jewish Law as he got married to Gretl in a civil ceremony.  Therefore, he took Raizel in a secluded place and expressed his desire to get married to her. He needed only a penny (currency ) in order to get married to her.  However, when he searched for his wallet in his breast pocket, he was surprised to discover that he had lost it. Moreover, suddenly it occurred to him that Raizel seemed much younger than the way she should have looked. Dr.  Solomon started feeling devoid of life, he was not able to feel the weight of his body and his body seemed to be deflated as if his body did not exist. This made Dr.  Solomon wonder whether the accident and the body laid on the stretcher that he witnessed on his way to Brownsville (on Eastern Parkway ) was his own accident and his own body. Dr.  Solomon was perplexed and wondered whether he was really alive or it was only his soul that was floating on Earth in order to seek his long – lost love. He also wondered whether Raizel was real or she was just a figment of imagination. The story ends on the note of this ambiguity and finally, Abraham Mekheles led his daughter, Sylvia, down the aisle for her wedding ceremony. 


  1. Impact Of Holocaust On The Psyche of The Survivors: One of the important themes of this short story is that the holocaust survivors often go through a psychological breakdown and are likely to live in a state of despair throughout their lives because the brutal memories of their past continue to haunt them forever.  For instance, in this story, the central character, that is, Dr.  Solomon was never able to recover from his sorrowful memories in which his family and his beloved, Raizel got slaughtered at the hands of the Nazis under the dictatorship of Hitler.

  2. Surrealism: Surrealism in literature basically refers to the presentation of a story in such a way that it starts resembling a dream. In this story, Issac has used ambiguity in order to present a fantastical possibility of the reunion of Dr. Solomon and his long – lost love, Raizel. He presented this possibility by creating two conditions in the minds of his readers : either Dr. Solomon died in the car accident at Eastern Park and his wandering soul reunited with the wandering soul of his beloved, Raizel OR Dr. Solomon was in a state of hallucination which made him imagine his reunion with Raizel amidst the chaos of life. Both these conditions are unrealistic, dream – like and fantastical and therefore, these conditions give a touch of surrealism to the story.

  3. The Unbreakable Chains of A Void That Can Never Be Filled: Issac has depicted the fact that there are some voids in the lives of human beings that can never be filled by anything or anyone. In this story, Dr. Solomon led a life hollowness and emptiness because of the loss of his family and his beloved during a holocaust. This made him miserable with the passage of time and he was never able to restore himself to a life of genuine bliss even after becoming a successful doctor and occupying a prominent position in the Jewish society. All his professional accomplishments and all the ranks that he achieved in the Jewish community ultimately proved worthless because they did not help him in getting rid of his deep – seated depression and his insurmountable (something that cannot be overcome) void.

  4. The Submergence or The Loss Of True Identity in a Foreign Place: Finally, Issac has pointed out to the fact that people often tend to lose their true identities when they migrate to a foreign place. For instance, in this story, Dr. Solomon drove himself away from his own Jewish community because Jews adapted themselves to the culture of America and developed habits like drinking and dancing in order to celebrate their happiness. These habits were condemned in Judaism and the inability of the Jewish community to retain the principles of their religion represent the loss of their true identity.



QUESTION 1. What do you understand of Dr. Margolin’s past? How does it affect his present life?

ANSWER: Dr. Margolin’s past was a mixture of recognition and grief. As a child, he was declared a prodigy. Everyone thought he would grow up to be a genius. But he also faced hardships. His entire family had been tortured, burned and gassed. He had lost his one true love, Raizel. All this shaped Dr. Margolin’s present state of mind. He had grown aloof from the Senciminers after the loss of his family. He suffered from hypochondria ad fear of death. The death of his family and his love in the reign of Hitler made him lose faith in humanity. However, on the other hand, he had a good career. He was a success in his profession. He had an office in West End Avenue and wealthy patients. He was highly respected by his colleagues and everyone else.

QUESTION 2. What was Dr. Margolin’s attitude towards his profession?

ANSWER: Dr. Margolin has always been loyal towards his profession. He had never broken the Hippocratic Oath and had always been honourable with his patients. He was an enormous success in his field and is highly respected. Although he has wealthy patients, he treated rabbis, refugees and Jewish writers without any charge, and even supplied them with medicines and a hospital bed, if necessary. However, Hitler’s reign and the brutal death of his family and his community made him despise the matrons who came to him for petty ills while millions faced horrible deaths.

QUESTION 3. What is Dr. Margolin’s view of the kind of life the American Jewish community leads?

ANSWER: The kind of life the American Jewish community led was not appreciated by Dr. Margolin. According to him, Jewish laws and customs were completely distorted. Those who had no regard for Jewishness wore skullcaps. He even found their celebrations irritating, the Anglicised Yiddish, the Yiddishised English, the ear-splitting music and unruly dances. He was ashamed whenever he took his wife to a wedding or a Bar Mitzvah.

QUESTION 4. What were the personality traits that endeared Dr. Margolin to others in his community?

ANSWER: Dr. Margolin was a self-taught man, a son of a poor teacher of Talmud. As a child, he was declared as a prodigy, reciting long passages of the bible and studying Talmud and commentaries on his own. He even taught himself geometry and algebra. At the age of seventeen, he attempted a translation. He was referred to as great and illustrious. As a doctor he was always available to other community members, was very social and involved himself in other community activities to promote Yiddish language and Jewish culture. This endeared Dr. Margolin to others in his community.

QUESTION 5. Why do you think Dr. Margolin had the curious experience at the wedding hall?

ANSWER: Dr. Margolin experience at the wedding hall was a result of his death. The write has tried to showcase the Jewish sentiments through the metaphysical experience of Dr. Margolin. He met with an accident on the way to the wedding. His curious and mysterious encounter with Raizel could probably be explained through his past. Raizel was his one true love who he never had a chance to marry. She was given away to someone else and was later shot by the Nazis.

QUESTION 6. Was the encounter with Raizel an illusion or was the carousing at the wedding-hall illusory? Was Dr. Margolin the victim of the accident and was his astral body hovering in the world of twilight?

ANSWER: The carousing at the wedding-hall was illusionary. Raizel herself has been dead for long and her encounter with Dr. Margolin was because of his own death. He was the victim of the accident and his astral body was hovering in the world of twilight. Both were missing a physical dimension, and in fact, were spirits.


QUESTION 1. Surrealism was an artistic and literary movement in France between the two World Wars. Its basic idea is that the automatic, illogical and uncontrolled associations of the mind represent a higher reality than the world of practical life and ordinary literature. Do you think this story could be loosely classified as surrealistic? What elements in this story would support the idea?

ANSWER: Yes, this story could be loosely classified as surrealistic. The ending is an element of such surrealism. Dr. Margolin is in absence of a physical dimension and yet the story shows him to be participating in the wedding, dancing, drinking, chatting with guests, etc. His encounter with Raizel, his one true love who was shot by Nazis also stands out to explain surrealism.

QUESTION 2: Comment on the technique used by the author to convey the gruesome realities of the war and its devastating effect on the psyche of human beings through an intense personal experience.

ANSWER: The author uses banter at the wedding and the conversation between the guests to portray the realities of the war. At the wedding party, people are shown to be conversing with each other and with Dr. Margolin about the deaths of their family and the destruction of their community. Through this, the author used an unusual and an uncommon way of showcasing the realities of the war in the story.


Q1. Who were the Senciminers?

ANSWER: Senciminers were the native Jewish inhabitants of the town Sencimin. They were however forced to leave the town because it was destroyed by the Germans. Many Senciminers were tortured, burned and gassed, however, few survived and escaped to America from the camps.

Q2. Why did Dr. Margolin not particularly want his wife to accompany him to the wedding?

ANSWER: Dr. Margolin didn’t want his wife to accompany him to the wedding because he was ashamed of the mess that the American Judaism was. Every time he took his wife to a wedding or a Bar Mitzvah, he had to make apologies to her. However, this time he was relieved of it.

Q3. What is the Hippocratic oath?

ANSWER: The Hippocratic Oath is an oath usually taken by doctors to swear their loyalty to their profession. The protagonist, being a doctor himself, says that he has never broken the oath and that he has always been honourable towards his patients.

Q4. What topic does the merry banter the wedding invariably lead to?

ANSWER: The merry banter at the wedding invariably lead to the mentioning of the deaths of the Senciminers. Every conversation eventually led to that and occasionally, the protagonist found himself being asked about his own family and their death.

Q5. Who was the woman that Dr Margolin suddenly encountered at the wedding?

ANSWER: The woman that Dr Margolin encountered was his one great love, Raizel, the daughter of Melekh the watchman. He, however, had no luck with her and couldn’t marry her. The last time Dr Margolin heard of her was that she married someone else and was later shot by the Nazis.

Q6. What were the events that led to his confused state of mind?

ANSWER: Dr Margolin started to realize that something is wrong when he noticed that his wallet was missing but wasn’t sure how he could have lost it. He also couldn’t understand the fact that Raizel looked too young and he thought that maybe she was her daughter, trying to mock him.

Monday, September 7, 2020

Claas 12 - English Core - Vistas - Chapter 04 - The Enemy by Pearl S. Buck

Summary of 'The Enemy' by Pearl S. Buck

"The Enemy" by Pearl S. Buck is a story set during World War II, in which Dr. Sadao Hoki, a Japanese surgeon, finds an American prisoner of war washed ashore in a dying state. He takes the man in and nurses him back to health despite knowing he could be punished for helping the enemy. As the man recovers, Dr. Hoki is faced with a difficult decision: should he turn him over to the Army as a patriot, or should he save him as a doctor? The story explores themes of morality, duty, and the conflict between personal and national loyalties.


Q1. Who was Dr Sadao? Where was his house?

Dr Sadao Hoki was an eminent Japanese surgeon and scientist. He had spent eight valuable years of his youth in America to learn all that could be learnt of surgery and medicine there. He was perfecting a discovery which would render wounds entirely clean.
Dr Sadao’s house was built on rocks well above a narrow beach that was outlined with bent pines. It was on a spot of the Japanese coast.

Q2. Will Dr Sadao be arrested on the charge of harbouring an enemy?
Dr Sadao knew that they would be arrested if they sheltered a white man in their house. The wounded man was a prisoner of war who had escaped with a bullet on his back. Since Japan was at war with America, harbouring an enemy meant being a traitor to Japan. Dr Sadao could be arrested if anyone complained against him and accused him of harbouring an enemy.

Q3. Will Hana help the wounded man and wash him herself?
The gardener and the cook were frightened that their master was going to heal the wound of a white man—an enemy. They felt that after being cured he (the white man) will take revenge on the Japanese. Yumi, the maid, was also frightened. She refused to wash the white man. Hana rebuked the maid who had refused to wash a wounded helpless man. Then she dipped a small dean towel into the steaming hot water and washed the white man’s face. She kept on washing him until his upper body was quite dean. But she dared not turn him over.

Q4. What will Dr Sadao and his wife do with the man?
Dr Sadao and his wife, Hana, had told the servants that they only wanted to bring the man to his senses so that they could turn him over as a prisoner. They knew that the best possible course under the circumstances was to put him back into the sea. However, Dr Sadao was against handing over a wounded man to the police. He dedded to carry him into his house. He operated upon him and extracted the bullet from his body. He kept the white man in his house. He and his wife looked after him and fed him till he was strong enough to walk on his legs. .

Q5. Will Dr Sadao be arrested on the charge of harbouring an enemy?
It was the seventh day since Dr Sadao had operated upon the young white man. Early that morning, their three servants left together. In the afternoon, a messenger came there in official uniform. He told Dr Sadao that he had to come to the palace at once as the old General was in pain again.
Hana, who had thought that the officer had come to arrest Dr Sadao, asked the messenger, “Is that all?” The baffled messenger enquired if that was not enough. She tried to cover her mistake by expressing regret and admitted that the General’s illness was enough. Dr Sadao told the General about the white man he had operated upon. Since Dr Sadao was indispensable to the General, he promised that Dr Sadao would not be arrested.

Q6. What will Dr Sadao do to get rid of the man?
Dr Sadao had told the old General that he had operated upon a white man. The General promised to send his private assassins to kill the man silently and secretly at night and remove his body. Dr Sadao left the outer partition of white man’s room open. He waited anxiously for three nights. The servants had left their house. His wife Hana had to cook, clean the house and serve the wounded man. She was unaccustomed to this labour. She was anxious that they should get rid of the man.
Dr Sadao told Tom, the white man, that he was quite well then. He offered to put his boat on the shore that night. It would have food and extra clothing in it. Tom might be able to row to the little island which was not far from the coast. It had not been fortified. The .water was quite deep. Nobody lived there, as it was submerged in storm. Since it was not the season of storm, he could live there till he saw a Korean fishing boat pass by. He gave the man his flashlight. He was to signal twice with his flashlight at sunset in case his food ran out. In case, he was still there and all right, he was to signal only once.
Dr Sadao gave the man Japanese clothes and covered his blond head with a black doth. In short, Dr Sadao helped the man to escape from Japan. At the same time he also got rid of the man.


Q1.There are moments in life when we have to make hard choices between our roles as private individuals and as citizens with a sense of national loyalty? Discuss with reference to the story you have just read.

Dr Sadao Hoki faces a dilemma when he finds the body of an unconscious wounded white man lying on the lonely coast with dangerous rocks near his house. His first reaction was that the person was perhaps a fisherman who had been washed from his boat. He ran quickly down the steps. His wife, Hana came behind him. When they came near, Sadao found that the man was wounded and lay motionless. His face was in the sand. As they saw his face, they found that he was a white man with long yellow hair and a rough yellow beard.
Being an expert surgeon, Dr Sadao saw that the man had a gun-wound on the right side of his lower back. He at once packed the wound with sea moss to stanch the fearful bleeding. Since Japan was at war with America, the white man was an enemy. Dr Sadao muttered, “What shall we do with this man?” He answered the question himself, “The best thing that we could do would be to put him back in the sea.” His wife approved of his decision.
Then Sadao made another observation. If they sheltered a white man in their house they would be arrested and if they turned him over as a prisoner, he would certainly die. Hana still insisted on putting him back into the sea. From his battered cap, Dr Sadao concluded that he was a sailor from an American warship. The man was a prisoner of war. He had escaped and that was why he was wounded in the back..
Hana asked if they were able to put him back into the sea. Sadao then said that if the man was whole he could turn the man over to the police without difficulty. He cared nothing for the man. He was their enemy. All Americans were their ‘enemy’. But since he was wounded… Hana understood his dilemma and realised that in the conflict between his sense of national loyalty and his duty as a doctor, it was the latter which proved dominant. Since Sadao too could not throw him back to the sea, the only course left for them was to carry him to their house. Sadao enquired about the reaction of the servants.
Hana said that they would, tell the servants that they intended to give the man to the police. She told Sadao that they must do so. They had to think of the children and the doctor’s position. It would endanger all of them if they did not give that man over as a prisoner of war.
Sadao agreed and promised that he would not think of doing anything else.

Q2. Dr Sadao was compelled by his duty as a doctor to help the enemy soldier. What made Hana, his wife, sympathetic to him in the face of open defiance from the domestic staff?

Dr Sadao and his wife, Hana, together lifted the wounded man and carried him to an empty bedroom in their house. The man was very dirty. Sadao suggested that he had better be washed. He offered to do so if she would fetch water. Hana was against it. She suggested that the maid, Yumi, could wash the man. They would have to tell the servants. Dr Sadao examined the man again and remarked that the man would die unless he was operated upon at once. He left the room to bring his surgical instruments.
The servants did not approve of their master’s decision to heal the wound of a white man. Even Yumi refused to wash the white man. There was so fierce a look of resistance upon Yumi’s round dull face that Hana felt unreasonably afraid. Then she said with dignity that they only wanted to bring him to his senses so that they would turn him over as a prisoner. However, Yumi refused to have anything to do with him. Hana asked Yumi gently to return to her work.
The open defiance from the domestic staff hurt Hana’s feelings. She had told the servants to do what their master commanded them. She was convinced of her own superiority. She now became sympathetic to her husband and helped him in his efforts to heal the wounded man. Though the sight of the white man was repulsive to her, she washed his face and his upper body. She prepared herself to give him the anaesthetic according to her husband’s instructions. She had never seen an operation. She choked and her face turned pale like sulphur. She felt like vomiting and left for a while. She returned after retching and administered anaesthetic to the man. Thus she co-operated with her husband fully to save the wounded man.

Q3. How would you explain the reluctance of the soldier to leave the shelter of the doctor’s home even when he knew he couldn’t stay there without risk to the doctor and himself?

On the third day after the operation, the young man asked Dr Sadao what he was going to do with him and if he was going to hand him over. Dr Sadao said that he did not know himself what he would do with the mem. He ought to hand him over to the police as he was a prisoner of war.
The young man saw that Dr Sadao and his wife Hana were different from other Japanese. They spoke English well, looked after him and served him food. Seven days after the operation of the man, Dr Sadao was called to the palace to see the General. Hana thought that the police had come to arrest Dr Sadao. Dr Sadao confided in the General and he (General) promised to send his personal assassins to kill the man and remove his body. Dr Sadao waited for three nights. Nothing happened. Then he made a plan to let the prisoner escape. He told Tom, the young American, about it. The young man stared at him and asked if he had to leave. It seemed he was reluctant to leave. Dr Sadao told him that he should understand everything clearly. It was not hidden that he was there and this situation was full of risk for himself as well as for the doctor and his family. Thus it is quite clear that the reluctance of the soldier was caused by the single motive of self-preservation. He knew from the treatment he had received from the couple that they would save him.

Q4. What explains the attitude of the General in the matter of the enemy soldier? Was it human consideration, lack of national loyalty, dereliction of duty or simply self-absorption?

During his meeting with the General, Dr Sadao told him about the man he had operated on successfully. He explained that he cared nothing for the man. The General appreciated his skill and efficiency and promised that he would not be arrested.
The General thought it quite unfortunate that the man had been washed up to Dr Sadao’s doorstep and thought it best if he could be quietly killed. He promised to send his private assassins to do so and remove his dead body. He suggested that Dr Sadao should leave the outer partition of the white man’s room to the garden open at night.
It is evident that the General had no human consideration in this matter. For him an enemy was an enemy and must be wiped out. He wanted the man to be eliminated silently to save the doctor from being arrested. It was neither lack of national loyalty nor dereliction of duty that guided and inspired his decision. It was simply his sense of self-absorption. He “wanted to keep Dr Sadao safe only for his own sake. He had no faith in the other Germany trained doctors. He might have to be operated upon anytime when he had another attack and he had full faith in the skill and loyalty of Dr Sadao only.
This fact is further corroborated by the General’s remarks to Dr Sadao, one week after the emergency operation upon the General. Dr Sadao informed him that the man had escaped. The General asked whether he had not promised Sadao that he would kill the
man for him. Dr Sadao replied that he had done nothing. The General admitted that he had forgotten his promise as he had been suffering a great deal and he thought of nothing but himself. He revealed the whole truth. He admitted that it was careless of him to have forgotten his promise. But added that it was not lack of patriotism or dereliction of duty on his part.

Q5. While hatred against a member of the enemy race is justifiable, especially during wartime, what makes a human being rise above narrow prejudices?

It is the consciousness of the demands of one’s calling that make a sensitive soul respond to the call of his duty as a professional doctor to attend to the wounded human being regardless of his being an enemy.
In the story ‘The Enemy’ Dr Sadao Hoki finds a prisoner of war washed ashore and in a dying state thrown to his doorstep. As a patriot, it is his duty to hand him over to the police. If he does not want to be entangled, the next best thing is to put him back to the sea.
However, the surgeon in him instinctively inspires him to operate upon the dying man and save him from the jaws of death. First, he packs the wound with sea-moss to stanch the fearful bleeding. Then he brings him home with the help of his wife. In spite of stiff opposition and open defiance of the servants, he operates upon the man and harbours him till he is able to leave. He knows fully well the risk of sheltering a white man—a prisoner of war—in his house. But his sentimentality for the suffering and wounded person help him rise above narrow national prejudices and extend his help and services even to an enemy.

Q6. Do you think the doctor’s final solution to the problem was the best possible one in the circumstances?

Yes, I think the doctor’s final solution to the problem was the best possible one in the circumstances. Initially, the doctor as well as his wife thought that the best as well as kindest thing would be to put him back into the sea. But neither of them was able to put him back into the sea.
Sadao explained that if the man was whole he could turn him over to the police without difficulty, but since he was wounded, the doctor could not throw him back to the sea. He could not kill the man whom he had saved from the jaws of death.
The General promised to send his private assassins to kill the man and remove his dead body. Sadao waited for three nights for their arrival, but they never came as the General being preoccupied with his own suffering, forgot everything else.
Meanwhile the fear of Hana, the doctor’s wife, that he would be arrested on the charge of harbouring an enemy kept on mounting. Dr Sadao made up his mind to get rid of the man as it was not only inconvenient but also dangerous for them to have him there any longer. He, therefore, quietly devised the plan of letting the prisoner escape by using his own boat and Japanese clothes.
As soon as the enemy left, the servants returned and life became normal once again. Dr Sadao informed the General that “the man” had escaped. The General admitted that he had forgotten his promise as he thought of nothing but himself as he was suffering a great deal. He confessed that it was careless of him but it was not his lack of patriotism or dereliction of duty. In short, the doctor’s strategy to let the prisoner escape was the best possible solution to the problem under the prevailing circumstances.

Q7. Does the story remind you of ‘Birth’ by A. J. Cronin that you read in ‘Snapshots’ last year? What are the similarities?

Yes, the story ‘The Enemy’ by Pearl S. Buck certainly reminds us of the story ‘Birth’ by A. J. Cronin. Both the stories have certain obvious similarities. Both the stories revolve around the protagonist who is a doctor. Both of them focus on the doctor’s devotion and dedication to his duty and his concern for the well-being of his patient. The doctor sacrifices his own rest and comfort while attending to the patient. If the doctor brings a ‘still-born’ baby back to life in the story ‘Birth’, Dr Sadao Hoki performs no less a miracle. He saves an almost dying man from the jaws of death by skilfully extracting the bullet from his body and giving him medicines and injections for quick relief.
Dr Sadao runs a greater risk than Dr Andrew Mason. While the former could be arrested on the charge of harbouring an enemy and condemned to death, the latter (Dr Andrew) was foregoing rest and staking his reputation as a medical practitioner. He had had a disappointing evening with Christine, the girl he loves, but he forgets his personal feelings and concentrates on the safe delivery of child and then of reviving the middle-aged mother and the still-born child. Similarly, Dr Sadao is dedicated to his patient and his problems. He forgets everything while concentrating on the operation. His servants have defied him for sheltering an enemy and run away. His wife, Hana, has to do menial jobs while attending to the patient and her retching disturbs him. Her distress and his inability to attend to her make him impatient and irritable, but he does not desert the man who is under his knife. To conclude, we may say that the zeal, dedication and efforts of both the doctors are similar. There is difference of degree in the risk factor, but their devotion to suffering humanity is undoubtedly of the same kind.

Q8. Is there any film you have seen or novel you have read with a similar theme?

I remember an old Hindi film ‘Dr Kotnis ki Amar Kahani’ that deals with a similar theme. The eminent doctor gives up his practice and goes to the war front to look after the wounded and ailing soldiers and render them medical help. He spares no pain in performing his duties. He ignores the demands of his own body that is sleep, rest and comfort. Service to suffering humanity is his sole motivation and in his zeal to restore the maximum number of victims back to health, the doctor suffers from physical and mental exhaustion and ultimately dies.
The film based on the life of Florence Nightingale, the lady with the lamp, also glorifies the spirit of service and sacrifice of a member of the medical profession. It is through her sheer hard work and dedication to duty that Florence Nightingale raises the job of a nurse to a high pedestal.

Short-Answer Questions (Solved)

Q1. Why didn't Sadao want to know anything about the white man?
Ans. In "The Enemy" by Pearl S. Buck, Dr. Sadao Hoki did not want to know anything about the white man because he was afraid that if he knew too much about him, he would become emotionally attached and find it even more difficult to make the decision of whether to turn him over to the Army or not. Additionally, he was aware that if he was caught sheltering an American prisoner of war, he could be punished severely, so he wanted to keep his distance emotionally to protect himself and his family.

Q2. How is Hana's perspective about the white man different from Yumi's perspective?
Ans. Hana is more compassionate and empathetic towards the white man, while Yumi is more resistant and stubborn. Yumi sees the man as an enemy and refuses to help him, while Hana is more concerned with doing what is right and helping someone in need.

Q3. The theme of racism is reflected in the story. Give examples.
Ans. In "The Enemy" by Pearl S. Buck, the theme of racism is reflected in several ways. Firstly, Dr. Sadao Hoki faces discrimination in America because of his Japanese heritage, struggling to find a place to live and being treated as inferior by Americans. Secondly, Yumi's refusal to help the white man and her derogatory comments about him reflect the racial tensions between the Japanese and Americans during the war. Finally, the decision of whether to turn the white man over to the Army or not is complicated by the racial prejudices and loyalties of the characters involved. Dr. Hoki must weigh his duty as a doctor to save a life against his duty as a citizen to support his country's war effort.

Q4. What did Dr. Sadao do to help Tom escape to freedom?
Ans. Dr. Sadao Hoki helps Tom escape to freedom by providing him with warm clothes, food, and a map to guide him to safety. He also gives him money to help him on his journey and arranges for a fishing boat to take him to a nearby island where he can be picked up by a fishing Korean boat. Dr. Hoki risks his own safety and reputation to help Tom, showing compassion and humanity towards an enemy soldier.

Monday, April 27, 2020

Class XII - English - Flamingo - Deep Water - Notes

Introduction | Complete Text | Questions and Answers

William Douglas (1898-1980)

About the author

William Douglas (1898-1980) was born in Maine, Minnesota. After graduating with a Bachelors of Arts in English and Economics, he spent two years teaching high school in Yakima. However, he got tired of this and decided to pursue a legal career. He met Franklin D. Roosevelt at Yale and became an adviser and friend to the President. Douglas was a leading advocate of individual rights. He retired in 1975 with a term lasting thirty-six years and remains the longest-serving Justice in the history of the court. The following excerpt is taken from Of Men and Mountains by William O. Douglas. It reveals how as a young boy William Douglas nearly drowned in a swimming pool. In this essay he talks about his fear of water and thereafter, how he finally overcame it. Notice how the autobiographical part of  the selection is used to support his discussion of fear.

Complete Text

It had happened when I was ten or eleven years old. I had decided to learn to swim. There was a pool at the Y.M.C.A. in Yakima that offered exactly the opportunity. The Yakima River was treacherous. Mother continually warned against it, and kept fresh in my mind the details of each drowning in the river. But the Y.M.C.A. pool was safe. It was only two or three feet deep at the shallow end; and while it was nine feet deep at the other, the drop was gradual. I got a pair of water wings and went to the pool. I hated to walk naked into it and show my skinny legs. But I subdued my pride and did it. 

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. 

My introduction to the Y.M.CA. swimming pool revived unpleasant memories and stirred childish fears. But in a little while I gathered confidence. I paddled with my new water wings, watching the other boys and trying to learn by aping them. I did this two or three times on different days and was just beginning to feel at ease in the water when the misadventure happened.

I went to the pool when no one else was there. The place was quiet. The water was still, and the tiled bottom was as white and clean as a bathtub. I was timid about going in alone, so I sat on the side of the pool to wait for others. 

I had not been there long when in came a big bruiser of a boy, probably eighteen years old. He had thick hair on his chest. He was a beautiful physical specimen, with legs and arms that showed rippling muscles. He yelled, “Hi, Skinny! How’d you like to be ducked?” 

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.
It seemed a long way down. Those nine feet were more like ninety, and before I touched bottom my lungs were ready to burst. But when my feet hit bottom I summoned all my strength and made what I thought was a great spring upwards. I imagined I would bob to the surface like a cork. Instead, I came up slowly. I opened my eyes and saw nothing  but water — water that had a dirty yellow tinge to it. I grew panicky. I reached up as if to grab a rope and my hands clutched only at water. I was suffocating. I tried to yell but no sound came out. Then my eyes and nose came out of the water — but not my mouth.

I flailed at the surface of the water, swallowed and choked. I tried to bring my legs up, but they hung as dead weights, paralysed and rigid. A great force was pulling me under. I screamed, but only the water heard me. I had started on the long journey back to the bottom of the pool.

I struck at the water as I went down, expending my strength as one in a nightmare fights an irresistible force. I had lost all my breath. My lungs ached, my head throbbed. I was getting dizzy. But I remembered the strategy — I would spring from the bottom of the pool and come like a cork to the surface. I would lie flat on the water, strike out with my arms, and thrash with my legs. Then I would get to the edge of the pool and be safe.

I went down, down, endlessly. I opened my eyes. Nothing but water with a yellow glow — dark water that one could not see through.

And then sheer, stark terror seized me, terror that knows no understanding, terror that knows no control, terror that no one can understand who has not experienced it. I was shrieking under water. I was paralysed under water — stiff, rigid with fear. Even the screams in my throat were frozen. Only my heart, and the pounding in my head, said that I was still alive.

And then in the midst of the terror came a touch of reason. I must remember to jump when I hit the bottom. At last I felt the tiles under me. My toes reached out as if to grab them. I jumped with everything I had.

But the jump made no difference. The water was still around me. I looked for ropes, ladders, water wings. Nothing but water. A mass of yellow water held me. Stark terror took an even deeper hold on me, like a great charge of electricity. I shook and trembled with fright. My arms wouldn’t move. My legs wouldn’t move. I tried to call for help, to call for mother. Nothing happened.

And then, strangely, there was light. I was coming out of the awful yellow water. At least my eyes were. My nose was almost out too.

Then I started down a third time. I sucked for air and got water. The yellowish light was going out. 

Then all effort ceased. I relaxed. Even my legs felt limp; and a blackness swept over my brain. It wiped out fear; it wiped out terror. There was no more panic. It was quiet and peaceful. Nothing to be afraid of. This is nice... to be drowsy... to go to sleep... no need to jump... too tired to jump... it’s nice to be carried gently... to float along in space... tender arms around me... tender arms like Mother’s... now I must go to sleep...

I crossed to oblivion, and the curtain of life fell.

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. I couldn’t eat that night. For days a haunting fear was in my heart. The slightest exertion upset me, making me wobbly in the knees and sick to my stomach.

I never went back to the pool. I feared water. I avoided it whenever I could.

A few years later when I came to know the waters of the Cascades, I wanted to get into them. And whenever I did — whether I was wading the Tieton or Bumping River or bathing in Warm Lake of the Goat Rocks — the terror that had seized me in the pool would come back. It would take possession of me completely. My legs would become paralysed. Icy horror would grab my heart. 

This handicap stayed with me as the years rolled by. In canoes on Maine lakes fishing for landlocked salmon, bass fishing in New Hampshire, trout fishing on the Deschutes and Metolius in Oregon, fishing for salmon on the Columbia, at Bumping Lake in the Cascades — wherever I went, the haunting fear of the water followed me. It ruined my fishing trips; deprived me of the joy of canoeing, boating, and swimming.

I used every way I knew to overcome this fear, but it held me firmly in its grip. Finally, one October, I decided to get an instructor and learn to swim. I went to a pool and practiced five days a week, an hour each day. The instructor put a belt around me. A rope attached to the belt went through a pulley that ran on an overhead cable. He held on to the end of the rope, and we went back and forth, back and forth across the pool, hour after hour, day after day, week after week. On each trip across the pool a bit of the panic seized me. Each time the instructor relaxed his hold on the rope and I went under, some of the old terror returned and my legs froze. It was three months before the tension began to slack. Then he taught me to put my face under water and exhale, and to raise my nose and inhale. I repeated the exercise hundreds of times. Bit by bit I shed part of the panic that seized me when my head went under water.

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.” 

I did. The instructor was finished. 

But I was not finished. I still wondered if I would be terror-stricken when I was alone in the pool. I tried it. I swam the length up and down. Tiny vestiges of the old terror would return. But now I could frown and say to that terror, “Trying to scare me, eh? Well, here’s to you! Look!” And off I’d go for another length of the pool. 

This went on until July. But I was still not satisfied. I was not sure that all the terror had left. So I went to Lake Wentworth in New Hampshire, dived off a dock at Triggs Island, and swam two miles across the lake to Stamp Act Island. I swam the crawl, breast stroke, side stroke, and back stroke. Only once did the terror return. When I was in the middle of the lake, I put my face under and saw nothing but bottomless water. The old sensation returned in miniature. I laughed and said, “Well, Mr Terror, what do you think you can do to me?” It fled and I swam on.

Yet I had residual doubts. At my first opportunity I hurried west, went up 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. The next morning I stripped, dived into the lake, and swam across to the other shore and back — just as Doug Corpron used to do. I shouted with joy, and Gilbert Peak returned the echo. I had conquered my fear of water. 

The experience had a deep meaning for me, as only those who have known stark terror and conquered it can appreciate. In death there is peace. There is terror only in the fear of death, as Roosevelt knew when he said, “All we have to fear is fear itself.” Because I had experienced both the
sensation of dying and the terror that fear of it can produce, the will to live somehow grew in intensity. 

At last I felt released — free to walk the trails and climb the peaks and to brush aside fear.


In "Of Men and Mountains" by William Douglas, the author recounts an incident from his childhood when he was tossed into a swimming pool by an older boy and nearly drowned. He had an aversion to water from an earlier traumatic incident and had been learning to swim at the YMCA pool. When he was alone at the pool, the older boy threw him into the deep end, and Douglas was unable to swim to the surface due to fear and panic. He struggled to stay afloat and was about to lose consciousness when a lifeguard rescued him. The experience left him with a determination to overcome his fear of water and learn to swim properly.

Think as you read

  1. What is the "misadventure" that William Douglas speaks about?

    The ''Misadventure'' is an incident that took place at the Y.M.C.A Swimming pool when Douglas as a kid went there to learn swimming. One day when Douglas was waiting by the side of the pool for company, a big bully picked him up and tossed him into the deep end which was nine feet in depth. As he was not a good swimmer, Douglas nearly drowned. This incident left him traumatized.

  2. 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?

    William Douglas was thrown into the pool by a muscular boy. He got frightened but did not lose his wits in the beginning. While going down he planned to make a big jump when his feet would hit the bottom and come to surface, lie flat on the water and paddle to the edge of the pool. But his plan did not materialize. He went down very slowly and by the time his feet touched the bottom his lungs were ready to burst. His journey back to the top was very slow and the entire experience made him grew panicky and terrorized.

    The same thing happened when he went down for the second and third time in the water till he started fainting and thought himself to be dead.

  3. How did this experience affect him?

    Douglas's childhood trauma of almost drowning in a pool triggered his aversion to water. The incident left him feeling weak and tearful, and he lost his appetite. Any physical activity drained him and caused him to feel nauseous, compelling him to avoid water and stay away from the pool whenever possible. Consequently, the incident continued to haunt him for a considerable period.

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

    Douglas was determined to get over his fear of water because he wanted to live a normal life without any handicap. Since his fear of water was not letting him enjoy the water related fun activities like canoeing, boating, swimming and fishing etc. he decided to get rid of this fear completely.

  5. How did the instructor “build a swimmer” out of Douglas? 

    The instructor taught him all the swimming related activities one by one. He taught him how to exhale when the face is in the water and inhale when the face is above water. He also taught him different strokes and how to use one's feet for swimming. When Douglas mastered all the skills necessary for swimming one by one, the instructor asked him to use all at once so that he could swim, and this trick worked.

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

    Even after the swimming training was over, Douglas wasn't confident about his swimming or that he had overcome the fear. He was determined to completely get rid of it forever. He swam alone in the pool. He went to Lake Wentworth to dive. There, he tried every possible stroke he had learnt. He fought back the tiny vestiges of terror that gripped him in middle of the lake. Finally, in his diving expedition in the Warm Lake, he realised that he had truly conquered his old terror.