By Ruchika Gupta
CBSE Class 11 English Hornbill Book Chapter 2 We are not Afraid to Die Summary, Explanation with Video and Question Answers
Class 11 English Chapter 2 (Hornbill book)
We’re Not Afraid to Die… if We Can
All Be Together”
By Gordon Cook and Alan East
- We’re not afraid to die Introduction
- We’re not afraid to die Video Explanation
- We’re not afraid to die Summary
- We’re not afraid to die Summary in Hindi
- We’re not afraid to die Lesson Explanation
- We’re not afraid to die Question Answers
- We’re not afraid to die Grammar Exercise
- We’re not afraid to die Important Question Answers
- We’re not afraid to die Class 11 MCQ Question Answers
“We’re Not Afraid to Die Introduction
We are not Afraid to Die Written by Gordan Cook and Alan East, the story is about a 37 year old businessman who is the narrator of the story. He has a wife named Mary and two children, Jonathan, aged 6 and Suzanne, aged 7. He and his wife both dream of a voyage around the world on their ship ‘Wave walker’ which is a 23 meter long, 30 ton wooden-hulled, just like that of the famous Captain James Cook.
The whole family started sailing from Plymouth, England on July 1976. The initial phase of the three-year-long journey was from Africa to Cape Town. It was pleasant. While heading east, along with two newly hired crewmen, strong waves hit them and their survival became a question. The story tells us about how they fought each day and survived till the end.Take free Online MCQs Test for Class 11
We are not afraid to die Class 11 Video Explanation
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We’re Not Afraid to Die Summary
We are Not Afraid To Die Summary – The narrator and his wife plan a voyage around the world just like famous Captain James Cook. They have been preparing and perfecting their seafaring skills for the past 16 years. They get a ship which is 23 meters long and weighs 30 tons wooden-hulled, named Wave Walker. They test it in the rough weather for months.
In July 1976, they all start their journey from Plymouth, England. They sail from Africa to Cape Town which was quite a pleasant journey. Before heading East, the narrator hired two crewmen, Larry Vigil, and Herb Seigler, to help them tackle one of the roughest sea – the Southern Indian Ocean.
They encounter strong and alarming waves during the second day. By December 25, they all manage to reach 35,000 kilometers east of Cape Town. The family, somehow, manages to surpass the bad weather and celebrates Christmas together.
The weather changes for the worse and on January 2, the big waves hit them. They try to slow the ship down by dropping storm jib and hit a heavy mooring rope in a loop across a stern but it doesn’t help much. They carry their life-raft drill, attach lifelines, don life jackets and oilskins.
Later, in the evening, a vertical and huge wave strikes the ship and the narrator is thrown off from the ship. He accepts his ‘approaching death’ and starts losing consciousness. When the ship is about to overturn, a huge wave hit again and turns it right back. He suffers injuries in ribs and mouth. He grabs the guard rail and sails into the ship’s main boom.
He instructs his wife Mary to guard the wheel as he realizes that the ship has water in the lower parts. His crewman starts pumping out the water. The narrator goes to his children’s cabin and checks on them. His daughter, Sue, informs him about a bump on her head which he ignores because his major concern is to save the ship.
The narrator does water-proofing on the gaping holes. This makes water to deviate on the right side. The hand pump gets blocked due to debris and electric-pump gets short-circuited. However, he later finds a spare electric pump and connects it to drain the water. They all keep pumping the water all night long. Their Mayday calls are not answered as they are in the remotest corner of the world.
Sue, on the other hand, has now a swollen black eye and a deep cut in her arm. On being asked by her father about her injuries, she tells him she didn’t want him to worry as he was trying to save them. After 15 hours the situation gets under control. The narrator decides to work in rotation and rests. The water levels are controlled but the leaks were still there, below the waterline.
The ship is in bad shape now. It is not in a condition to reach Australia, and so, they decide to reach the nearest island, lle Amsterdam, a French Scientific base. As their supporting engines were also damaged, the chances of the ship to reach the destination are low.
After pumping the water out continuously for 36 hours, they took a sigh of relief. Only a few centimeters of water was left to be pumped out of the boat. They hoisted the storm jib as the mainmast was destroyed. They ate their first meal in two days, some corned beef and crackers. The weather soon started changing and again the black clouds took over by the morning of January 5. His son, Jonathan, told him that he didn’t fear death as long as they were all together. This filled him with determination to fight the sea.
The struggle continued and the narrator tried his best to protect the weakened starboard side. The same evening, the narrator and his wife sat together holding hands, thinking that their end was near. His children continuously supported him which gave him moral support to keep going.
The Wavewalker sailed through the storm and made it. The narrator then calculated their exact position by working on the wind speed. While he was brainstorming, Sue, gave him a card that she had made expressing her love and gratitude towards the family.
He instructed Larry to steer the course to 185 degrees. He said that if they were lucky, they could hope to find an island by 5 pm. He dozed off and suddenly got up around 6 pm. He believed that they didn’t make it and was disappointed. His son came and informed him about how they reached the lle Amsterdam Island and he called him ‘best daddy’ and ‘best captain’.
They reached the island with little struggle and with the help of inhabitants. The whole team, the family and two crew members, never stopped trying. Their struggle and hard work finally saved them.
We’re Not Afraid to Die Summary in Hindi
कथाकार और उसकी पत्नी प्रसिद्ध कप्तान जेम्स कुक की तरह ही दुनिया भर की यात्रा की योजना बनाते हैं। वे पिछले 16 वर्षों से अपने समुद्री यात्रा कौशल को तैयार और पूर्ण कर रहे हैं। उन्हें एक जहाज मिलता है जो 23 मीटर लंबा और 30 टन लकड़ी के पतवार का होता है, जिसका नाम वेव वॉकर है। वे महीनों तक खराब मौसम में इसका परीक्षण करते हैं।
जुलाई 1976 में, वे सभी इंग्लैंड के प्लायमाउथ से अपनी यात्रा शुरू करते हैं। वे अफ्रीका से केप टाउन के लिए रवाना हुए जो काफी सुखद यात्रा थी। पूर्व की ओर जाने से पहले, कथाकार ने दो क्रूमैन, लैरी विजिल और हर्ब सीगलर को काम पर रखा, ताकि उन्हें सबसे कठिन समुद्र – दक्षिणी हिंद महासागर से निपटने में मदद मिल सके।
वे दूसरे दिन के दौरान मजबूत और खतरनाक लहरों का सामना करते हैं। 25 दिसंबर तक, वे सभी केप टाउन से 35,000 किलोमीटर पूर्व में पहुंचने का प्रबंधन करते हैं। परिवार, किसी तरह, खराब मौसम को पार करने का प्रबंधन करता है और एक साथ क्रिसमस मनाता है।
मौसम बदतर के लिए बदलता है और 2 जनवरी को बड़ी लहरें उन पर आ जाती हैं। वे तूफान जिब को गिराकर जहाज को धीमा करने की कोशिश करते हैं और एक भारी मूरिंग रस्सी को एक स्टर्न के पार लूप में मारते हैं लेकिन यह ज्यादा मदद नहीं करता है। वे अपनी लाइफ-बेड़ा ड्रिल ले जाते हैं, लाइफलाइन संलग्न करते हैं, लाइफ जैकेट और ऑयलकिन्स ले लेते हैं।
बाद में, शाम को, एक ऊंचाई में सीधी और विशाल लहर जहाज से टकराती है और कथाकार को जहाज से फेंक दिया जाता है। वह अपनी मृत्यु के करीब होना स्वीकार करता है और होश खोने लगता है। जब जहाज पलटने वाला होता है, तो एक बड़ी लहर फिर से टकराती है और ठीक पीछे मुड़ जाती है। लेखक के पसलियों और मुंह में चोट आती है वह गार्ड रेल पकड़ लेता है और जहाज के मुख्य उछाल में चला जाता है।
वह अपनी पत्नी मैरी को पहिया की रखवाली करने का निर्देश देता है क्योंकि उसे पता चलता है कि जहाज के निचले हिस्सों में पानी है। उसका चालक दल पानी को बाहर निकालना शुरू कर देता है। वर्णनकर्ता अपने बच्चों के केबिन में जाता है और उन पर जाँच करता है। उसकी बेटी, सू, उसे अपने सिर पर एक टक्कर के बारे में उसे सूचित करती है जिसे वह अनदेखा कर देता है क्योंकि उसकी मुख्य चिंता जहाज को बचाने की है।
नैरेटर गैपिंग होल्स पर वाटर-प्रूफिंग करता है। इससे पानी दाहिनी ओर विचलित हो जाता है। मलबे के कारण हैंडपंप अवरुद्ध हो जाता है और बिजली-पंप शॉर्ट-सर्किट हो जाता है। हालांकि, बाद में वह एक अतिरिक्त इलेक्ट्रिक पंप ढूंढता है और पानी निकालने के लिए इसे जोड़ता है। ये सभी रात भर पानी पंप करते रहते हैं। वे मदद के लिये मेडे (mayday) कॉल भेजते है पर उसका का जवाब नहीं दिया जाता क्योंकि वे दुनिया के सबसे दूर के कोने में हैं।
दूसरी ओर, सू की अब सूजी हुई काली आंख और हाथ में गहरा घाव है। अपने पिता द्वारा उसकी चोटों के बारे में पूछे जाने पर, वह कहती है कि वह नहीं चाहती कि वह चिंता करे क्योंकि वह उन्हें बचाने की कोशिश कर रहा था। 15 घंटे के बाद स्थिति नियंत्रण में आ जाती है। कथाकार रोटेशन में काम करने का फैसला करता है और आराम करता है। जल स्तर नियंत्रित है लेकिन रिसाव अभी भी जलरेखा के नीचे था।
जहाज अब खराब स्थिति में है। यह ऑस्ट्रेलिया पहुंचने की स्थिति में नहीं है, और इसलिए, वे निकटतम द्वीप, एम्सटर्डम, एक फ्रांसीसी वैज्ञानिक आधार तक पहुंचने का निर्णय लेते हैं। चूंकि उनके सहायक इंजन भी क्षतिग्रस्त हो गए थे, इसलिए जहाज के गंतव्य तक पहुंचने की संभावना कम है।
36 घंटे तक लगातार पानी बाहर निकालने के बाद उन्होंने राहत की सांस ली। नाव से बाहर निकालने के लिए केवल कुछ सेंटीमीटर पानी बचा था। उन्होंने तूफान जिब फहराया क्योंकि मेनमास्ट नष्ट हो गया था। उन्होंने दो दिनों में अपना पहला भोजन खाया, कुछ मक्के के गोमांस और पटाखे। मौसम ने जल्द ही बदलना शुरू कर दिया और 5 जनवरी की सुबह तक काले बादलों ने फिर से कब्जा कर लिया। उनके बेटे, जोनाथन ने उन्हें बताया कि जब तक वे सभी एक साथ हैं, तब तक उन्हें मृत्यु का डर नहीं है। इसने उसे समुद्र से लड़ने के लिए दृढ़ संकल्प के साथ भर दिया।
संघर्ष जारी रहा और वर्णनकर्ता ने कमजोर स्टारबोर्ड पक्ष की रक्षा करने की पूरी कोशिश की। उसी शाम, कथावाचक और उसकी पत्नी हाथ पकड़कर बैठे, यह सोचकर कि उनका अंत निकट है। उनके बच्चों ने लगातार उनका समर्थन किया जिससे उन्हें आगे बढ़ने के लिए नैतिक समर्थन मिला।
वेववॉकर तूफान के माध्यम से रवाना हुआ और इसे बनाया। इसके बाद वर्णनकर्ता ने हवा की गति पर काम करके अपनी सटीक स्थिति की गणना की। जब वह विचार-मंथन कर रहा था, सू ने उसे एक कार्ड दिया जो उसने परिवार के प्रति अपने प्यार और कृतज्ञता को व्यक्त करते हुए बनाया था।
उन्होंने लैरी को पाठ्यक्रम को 185 डिग्री तक चलाने का निर्देश दिया। उन्होंने कहा कि अगर वे भाग्यशाली रहे, तो वे शाम 5 बजे तक एक द्वीप खोजने की उम्मीद कर सकते हैं। उसे नींद आ गई और वह शाम करीब छह बजे अचानक उठा। उनका मानना था कि उन्होंने इसे नहीं बनाया और निराश थे। उनके बेटे ने आकर उन्हें बताया कि वे कैसे एम्सटर्डम द्वीप पहुंचे और उन्होंने उन्हें ‘बेस्ट डैडी’ और ‘बेस्ट कैप्टन’ कहा।
वे थोड़े संघर्ष और निवासियों की मदद से द्वीप पर पहुंचे। पूरी टीम, परिवार और चालक दल के दो सदस्यों ने कोशिश करना कभी नहीं छोड़ा। उनके संघर्ष और कड़ी मेहनत ने आखिरकार उन्हें बचा लिया।
“We’re Not Afraid to Die Lesson Explanation
Passage: IN July 1976, my wife Mary, son Jonathan, 6, daughter Suzanne, 7, and I set sail from Plymouth, England, to duplicate the round-the-world voyage made 200 years earlier by Captain James Cook. For the longest time, Mary and I — a 37-year-old businessman — had dreamt of sailing in the wake of the famous explorer, and for the past 16 years, we had spent all our leisure time honing our seafaring skills in British waters. Our boat Wavewalker, a 23 meter, 30-ton wooden-hulled beauty, had been professionally built, and we had spent months fitting it out and testing it in the roughest weather we could find.
Voyage – a long journey by sea or space
Leisure – free time
Honing – sharpen, improving
Seafaring – regularly traveling by sea
Honing our seafaring skills – improving the skills required to travel by sea
Wooden-hulled – a watertight body of a ship
Explanation of the above passage: The narrator, 37-year-old businessman, along with his wife Mary and two children – Jonathan (age 6) and Suzanne (age 7) went on a voyage on their ship in July 1976. They started from Plymouth, England. They wanted to complete the sea trip around the world just like the one that had been completed 200 years ago by the famous Captain James Cook. The narrator and his wife spent 16 years improving their seafaring skills. They got a ship built professionally, a 23 meter long, 30 ton heavy wooden-hulled called ‘Wavewalker’. They took several months to test it in the roughest of weathers.
Passage: The first leg of our planned three-year, 105,000 kilometre journey passed pleasantly as we sailed down the west coast of Africa to Cape Town. There, before heading east, we took on two crewmen — American Larry Vigil and Swiss Herb Seigler — to help us tackle one of the world’s roughest seas, the southern Indian Ocean.
On our second day out of Cape Town, we began to encounter strong gales. For the next few weeks, they blew continuously. Gales did not worry me; but the size of the waves was alarming — up to 15 metres, as high as our main mast.
Gales – A very strong wind
Mast – a tall upright structure on a boat or ship
Explanation of the above passage: The initial phase of the three-year long journey of 105,000 kilometre passed pleasantly. They sailed down the west coast of Africa to Cape Town. The narrator hired two crewmen before heading towards the east to tackle the roughest sea- the southern Indian Ocean. Their names were Larry Vigil, an American and Herb Seigler, a Swiss. On the second day in Cape Town, they encountered a strong wind which continued for several weeks. A strong wind was not a problem but 15 metres high waves, which were the height of the mast, worried the narrator.
Passage: December 25 found us 3,500 kilometres east of Cape Town. Despite atrocious weather, we had a wonderful holiday complete with a Christmas tree. New Year’s Day saw no improvement in the weather, but we reasoned that it had to change soon. And it did change — for the worse.
At dawn on January 2, the waves were gigantic. We were sailing with only a small storm jib and were still making eight knots. As the ship rose to the top of each wave we could see endless enormous seas rolling towards us, and the screaming of the wind and spray was painful to the ears. To slow the boat down, we dropped the storm jib and lashed a heavy mooring rope in a loop across the stern. Then we double-lashed everything, went through our life-raft drill, attached lifelines, donned oilskins and life jackets — and waited.
Atrocious – bad; of a very poor quality
Gigantic – huge; of a big size
Jib – a triangular staysail set forward the mast in a ship
Knots – a unit of speed equal to one nautical mile per hour, used especially of ships, aircraft, or winds
Enormous – a very large size
Lashed – to hit with a lot of force
Mooring – the ropes, chains, or anchors by or to which a boat, ship, or buoy is moored
Loop – a shape produced that bends round and crosses; bent
Stern – the back part of a ship or a boat
Donned – put on, wore
Oilskins – heavy cotton cloth waterproofed with oil
Explanation of the above passage: On December 25, they had travelled 3,500 kilometres east of Cape Town. They celebrated Christmas together, despite the bad weather. The weather remained the same till New Year’s Day but they hoped for it to change soon. The weather conditions worsened. On the early morning of January 2, the waves were very huge. They were sailing with a small storm jib, at a speed of eight knots. When the ship was sailing with the huge waves, they could see the huge sea in front of them. The noise of the waves and strong winds was painful for the ears. They dropped the storm jib to slow down the ship and hit a heavy mooring rope across the back part of the ship in a loop. They lashed everything with double force. They put on their oilskins and life jackets, attached lifelines and went through the life raft drills and waited.
Passage: The first indication of impending disaster came at about 6 p.m., with an ominous silence. The wind dropped, and the sky immediately grew dark. Then came a growing roar, and an enormous cloud towered aft of the ship. With horror, I realised that it was not a cloud, but a wave like no other I had ever seen. It appeared perfectly vertical and almost twice the height of the other waves, with a frightful breaking crest.
Impending – about to happen
Ominous silence – unpleasant or threatening silence
Aft – near the stern of the ship
Frightful – very unpleasant or shocking
Crest – reach the top of a wave
Explanation of the above passage: Around 6 pm, an unpleasant silence rolled over, it was an indication of a disaster which was about to happen. The wind suddenly dropped and the sky was darker with heavy clouds. A huge cloud was coming towards the stern of the ship but later the narrator realized it was a huge wave. The wave was perfectly vertical and it was twice the height of the previous waves they saw withthe top of the wave looking unpleasant due to its height.
Passage: The roar increased to a thunder as the stern moved up the face of the wave, and for a moment I thought we might ride over it. But then a tremendous explosion shook the deck. A torrent of green and white water broke over the ship, my head smashed into the wheel and I was aware of flying overboard and sinking below the waves. I accepted my approaching death, and as I was losing consciousness, I felt quite peaceful.
Tremendous – very great in amount
Shook – past tense of shake (vibrate)
Deck – a floor of a ship
Torrent – a fast moving stream of water
Smashed – shattered or violently broken
Explanation of the above passage: The thunder increased and the waved moved the stern up. They thought that it would not do any damage but a huge explosion vibrated the deck. A strong moving stream of green and white water broke over the ship. The narrator’s head smashed in the wheel of the ship, he flew overboard and sank below the waves. He accepted that his death was approaching and started losing consciousness. He felt quite peaceful.
Passage: Unexpectedly, my head popped out of the water. A few metres away, Wavewalker was near capsizing, her masts almost horizontal. Then a wave hurled her upright, my lifeline jerked taut, I grabbed the guard rails and sailed through the air into Wavewalker’s main boom. Subsequent waves tossed me around the deck like a rag doll. My left ribs cracked; my mouth filled with blood and broken teeth. Somehow, I found the wheel, lined up the stern for the next wave and hung on.
Water, Water, Everywhere. I could feel that the ship had water below, but I dared not abandon the wheel to investigate. Suddenly, the front hatch was thrown open and Mary appeared. “We’re sinking!” she screamed. “The decks are smashed; we’re full of water.” “Take the wheel”, I shouted as I scrambled for the hatch.
Capsizing – be overturned in the water
Hurled – throw with a great force
Taut – stretched or pulled tightly
Boom – pole that controls the angle and shape of the sail
Scrambled – climb; claw one’s way
Hatch – door
Explanation of the above passage: The narrator’s head popped out of water. The ship was about to overturn but a wave turned her upright. His lifeline jacket was stretched, he grabbed the guard rails and sailed to the ship’s main pole. The waves tossed him around the deck. He was injured as his left ribs cracked, his mouth filled with blood and he had a broken tooth. He found the wheel, lined the stern for the next wave and waited. There was water everywhere. The narrator could feel water below the ship but he didn’t leave the wheel alone. Suddenly, the front door opened and his wife, Mary, came screaming that they were sinking. She said, ‘the decks are smashed; we’re full of water’. The narrator handed her the wheel and climbed towards the door.
Passage: Larry and Herb were pumping like madmen. Broken timbers hung at crazy angles, the whole starboard side bulged inwards; clothes, crockery, charts, tins and toys sloshed about in deep water. I half-swam, half-crawled into the children’s cabin. “Are you all right?” I asked. “Yes,” they answered from an upper bunk. “But my head hurts a bit,” said Sue, pointing to a big bump above her eyes. I had no time to worry about bumped heads. After finding a hammer, screws and canvas, I struggled back on deck. With the starboard side bashed open, we were taking water with each wave that broke over us. If I couldn’t make some repairs, we would surely sink.
Timbers – wood board used in building of a ship
Starboard – side of a ship which is on the right side when one is facing forward
Bulged – swell
Sloshed – move through liquid with a splashing sound.
Bashed – strike hard; hit
Explanation of the above passage: The crewman Larry and Herb were pumping the water very fast. The timbers of the ship were broken and were hanging badly. The starboard of the ship had sunk, clothes, crockery, charts, tins and toys were roaming around in deep water. The narrator swam and crawled to the children’s cabin and asked the children whether they were alright. The children replied ‘yes’. Sue, his daughter complained about a big bump on her head. The narrator didn’t pay much attention to it as his major concern was to save them. The narrator found screws, hammer and canvas, he went back to the deck. The broken starboard side was letting so much water in, if the narrator could not fix the problem, they would all sink in the sea.
Passage: Somehow I managed to stretch canvas and secure waterproof hatch covers across the gaping holes. Some water continued to stream below, but most of it was now being deflected over the side.
More problems arose when our hand pumps started to block up with the debris floating around the cabins and the electric pump short-circuited. The water level rose threateningly. Back on deck I found that our two spare hand pumps had been wrenched overboard — along with the forestay sail, the jib, the dinghies and the main anchor.
Then I remembered we had another electric pump under the chartroom floor. I connected it to an out-pipe, and was thankful to find that it worked.
Deflected: turned aside
Canvas – a strong unbleached cloth
Debris – rubbish
Wrenched – pull suddenly, removed
Forestay – a rope to support ship’s foremast
Dinghies – a small boat for recreation with mast or sail
Explanation of the above passage: The narrator stretched the canvas cloth and secured the waterproof hatch which covered the gaping holes. Some water streamed below and some was now deflected over the side. The handpump was blocked as rubbish was floating around the cabins and entered it, the electric pump short-circuited. As the water level rose, the narrator found two hand pumps had been removed along with a rope, jib, a small boat, and the main anchor. He found another electric pump under the chartroom. He connected it to an out pipe and it started working.
Passage: The night dragged on with an endless, bitterly cold routine of pumping, steering and working the radio. We were getting no replies to our Mayday calls — which was not surprising in this remote corner of the world.
Sue’s head had swollen alarmingly; she had two enormous black eyes, and now she showed us a deep cut on her arm. When I asked why she hadn’t made more of her injuries before this, she replied, “I didn’t want to worry you when you were trying to save us all.”
Mayday calls –words used to signal ships stuck in a disastrous situation through radio
Explanation of the above passage: The whole night was about the endless routine of pumping out the water, steering the wheel and working the radio. There were no replies to their signals sent over the radio as they were in the remotest part of the world. Sue’s head was now more swollen and she had two back eyes with a deep cut in her arm. When upon being asked why she didn’t tell him about her injuries earlier, she said that she didn’t want to worry him as he was trying to save all of them.
Passage: By morning on January 3, the pumps had the water level sufficiently under control for us to take two hours’ rest in rotation. But we still had a tremendous leak somewhere below the waterline and, on checking, I found that nearly all the boat’s main rib frames were smashed down to the keel. In fact, there was nothing holding up a whole section of the starboard hull except a few cupboard partitions.
We had survived for 15 hours since the wave hit, but Wavewalker wouldn’t hold together long enough for us to reach Australia. I checked our charts and calculated that there were two small islands a few hundred kilometres to the east. One of them, Ile Amsterdam, was a French scientific base. Our only hope was to reach these pinpricks in the vast ocean. But unless the wind and seas abated so we could hoist sail, our chances would be slim indeed. The great wave had put our auxilliary engine out of action.
Smashed – badly broken
Keel – steel structure along the base of the ship
Pinpricks – a prick caused by a pin
Pinpricks in the vast ocean – the two small islands in the vast ocean were very tiny like the prick caused by a pin
Abated – something unpleasant to become less intense
Auxiliary engine – small secondary engine used to board ships to operate a windlass in the ship
Explanation of the above passage: The water level was under control by the morning of January 3, so all of them took two hours rest in rotation. But there still was a leak somewhere below the waterline. Upon checking, the boat rib structure was badly broken down till the base of the ship. The whole section of starboard was held together with a few cupboard partitions.
The ship’s condition was so bad that it would not make it till Australia. The narrator checked the charts and calculated that there were two small islands a few kilometres to the east, one of them was lle Amsterdam, which was a French Scientific base. Their only hope was to search and reach that island. But only if the wind and the sea do not cause further damage, else their chances were slim. The wave had destroyed the ship’s auxiliary engine.
Passage: On January 4, after 36 hours of continuous pumping, we reached the last few centimetres of water. Now, we had only to keep pace with the water still coming in. We could not set any sail on the main mast. Pressure on the rigging would simply pull the damaged section of the hull apart, so we hoisted the storm jib and headed for where I thought the two islands were. Mary found some corned beef and cracker biscuits, and we ate our first meal in almost two days.
But our respite was short-lived. At 4 p.m. black clouds began building up behind us; within the hour the wind was back to 40 knots and the seas were getting higher. The weather continued to deteriorate throughout the night, and by dawn on January 5, our situation was again desperate.
Rigging – the ropes and wires supporting the structure of the ship
Hull – the framework of the vessel
Respite – a short period of rest
Deteriorate – get worse
Explanation of the above passage: After 36 hours of continuous pumping, on January 4, the water was only a few centimetres left to be pumped out. But they still had to pump out the water which was coming in. They could not set sail on the main mast. They hoisted the storm jib and sailed towards the two small islands. They had their first meal in two days, some corned beef and cracker biscuits found by Mary.
The rest period was short-lived as black clouds built up around 4 pm. The wind was now 40 knots and the sea was getting higher. The weather got worse and by the early morning of January 5, the situation was bad.
Passage: When I went in to comfort the children, Jon asked, “Daddy, are we going to die?” I tried to assure him that we could make it. “But, Daddy,” he went on, “we aren’t afraid of dying if we can all be together — you and Mummy, Sue and I.”
I could find no words with which to respond, but I left the children’s cabin determined to fight the sea with everything I had. To protect the weakened starboard side, I decided to heave to — with the undamaged port hull facing the oncoming waves, using an improvised sea anchor of heavy nylon rope and two 22 litre plastic barrels of paraffin.
That evening, Mary and I sat together holding hands, as the motion of the ship brought more and more water in through the broken planks. We both felt the end was very near.
Heave to – to raise or lift with effort
Paraffin – colorless flammable oil liquid
Explanation of the above passage: When the narrator went to comfort his children, his son asked him whether they were going to die. He tried to assure him that they would make it. His son replied that they were not afraid to die till they all were together. This filled the narrator with a determination to fight back. He made efforts to protect the weakened starboard side. He used an improvised sea anchor made of heavy nylon rope and two 22 liter plastic barrels of kerosene. That same evening, the narrator and his wife sat holding hands and they believed that their end was near.
Passage: But Wavewalker rode out the storm and by the morning of January 6, with the wind easing, I tried to get a reading on the sextant. Back in the chartroom, I worked on wind speeds, changes of course, drift and current in an effort to calculate our position. The best I could determine was that we were somewhere in 150,000 kilometres of ocean looking for a 65 kilometre-wide island.
While I was thinking, Sue, moving painfully, joined me. The left side of her head was now very swollen and her blackened eyes narrowed to slits. She gave me a card she had made.
On the front she had drawn caricatures of Mary and me with the words: “Here are some funny people. Did they make you laugh? I laughed a lot as well.” Inside was a message: “Oh, how I love you both. So this card is to say thank you and let’s hope for the best.” Somehow we had to make it.
Sextant – an instrument with graduated arc of 60 degrees for taking altitudes and navigation
Caricatures – picture of a person; cartoon
Explanation of the above passage: The ship made it through the storm and by the morning of January 6, the narrator tried to get reading on the sextant. He worked with wind speeds, drift and current and calculated their position. They were in 150,000 kilometres area of ocean, looking for a 65 kilometer wide island. While the narrator was still thinking, his daughter Sue, joined him and she was in pain. The left side of her head was swollen and her blackened eyes had narrowed down to slits. She gave him a card which she had made herself. On the front of the card was a cartoon image of her parents with words written about them being funny people and how they made her laugh. On the inside of the card, she told them how she loved them both and she thanked them. This made the narrator realize that they had to make it to the island.
Passage: I checked and rechecked my calculations. We had lost our main compass and I was using a spare which had not been corrected for magnetic variation. I made an allowance for this and another estimate of the influence of the westerly currents which flow through this part of the Indian Ocean.
About 2 p.m., I went on deck and asked Larry to steer a course of 185 degrees. If we were lucky, I told him with a conviction I did not feel, he could expect to see the island at about 5 p.m.
Then with a heavy heart, I went below, climbed on my bunk and amazingly, dozed off. When I woke it was 6 p.m. and growing dark. I knew we must have missed the island, and with the sail, we had left, we couldn’t hope to beat back into the westerly winds.
At that moment, a tousled head appeared by my bunk. “Can I have a hug?” Jonathan asked. Sue was right behind him.
Tousled head – disarranged hair of the narrator’s son, Jonathan
Bunk – bed
Dozed off – went off to sleep
Explanation of the above passage: The narrator rechecked his calculations. They lost their main compass and were using the spare one which was not corrected for magnetic variations. He estimated the influence of the westerly currents which flow through the Indian Ocean. Around 2 pm, he went on deck and asked Larry to steer the wheel to 185 degrees. He felt, if they were lucky, they would see the island by 5 pm. Then he went below and slept. He woke up around 6 pm and it was dark outside. He thought that they might have missed the island. He started worrying about how they would tackle the westerly wind more as the ship wasn’t capable to sail more. His son came and asked him for a hug, his daughter followed.
Passage: “Why am I getting a hug now?” I asked.
“Because you are the best daddy in the whole world — and the best captain,” my son replied.
“Not today, Jon, I’m afraid.”
“Why, you must be,” said Sue in a matter-of-fact voice. “You found the island.”
“What!” I shouted.
“It’s out there in front of us,” they chorused, “as big as a battleship.”
I rushed on deck and gazed with relief at the stark outline of Ile Amsterdam. It was only a bleak piece of volcanic rock, with little vegetation — the most beautiful island in the world!
Bleak – an area of land lacking vegetation
Stark – sharply defined
Explanation of the above passage: He asked that why was he getting a hug. His son replied that he was the best daddy in the world and also called him the best captain. The narrator replied that he was afraid. Sue told him then that they had found the island which was as big as a battleship.
The narrator rushed to the deck and gave a sigh of relief. They could see the complete outline of lle Amsterdam. There was a bleak piece of volcanic rock in front of them. It had a little vegetation. It was the most beautiful island in the world.
Passage: We anchored offshore for the night, and the next morning all 28 inhabitants of the island cheered as they helped us ashore.
With land under my feet again, my thoughts were full of Larry and Herbie, cheerful and optimistic under the direst stress, and of Mary, who stayed at the wheel for all those crucial hours. Most of all, I thought of a seven-year-old girl, who did not want us to worry about a head injury (which subsequently took six minor operations to remove a recurring blood clot between skin and skull), and of a six-year-old boy who was not afraid to die.
Anchored – moor a ship to the sea bottom
Offshore – situated at the sea some distance from the shore
Ashore – on the shore of the land
Optimistic – hopeful and confident
Explanation of the above passage: They moored the ship at some distance from the shore and the next morning, 28 inhabitants of the Amsterdam island helped them to move on the shore of the land. As he felt the land again on his feet, he thought of his crewmen and his wife. He also thought of his seven-year-old daughter who was injured badly. She had to go through six minor operations to remove the blood clot in her head. His son who never gave up and was not afraid to die.
We are not Afraid to Die Question Answers
Understanding the Text
1. List the steps taken by the captain
(i) to protect the ship when rough weather began.
(ii) to check the flooding of the water in the ship.
Ans: (i) the narrator decided to slow down the ship to protect it from bad and stormy weather. He dropped the storm jib and lashed heavy mooring rope across the stern of the ship. Then, they double – lashed everything. They carried their life-raft drill, attached lifelines, donned life jackets and oilskins.
(ii) to check the flooding of the water, the narrator put waterproof hatch which covered the gaping holes. This diverted the water flow to the side. His hand pumps were blocked due to debris and his one electric pump was short-circuited. He found a hand pump and a spare electric pump. He connected the electric pump to the out pipe and started it.
2. Describe the mental condition of the voyagers on 4 and 5 January.
Ans: On January 4, the voyagers felt relieved as they were continuously pumping out water for the past 36 hours and only a few centimetres of water was left. They had their first meal in two days. Mary found some corned beef and cracker biscuits.
Later, around 4 pm, the weather changed as black clouds marched towards them. The wind was now 40 knots and the sea was getting higher. The weather got worse and by the early morning of January 5, the situation was bad. This gave them mental stress.
3. Describe the shifts in the narration of the events as indicated in the three sections of the text. Give a subtitle to each section.
The first section: Beginning of the Round – the – Voyage
The first section was cheerful and full of hope as the family began their planned voyage just like the one done 200 years ago by the famous Captain James Cook. They had perfected their seafaring skills for 16 years. They built a ship ‘Wavewalker’ professionally which was a 23 metres long, 30 tons wooden-hulled ship. They celebrated Christmas on the ship despite the bad weather.
The Second Section: the struggle with the big attack
This section changed from cheerful to intense. The family was under great pressure to survive the oncoming waves and bad weather conditions. A giant wave created chaos and the ship was about to overturn. The narrator was thrown off into the water and he almost drowned and got injured. Along with two hired crewmen, the narrator pumped out the water from the ship for a continuous 36 hours. He also tried repairing the parts of the ship. He almost lost his hope and believed they would die. But his children were fearless and courageous enough which gave him the determination to fight back.
The third section: Victory
With the support of his children, the narrator kept trying to save the ship in order to reach the two small islands, lle Amsterdam. They finally reached their destination and got help from the inhabitants of the island. His son called him the best daddy and best captain.
Talking about the Text
1. What difference did you notice between the reaction of the adults and the children when faced with danger?
Ans: There was a huge difference between the reaction of the adults and the children. The adults lose their hope at the end and wait for their fate of death. On the other hand, the children were hopeful and gave the narrator moral support. With the support of his children, Jonathan and Suzanne, he decided to make it to the island at any cost. The children showed maturity. His son expressed courage as to how he wasn’t afraid to die if they all were together. His daughter made him a card expressing her love and affection towards her parents and wrote a beautiful message. She was injured still, she didn’t let it become a hurdle for her parents who were trying to save the ship.
2. How does the story suggest that optimism helps to endure “the direst stress”?
Ans: Optimism is the determination to overcome any challenges. Without optimism, it is impossible to face difficulties and solve problems. The family fought with the sea with great optimism and determination which ultimately saved them. Again and again, on being attacked by the sea, they didn’t stop trying which helped them get to the shore of the lle Amsterdam island.
When the son of the narrator told him,” we aren’t afraid of dying if we can all be together — you and Mummy, Sue and I”. This showed the maturity of the children and how they played an important role in motivating the narrator who had almost lost hope. Sue, his daughter who made him a card showed how she was proud of her parents and didn’t make a big deal of her injuries which were in a bad condition. With the struggles and efforts, they finally made it to their destination.
3. What lessons do we learn from such hazardous experiences when we are face-to-face with death?
Ans: Life is never about being happy all the time. We are constantly tested and how we tackle every problem and rise through it is the ultimate lesson. Such hazardous situations teach us how we should react towards them. We must never lose hope and keep trying as it will lead to success. In certain situations, one must keep calm and think logically. No matter how bad the situation is, there is always a way to get out of it. Significance of being extra cautious and making sure that the situation doesn’t get worse is required at such moments.
4. Why do you think people undertake such adventurous expeditions in spite of the risks involved?
Ans: The willingness to accept challenges drives people to take such adventurous expeditions in spite of the risk involved. People like to try different elements of nature and some do it as a passion. Surely people already know of the risks involved in such activities, but still, they do not hesitate to try it out.
We are Not Afraid to Die Grammar Exercises
Thinking about Language
1. We have come across words like ‘gale’ and ‘storm’ in the account. Here are two more words for ‘storm’: typhoon, cyclone. How many words does your language have for ‘storm’?
Ans: In Hindi, there are many words for ‘storm’ – toofan, aandhi, andhad, etc.
2. Here are the terms for different kinds of vessels: yacht, boat, canoe, ship, steamer, schooner. Think of similar terms in your language.
Ans: ‘Kashti’, ‘Naav’, ‘Nauka’, ‘Jahaz’ are some terms in Hindi.
3. ‘Catamaran’ is a kind of a boat. Do you know which Indian language this word is derived from? Check the dictionary.
Ans: The word ‘Catamaran’ is derived from the Tamil language word ‘Kattumaram’.
4. Have you heard any boatmen’s songs? What kind of emotions do these songs usually express?
Ans: Yes, Such Boatmen songs express love and nostalgia. They also express the longing to meet the loved ones.
Working with Words
1. The following words used in the text as ship terminology are also commonly used in another sense. In what contexts would you use the other meaning?
Knot: a) a tangled mass in something
b) interlacing, looping, etc.
Stern: harsh, firm, strict, etc.
Boom – a) to experience a sudden rapid growth
b) to increase in popularity
Hatch: a) to cause an egg to break in order to allow a young animal to come out
b) to make a plan
Anchor: a) host of an event
b) a person who can be relied upon for support
2. The following three compound words end in -ship. What does each of them mean?
Airship: a power-driven aircraft which is kept buoyant by a body of gas
Flagship: the ship in the fleet which carries commanding admiral
Lightship: an anchored boat with a beacon light to warn ships at sea
3. The following are the meanings listed in the dictionary against the phrase ‘take on’. In which meaning is it used in the third paragraph of the account:
|Take on sth:||to begin to have a particular quality or appearance; to assume sth|
|Take sb on:||to employ sb; to engage sb
to accept sb as one’s opponent in a game, contest or conflict
|Take sb/sth on:||to decide to do sth; to allow sth/sb to enter e.g. a bus, plane or ship; to take sth/sb on board|
In the third paragraph, in lines “… we took two crewmen to help us tackle.. roughest seas”, the word ‘took on’ means to take somebody or to hire somebody.
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