NCERT Solutions for Class 11 for English Chapter We are Not Afraid to Die by Gordon Cook and Alan East
We're Not Afraid to Die...if We Can All Be Together
Gordon Cook and Alan East
1. Notice these expressions in the text. Infer their meaning from the context.
honing our seafaring skills
pinpricks in the vast ocean
a tousled head
- Honing our seafaring skills: It refers to the efforts made by the author and his wife, to improve their seafaring skills.
- Ominous silence: It means the impending danger.
- Mayday calls: They are the international radio signals used by aircraft and ships needing help when they are in danger.
- Pinpricks in the vast ocean: It refers to the search for two small islands in the vast ocean.
- A tousled head: This phrase indicates the disarranged hair of the author's son, Jonathan
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.
(i) The capitan took a decision to slow the ship down for protecting it from rough weather. He dropped the storm jib and lashed heavy mooring rope in a loop across the stern. Then they double-lashed everything, went through their life-raft drill, attached lifelines, donned oilskins, life jackets and waited.
(ii) The captain put waterproof hatch covers across the gaping holes to check the flooding of water in the ship. When the two hand pumps were blocked and electric pump short circuited, he found another electric pump, connected it to an out-pipe and started it.
2. Describe the mental condition of the voyagers on 4 and 5 January.
After rigorous practice of continuous pumping, the voyagers felt relieved on January 4 and 5. They ate their first meal in almost two days. However, they again faced dangerous situation on January 5. They were all under great mental stress as the fear of death loomed large.
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: In the first section the narrator describes cheerfully the preparation for the round-the-world voyage like Captain James Cook did. They spend much time for improving their seafaring skills. They construct an enormous boat named Wavewalker and set sail from Plymouth, England in June 1976. It is a smooth sailing till they reach Cape Town.
The second section: In this section, we can find a shift in the narration as the narrator describes the risks and menaces faced by the voyagers. When a huge wave hits their boat and the narrator is thrown overboard, they find themselves in an extremely disastrous situation. Though they can somehow manage the attack of the huge wave they continue to face bad weather conditions and the narrator loses hope.
The third section: In this section, the narrator focuses on the moral support provided by the and how he continues with his efforts and manage to reach Amsterdam. The children gives him the titles "the best daddy" and "the best captain".
We can give the following subtitles for the above three sections:
a) The first section: Setting Sail for the Round-the-world Voyage
b) The second section: Sailing in the Rough Sea
c) The third section: Overcoming the Hurdles
Talking about the Text
1. What difference did you notice between the reaction of the adults and the children when faced with danger?
There are many differences in the reactions of the adults and the children when they faced danger. The adults lose hope and wait for their end with a heavy heart. At the same time the children are found more optimistic and they motivate the adults with their moral support. They exhibit more maturity and tolerance. We can see Jonathan expressing his fearlessness and courage. Sue is also found courageous as she does not let her parents know about her serious injuries. She displays her maturity as she feels it is inappropriate to bother her when they all are in great trouble.
2. How does the story suggest that optimism helps to endure "the direst stress"?
Optimism refers to a feeling that good things will happen in spite of difficulties and that something will be successful. Being optimistic helps people overcome stress and hurdles. The story highlights the courage and optimism displayed by the narrator’s family while they were sailing in the rough sea. The author is motivated when Jonathan says that they are not afraid of dying if they can all be together. The level of optimism and determination in the author rises when he sees the caricatures of him and Mary, drawn by Sue. The positive outlook of the children infuses positivity in the narrator. Even though he has lost all hope, he does not show it and optimistically tells Larry that they will spot the island by about 5 P.M. At the end, it is nothing but their optimism pays off that they are successful to reach the island.
3. What lessons do we learn from such hazardous experiences when we are face-to-face with death?
The students may prepare their own answer based on their experiences and understanding. Some cues are given below for the reference purpose:
Lessons on courage and perseverance– how to remain calm and composed under the direst stress – teaching not to lose heart –Being cheerful and optimistic even at the times of adversity – the power team work and unity – being cautious and careful during the menaces
4. Why do you think people undertake such adventurous expeditions in spite of the risk involved?
There are different reasons why people undertake adventurous expeditions. Some people have the passionate interest in exploring the world and experience something new and unique. There are also people who feel that they should go beyond day-to-day routine, if they want to live life to the fullest. Some others have an urge to do something different than the ordinary people do so that they take up adventurous expedition. There can be a few who want to attain name and fame by doing something adventurous. With their undaunted passion and willingness to accept challenges people don’t bother much about the risks involved in these kinds of expeditions.
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?
In Hindi, 'storm' is known as 'toofan', 'aandhi', 'andhad', etc.
1. Here are the terms of different kinds of vessels: yacht, boat, canoe, ship, steamer, schooner. Think of similar terms in your language.
In Hindi we use the words like 'Nauka', 'Jahaaz', 'Naav' for the word 'boat'.
2. 'Catamaran' is a kind of a boat. Do you know which Indian language this word is derived from? Check the dictionary.
The word 'Catamaran' is derived from Tamil word 'Kattumaram'.
3. Have you heard any boatmen's songs? What kind of emotions do these songs usually express?
Yes, Boatmen’s songs usually express their love for sea. Sometimes they sing songs of praise for the sea god.
They also express their love and longing to meet their loved ones through these songs.
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 Stern boom hatch anchor
Knot: a) a way of twisting hair into a small round shape at the back of the head
b) a small group of people standing close together.
Stern: a) harsh, firm and strict
c) serious and difficult
Boom: a) a loud deep sound
b) a sudden increase in the economic activity
c) to hit hard
Hatch: a) to bring forth, produce.
b) derive, concoct
c) an opening in a wall between two rooms
Anchor: a) a person who presents a live radio or television programme
b) a person or thing that gives somebody a feeling of safety
2. The following three compound words end in-ship.
What does each of them mean?
Airship Flagship Lightship
Airship: a large aircraft without wings, filled with a gas which is lighter than air, and driven by engines.
Flagship: It is the main ship carrying the officer or the commander of a fleet, squadron.
Lightship: A small ship anchored at a particular place at sea and that has a powerful light on it to warn and guide other ships.
3. The following are the meaning 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 conflicc
take sb/sth on: to decide to do sth; to allow sth/sb to enter e.g. a bus, plane or ship; co rake sth/sb on board
In the third paragraph, the phrase (took on) is used to suggest the meaning, ‘to employ or engage somebody’.