We're Not Afraid to Die...If We Can All Be Together
Introduction of the Author
Gordon Cook (born December 3, 1978, in Toronto) is a two-time Canadian Olympic sailor. He sails for the Royal Canadian Yacht Club. He is the son of Stephen Cook and Linda Cook. He had a great interest in writing stories too.
Cook is a graduate of the Engineering Physics program at Queen's University. At Queen's University, he also met his 2008 Olympic team partner Ben Remocker, where they were members of the university sailing team. Cook and Remocker became the first Canadians to sail a 49er in an Olympic Regatta at the 2008 Beijing Olympics, where they finished 14th.
In 2009 Cook partnered up with West Vancouver sailor Hunter Lowden and the two campaigned together for the 2012 Olympic games. While Cook and Lowden did not make the first round of qualifications at the 2011 ISAF worlds in December 2011, they did qualify at the 2012 49er worlds in Croatia making Cook the only person ever to represent Canada twice in the 49er Class at the Olympics Games. Cook and Lowden came third in the first race of the 49er class in the 2012 Olympic games but did not qualify for the medal race.
Alan East: -
Alan was admitted to the Roll of Solicitors in 2003 and has gained extensive experience as a litigator, manager, and legal trainer. In 2004 he co-founded and managed a niche legal practice specialising in Criminal Litigation and Prison Law gaining higher rights of audience in criminal proceedings and working as a Duty Solicitor. In 2007 he joined the Crown Prosecution Service as a Senior Crown Prosecutor.
In 2010 Alan joined Coventry University as a Senior Lecturer in Law and works passionately to support access to justice working closely with Central England Law Centre. In 2016 he became a director of Coventry Independent Advice Service.
Finally, Alan is a co-founder of a multi-academy trust Central Academies Trust which has as its aim improving standards in Secondary Education.
This chapter deals with a first-person account of an adventurous ordeal that one family experiences. The author gives a brief about the voyage, taken by his family to duplicate round the world voyage which was made 200 years earlier by Captain James Cook.
The author and his family had always dreamt of sailing in the British Waters. In this chapter, you will study about the adventure and the struggle of this family during the voyage. The never accepting defeat attitude by all the family members is beautiful to learn.
Author – A 37-year old businessman who has dreamt to sail and has spent many years honing his sailing skills to finally achieve his dream of sailing in the British Waters.
Mary – Author’s wife, a woman with courage. She supports her husband’s dream of sailing and is ever ready to face any adventures.
Jonathan – Author’s – 6-year-old son. A little boy with great wisdom and understands the importance of family and wishes to be together even if they all die.
Suzanne – 7-year-old girl with patience and perseverance. She dares to endure pain and chooses to remain silent, not to bother her father. She understands the severity of the situation and behaves way ahead of her age.
Larry Vigil – American crewman.
Herb Seigler – Swiss crewman to help the family sail in the Indian Ocean.
The story We’re Not Afraid to Die speaks about the adventures of a family which is out on a voyage. This story is an encounter described by the author which he experienced while taking the voyage. You will witness a stream of unfortunate events that lead to a disaster for this family living its dream of sailing. The story brings many emotions which helps you to understand the importance of bonding in a family and you will see how each member of the family perseveres to survive this deadly situation.
In this story, all the characters are brave and love each other immensely. The surprise package is the kids who show great courage in such a difficult time and give moral support to their father who struggles to save everyone. The story represents how courage can help you overcome any situation. It beautifully highlights the struggle of each member of the family and the combined efforts of all the members that helped them survive such a catastrophic event.
The story also shows the struggle of a father determined to save his family and leaves no stone unturned to bring the situation under control. It also brings the combined efforts of each character to fight this situation. The little boy Jonathan exhibits a great deal of courage and is also ready to die if all his family members are together. All that matters is that they are together. The young girl Suzanne is seriously injured but chooses not to bother her father who is struggling to save everyone.
This entire story revolves around the family and their positive attitude which saved everyone. The whole family stands together and fights this situation with an indomitable spirit. The story shows how unity might help you to overcome the toughest of situations. The family members trust the author and how their faith in him boost his confidence to fight. In this chapter, you will learn how your attitude can affect your performance in any situation.
A dream to duplicate the round-the-world voyage
The narrator, a 37-year-old businessman and his wife Mary have dreamt to voyage around the world like the famous Captain James Cook. For the voyage, they have been perfecting their seafaring skills for the past 16 years. They have got a professionally built, 23 metre and 30 ton wooden-hulled boat, Wavewalker. The boat has been tested for months in the roughest of the weathers.
In July 1976, the narrator, together with his wife and kids (son Jonathan, 6 and daughter Suzanne, 7) sets sail from Plymouth, England. The initial period of the three-year journey (from the west coast of Africa to Cape Town) proves to be quite pleasant. Before heading east, they employ two crewmen, namely, Larry Vigil and Herb Seigler to help them tackle one of the world’s roughest seas, the southern Indian Ocean.
The second day they encounter strong winds and alarming waves. By December 25, they manage to reach 3,500 kilometres east of Cape Town. Despite the bad weather, the family celebrates Christmas on the boat. However, the weather worsens with the passing time.
A catastrophe- the attack of the huge wave
On the early morning of January 2, the family faces strong, mighty waves and screaming winds. They attempt to slow down the boat by dropping the storm jib. They carry out life-raft drill and prepare themselves for the worst-case scenario by donning life jackets and oilskins.
Later in the evening, a “perfectly vertical”, huge, tremendous wave hits the deck of the boat throwing the narrator off the boat. He accepts his ‘approaching death’ and begins to lose consciousness. The boat is just about to overturn when another huge wave comes and turns it right back. The narrator grabs the guard rails and sails into the boat’s main boom. He suffers injuries in his ribs and mouth.
Realising that the ship had water in its lower parts, he instructs Mary to take the wheel, while Larry and Herb pump out the water. He checks on the children in their cabin, where Sue informs him about a bump on her head to which he does not pay much attention.
The narrator begins waterproofing the gaping holes. Most of the water now deviated to the side. However, their hand-pumps block due to debris and the electric-pump gets short-circuited. Fortunately, he finds a spare electric pump and connects it to an out-pipe in order to drain out the water.
They keep pumping and steering all night long. Even their Mayday calls are not answered as they are in a remote corner of the world.
Sue’s head swells, her eyes go black and has a deep cut on her arm. On being asked about her injuries, she replies to her father that she did not want to bother him when he was trying to save them.
The family manages to survive for 15 hours since the wave hit the boat. The water levels are controlled to a considerable level, but they still have leaks below the waterline. They decide to rest and work in rotations.
The wave had left Wavewalker in a considerably bad state. Since it is not in a condition to make them reach Australia, they decide and hope to reach the nearest island, Ile Amsterdam, a French scientific base. Unfortunately, the chances to reach the island are very slim unless the wind and seas subside. Besides, their supporting engine had also been damaged.
After pumping out the water for 36 hours continuously, they take a sigh of relief as just a few centimetres of water is left to be pumped out. They decide to hoist the storm jib as the main mast is destroyed and head towards the supposed location of the islands.
Having found some corned beef and crackers, they eat their first meal in two days.
However, their relief is short-lived. The weather starts changing for the worse and by the morning of January 5, they are again left desperate.
As the narrator goes to comfort the children, he is left spellbound to see the fearlessness of his son, Jonathan, who says that he does not fear death as long as they all are together. This fills the narrator with determination and courage to fight the sea.
He tries his best to protect the weakened starboard side. That evening, the narrator and his wife sit together holding hands, feeling hopeless and thinking that their end is approaching. But still with all the moral support that he receives from his children, he continues his efforts. Fortunately, Wavewalker sails through the storm. He works on the wind speeds in order to calculate their exact position. While he is thinking, Sue gives him a greeting card expressing her love, gratitude, and optimism.
Though he is not very convinced, he instructs Larry to steer a course of 185 degrees saying that if they are lucky, they can hope to find the island by the evening. He then goes to sleep with a heavy heart.
Fortunately, they sail on and manage to find Ile Amsterdam by evening. On being informed about this, the narrator's joy knows no bound. Jonathan calls him the “best captain” and the “best daddy” in the whole world. Soon, they get offshore and struggle to reach the island with the help of its inhabitants.
Stepping on the land after such turmoil fills the narrator’s thoughts with cheerful and optimistic Larry and Herbie; supportive Mary; a brave seven-year-old girl who did not want her parents to worry about her head injuries and a six-year-old boy who is not afraid to die.
Question 1.List the steps taken by the captain
(i) to protect the ship when rough weather began.
(ii) to check the flooding of water in the ship.
(i) In order to protect the ship from rough weather, the captain decided to slow it down. So, he dropped the storm jib and lashed a heavy mooring rope in a loop across the stern. Then they double-fastened everything and went through their life-raft drill, attached lifelines and donned oilskins and life jackets.
(ii) To check the flooding of water in the ship, the captain made some repairs and stretched waterproof oilskins in the openings. He secured waterproof hatch covers across the gaping holes which diverted the water to the side. When the two handpumps were lost overboard and the electric pump short-circuited, he found another electric pump and connected it to an out-pipe and managed to pump out the water.
Question 2. Describe the mental condition of the voyagers on 4th and 5th January.
Answer: On 4th January, the mental condition of the voyagers was vacillating between hope and despair. After 36 hours of continuous pumping they could pump much of the water out. But they had to keep pace with the water still coming in. However, their respite was only short-lived. The storm started building up and the situation again became worse.
The narrator went to comfort the children. Jon asked innocently if they were ‘going to die’ but added that he did not mind dying as long as all the family members were together. This statement of the narrator’s child boosted his morale. He became resolute to fight the sea. Those were critical moments for all of them. Mary and the narrator sat together holding each other’s hands. They were scared and felt that their end was very near.
Question 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.
Answer: The text has been divided into three sections
Section 1:Disaster Strikes This part describes the narrator’s desire to go sailing around the world, the preparations they made and the start of their journey and the coming storm. The family celebrates a wonderful Christmas. However, by the New Year the sea becomes rough and the next evening an enormous wave wrecks the ship and injures the narrator and his family members.
Section 2: Survival Attempts and Searching for Land
This section describes the frantic efforts to save the boat from flooding and the display of heroism by all in the face of disaster. Near the end of this section, the efforts of the narrator to navigate to some nearby islands for safety is mentioned, which the narrator terms as ‘pinpricks in the vast ocean’.
Section 3: Triumph of the Spirit This part describes the triumph of the spirit and seamanship of the narrator as they reach an island safely. Fittingly, the narrator is given the title of ‘The best daddy and the best captain’ by his son.
Discuss the following questions with your partner.
Question 1. What difference did you notice between the reaction of the children and the adults when faced with danger?
Answer: There was not much difference between the reaction of the children and the adults when faced with danger. However, it was not on the expected lines, as the children were only 6 and 7 years old.
When the adults faced the danger, they were anxious and found ways of battling it. Later, when the motion of the boat brought more and more water in, both Mary and the narrator sat holding hands as they felt the end was very near.
On the other hand, the children showed great courage and did not get lose hope. When Sue hurt herself, she did not worry others about her injury. When the narrator went in to comfort them, Jon said, that they weren’t afraid to die if they could all be together. Sue also gave a card to the narrator that she made with the message of hope.
Thus, the children showed greater positivity than their parents. Hence, we can say that the children were more optimistic than the adults.
Question 2. How does the story suggest that optimism helps to endure “the direst stress”?
Answer: The voyagers did not even once lose their hope or show any weakness.
When the waves were high, the hopeful crew slowed the ship down, fastened everything with a mooring rope and went through the life-raft drill. When the storm struck their ship, the captain was almost killed, and the ship was nearly a wreck. However, he held onto the wheel. Water was getting into the ship, but Larry and Herb kept pumping like madmen. This shows that they were not willing to give in to danger and were ready to fight it.
They didn’t lose hope. Even the little girl was so brave that she didn’t inform her parents about her injuries. The little boy, an epitome of courage, said that he was not afraid of dying. All this gave the captain a new hope and a will to fight.
The narrator checked and calculated that their only chance of survival was a 65-kilometre-wide island in 150000 square kilometres of ocean. Still they set sail towards it. They were optimistic about finding the small island in the vast ocean. Finally, they set foot on land and survived. Their optimism paid off. All this shows that optimism was the key to their survival. It helped them endure the direst stress.
Question 3. What lessons do we learn from such hazardous experiences when we are face-to-face with death?
Answer: Such experiences teach us that courage, perseverance and tolerance can achieve what seem to be insurmountable odds. They teach us how to react in the most difficult situations. They make us learn to never lose hope and find reasons to stay positive and optimistic in the face of adversity. We learn to try our best to stay calm and composed. We also understand the importance of unity and teamwork and how to utilise our common sense, skill, and efforts to avert any catastrophe. Further, we learn to be very careful and cautious in our actions when facing such hazardous experiences.
Question 4. Why do you think people undertake such adventurous expeditions in spite of the risks involved?
Answer: The world is full of all sorts of people. Most of them like to lead a risk-free and peaceful life, but there are a few among us who believe that if we want to live life to the fullest, we have to go beyond the day-to-day routine. They don’t hesitate even to undertake dangerous expeditions. If that were not the case, a lot of mysteries, places and events would not be known to the world.
Such expeditions are risky. But still people go on them without caring for even death or disaster. They are very daring. It takes much courage to perform such tasks. For them life is a battle which can be won only after fighting for it, rather than sitting relax and carefree. The history of mankind shows that our progress owes much to such brave and fearless people.
Question 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’?
Answer: In Hindi, ‘storm’ is known as ‘aandhi’, ‘toofan’, ‘jhanjavat’ and ‘chakravat’.
Question 2. Here are the terms for different kinds of vessels: yacht, boat, canoe, ship, steamer, schooner. Think of similar terms in your language.
Answer: ‘Naav’, ‘Nauka’, ‘Pot’, ‘Jahaaz’ and ‘Kishti’ are some of the words used in Hindi for the word ‘boat’.
Question 3. ‘Catamaran’ is a kind of a boat. Do you know which Indian language this word is derived from? Check the dictionary.
Answer: The word ‘Catamaran’ is derived from the Tamil word ‘Kattumaram’, that means ‘tied wood’. Catamaran is a name applied to any craft having twin hulls. Originally, it denoted a form of sailing and paddling raft employed on the coasts of India.
Question 4.” Have you heard any boatmen’s songs? What kind of emotions do these songs usually express?
Answer: Yes, we have heard boatmen’s songs. They usually express love and nostalgia. They revolve around the longing to meet a loved one or express their love for the sea.
Question 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 stem boom hatch anchor
(i) in a rope / string / ribbon: a joint made by tying together two pieces of rope / string / ribbon etc.
e.g. Tying a knot while wearing a tie
(ii) (verb) way of tying two ropes / strings,
e.g. knot together two ropes
(iii) a tangled mass.
e.g. many ropes / strings jumbled together which . are hard to separate
(iv) a tight group of people.
e.g. A knot of people surrounded the politician.
(v) tight feeling or tenseness.
e.g. I could feel a knot of fear in my throat.
(vi) a lump in a tree trunk.
e.g. The old tree had many knots on its trunk.
(vii) a dark round patch in a plank of wood.
e.g. The wooden plank was of poor quality due to having too many knots.
(viii) lump in the outer surface of the body.
e.g. The old man had many knots on his face and back.
(i) serious and usually disapproving.
e.g. The teacher gave the student a stem look.
e.g. The father gave a stem warning to his son.
(iii) serious and difficult.
e.g. The government faced stem opposition to the new law.
(i) (noun) sudden increase in trade and economic activity.
e.g. A boom occurred before 2008.
(ii) (noun) increase in popularity.
e.g. The boom in cricket tournaments is giving much money to players and sponsors.
(iii) (noun) a large increase in quantity.
e.g. A population boom occurred after the war ended.
(iv) (noun) a deep loud sound.
e.g. the boom of the cannons could be heard far away.
(v) (noun/adjective) long pole for a microphone / the microphone fixed on a long pole.
e.g. The boom mike could be stretched right across the stage.
(vi) (verb) making a loud sound.
e.g. A voice suddenly boomed out of the darkness.
(i) (verb) to come out of an egg.
e.g. The chicken takes many days to hatch from an egg.
(ii) (verb) to create a plan.
e.g. The thieves took a long time to hatch a plan for robbing the bank.
(iii) (noun) opening in a wall between two rooms.
e.g. The kitchen had a serving hatch to the dining room
(i) (noun) person or thing giving a feeling of safety,
e.g. The grandfather was the anchor of the family in all the crises they faced.
(ii) (noun) co-ordinator of a programme.
e.g. Satish is the anchor of this popular TV programme.
(iii) (verb) fix firmly in position.
e.g. The athlete anchored his foot on the starting block.
(iv) (verb) base on some subject.
e.g. Premchand’s stories are anchored in real life.
Question 2. The following three compound words end in ship. What does each of them mean?
Airship flagship lightship
(a) airship A large aircraft without wings, filled in its balloon with a gas which is lighter than air. It is driven by an engine.
(i) (noun) The main ship in a fleet which also carries the navy’s flag.
e.g. The flagship carried the tricolour.
(ii) (adjective) The most important product / service / programme that an organisation owns or produces.
e.g. The flagship programme of BBC TV is its World News.
(c) lightship A small ship with a powerful fight that stays at a fixed point at sea to warn other ships to stay away because of some danger.
Question 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 the lines “…….. we took on two crewmen to help us tackle ……. roughest seas …….”, the phrase ‘take on’ means ‘to employ’ or ‘to engage’.
Short Questions and Answers
Question 1. Where did the narrator want to go? Why?
Answer: The narrator and his family loved adventures. The narrator wanted to duplicate the ‘round-the-world’ voyage made by the famous explorer Captain James Cook 200 years ago. So, he set sail in Wavewalker, a boat specially designed and made for the purpose. Perhaps the dangers and adventure involved in the voyage and their desire to accomplish something unique beckoned them to undertake the journey.
Question 2. What preparations did the narrator and his wife make for their round-the-world sea voyage?
Answer: The narrator and his wife wanted to ‘duplicate’ the round-the-world voyage made 200 years ago by Captain James Cook. They had been making formidable preparations for the last 16 years. First of all, they got a boat especially designed and professionally built for this purpose. They tested it for months in the roughest weather. They spent all their leisure time in strengthening their seafaring skills in British waters. They were both mentally and physically prepared to undertake their exceptionally long and challenging sea voyage.
Question 3. Describe the boat Wavewalker.
Answer: The narrator wanted to duplicate the round-the-world voyage made by Captain James Cook 200 years ago. In order to undertake this journey, they got a boat built professionally. The boat, named Wavewalker, was a 23 metre, 30 ton wooden-hulled sailboat. They had spent months fitting it out and testing it in the roughest weather they could find.
Question 4. Why did they take on two crewmen with them at Cape Town?
Answer: Before heading East from Cape Town, they took on two crewmen who were experienced seamen. They were Larry Vigil, an American and Herb Seigler, a Swiss. The narrator took this step because he knew that they would require help to tackle one of the world’s roughest seas – the southern Indian Ocean.
Question 5. What troubles did they face after completing the first leg of their journey?
Answer: The first leg of their journey passed pleasantly as they sailed down the West Coast of Africa to Cape Town. But the trouble started when they left Cape Town.
On the second day out of Cape Town, they began to encounter strong gales. Gales didn’t worry the narrator, but the size of the waves was alarming. They rose as high as the main mast. The howling of the wind and the spray was painful to the ears.
Question 6. How did the voyagers celebrate their Christmas and where?
Answer: On Christmas Day, the voyagers were 3500 kms East of Cape Town in the southern Indian Ocean. Though the sea was rough, they enjoyed a wonderful holiday. They celebrated Christmas singing carols complete with a Christmas tree with them. They expected the weather to improve but it didn’t.
Question 7. How was the weather on the morning of 2nd January?
Answer: On New Year’s Day, the weather saw no improvement and was bad. On 2nd January, it got even worse. The waves were gigantic. They were sailing with only a small storm jib but still were going pretty fast. As the ship rose to the top of each wave, they could see the endless, enormous sea rolling towards them. The wind seemed to be howling.
Question 8. What attempts did the narrator make to protect himself and his family from the huge waves?
Answer: The waves were gigantic on 2nd January. In order to protect themselves, they decided to slow down the boat. They dropped the storm jib and lashed a heavy mooring rope in a loop across the stem. Then they double-lashed everything, went through their life-raft drill, attached lifelines, donned oilskins and life jackets, and prepared themselves for the worst-case scenario.
Question 9. What were the first indications of the ‘impending disaster ‘that ultimately struck them on January 2?
Answer: The first indication of the impending disaster came at about 6 pm on January 2. An ominous silence prevailed all around. The wind dropped. The sky immediately grew dark. Then came a growing roar. A huge vertical wave, almost twice the height of the other waves, came roaring towards the ship. These were the indications of the coming disaster.
Question 10. What happened after the ‘ominous silence’?
Answer: The ominous silence was the first indication of impending disaster. The wind dropped and the sky immediately grew dark. The narrator saw what he thought as an enormous cloud coming towards the ship. With horror he realised that it was not a cloud but a wave like no other he had ever seen. It was almost twice the height of other waves.
The wave hit the boat and wrecked it completely. Water gushed from all sides and the boat started filling with water.
Question 11. What was the result of the ‘tremendous explosion’?
Answer: The gigantic wave hit the boat and a tremendous explosion shook the deck. A torrent of green and white water broke over the ship.
The narrator’s head smashed against the wheel and he was flung overboard. He was almost dead and the whole ship was reduced to a wreck.
Others were also hurt in the process. Then the frantic efforts to save the boat and everybody’s life began.
Question 12. How did the narrator accept his ‘approaching death’ and why was he still peaceful?
Answer: The narrator saw a torrent of green and white water breaking over the ship. His head had smashed into the wheel. He felt himself flying overboard and sinking below the waves.
He was losing consciousness. He accepted his approaching death without murmuring. He felt quite peaceful even when death was approaching and Wavewalker was near capsizing.
Question 13.How did the narrator hurt himself on January 2?
Answer: The narrator hurt himself very badly on January 2 when a tremendously high wave hit their boat and he was initially thrown overboard before being tossed back by the wave to hit the boom of the boat. Subsequent waves tossed him around the deck like a rag doll, cracking his left ribs and breaking his teeth.
Question 14. “I had no time to worry about bumped heads”, says the narrator. What problem do you think deserved his immediate attention?
Answer: The problem that deserved immediate attention was the repair of the starboard side, which had bashed open; with every wave, it was letting water enter the boat. If he did not make some repairs, the boat would have surely sunk, and they would have drowned.
Question 15. What are Mayday calls? Why was the ship getting no replies to its Mayday calls?
Answer: Mayday calls are distress signals sent through the radio by ships facing trouble in the sea. They are made to get help from other ships passing nearby.
The boat Wavewalker was not getting replies to its Mayday calls because the boat had reached a remote part of the sea where other ships did not go.
Question 16. What did Sue say when she was asked by her father about why she had not complained about her grave injuries?
Answer: Sue had been injured badly when the wave had hit the ship. Her head had swollen alarmingly. She had two black eyes and she had also showed to her parents a deep cut on her arm. When asked why she had not complained about her injuries earlier, she replied that she had not wanted to worry her parents when they were trying to save them all.
Question 17. “I didn’t want to worry you when you were trying to save us all.” What does this show about the speaker?
Answer: This shows that she was very courageous. The speaker of these lines is the little girl, Sue. She is just 7 years old. After the gigantic wave hit the ship, she was also hurt. Her head was swollen when the narrator saw her in the cabin. However, she never mentioned the deep cut in her arm because she didn’t want her father to worry about her when he was trying to save everybody else.
Question 18.What happened on the morning of 3rd January?
Answer: By the morning of 3rd January, they had managed to pump out the water out of the boat to a reasonable level and the situation was under control but, they suspected a huge leak somewhere and found that nearly all the boat’s main rib frames were damaged down to its bottom. The narrator knew that Wavewalker will not be able to hold together long enough to reach Australia. So, the narrator made some calculations and found two small islands a few hundred kilometres to the East. They hoped to reach one of them.
.Question 19. What were the chances of the voyagers’ survival after the big wave hit them?
Answer: The chances of the survival of the Wave walker’s crew were very bleak. They somehow survived for 15 hours after the wave hit the boat. But the
narrator knew that the Wavewalker was not going to hold on much longer. He checked his charts and calculated that there were two small islands a few hundred kilometres to the East. Their only hope of survival was to reach these islands in the vast ocean.
Question 20. Why did the narrator and his wife Mary feel that ‘the end was very near’? What situation made them feel so?
Answer: The situation which made them feel that “the end was very near” that at 4 PM on January 4, black clouds began building up behind their boat, within an hour the wind increased to 40 knots and the waves were getting higher. The weather continued to deteriorate throughout the night, and by dawn on January 5, the motion of the boat brought more and more water in through the broken planks. Thus, they felt that the boat would sink, and they would all die.
Question 21. How and when did Wavewalker ride out the storm? How did the narrator feel at that time?
Answer: The Wavewalker rode out the storm on the morning of January 6 when the wind eased. He was able to calculate the boat’s position using the sextant and accordingly he asked Larry to steer the boat towards lie Amsterdam, as he was very tired. The narrator felt that they had to survive, seeing the optimism of his two children. But he was still having doubts about it and so felt heavy-hearted. But his calculations proved correct and they reached lie Amsterdam by evening.
Question 22.Justify the title of the story: “We’re Not Afraid to Die…”
Answer: “We’re Not Afraid to Die…if We Can All Be Together” is the story of rare courage and perseverance that was shown by the narrator, his crewmen, his wife and children. Everybody confronted the disaster with patience, courage, and determination. Even the children showed courage. They did not give up hope even till the last moment. The narrator made all possible attempts to save their lives. Like his father, Jon reacted very bravely that they were not afraid to die, but it would be better if they died together. Hence, the title is apt and logically justified.
Question 23. Why did Jonathan call the narrator, the best daddy and best captain in the world?
Answer: Jonathan called the narrator the best daddy and the best captain in the world because they had reached the island lie Amsterdam. His son was expressing his relief and gratitude towards his father due to the narrator’s devotion to save them all from death as well as his seafaring skills. He was the “best daddy” because his devotion to them helped them survive the storm with his efforts to keep the boat afloat. He was the “best captain” because he had correctly enabled them to steer to the island so that they survived.
Question 24.Why did the narrator call lie Amsterdam the most beautiful island in the world?
Answer: lie Amsterdam was the only hope of survival for the voyagers and so, when they reached there, it looked the most beautiful island in the world to the narrator. He was successful in saving his family and crewmen by reaching it. He had won the fight for survival. If they had not reached the island, they surely would have sunk.
Question 25. Describe lie Amsterdam. How did its inhabitants behave with the newcomers?
Answer: lie Amsterdam was a French scientific base. It was ‘a bleak piece of volcanic rock’. It had little vegetation but still it appeared to be ‘the most beautiful island in the world’. The boat anchored offshore for the night. The next morning all 28 inhabitants of the island cheered them and helped them ashore.
Question 26. What did the narrator think of on landing at The Amsterdam? Why?
Answer: The narrator felt very happy for landing on the island because he lost all his hope of becoming alive in the ocean and when he got to know that he find the ale Amsterdam island. there was a new hope in the eyes of the narrator and his child's. also say him the best dad in the world.
Long Questions and Answers
Question 1. Highlight the tremendous courage and forbearance shown by the two children during the struggle to keep the boat from sinking. What values do you learn from them?
Answer: The two children, Suzanne, and Jonathan, showed tremendous courage and forbearance during the epic struggle put up by their parents and the crewmen to keep the boat from sinking. Sue had been injured badly when the big wave hit the boat. Her head had swollen alarmingly, and both her eyes were hind. She also had a deep cut on her arm. But she did not complain about her injuries as she did not want to worry her parents when they were trying to save them. When the author went to comfort the children, his son Jonathan, asked him if they were going to die. When he was assured that they would survive, he told his father that they were not afraid of dying if they could be together. Moreover, Sue had patience and power enough to even draw the caricatures of her parents with a message of hope and gratitude to her parents. The children, thus, exhibit extraordinary patience, courage, and tolerance.
Question 2. “We’re Not Afraid to Die” is a saga of patience and bravery. Comment.
Answer: The story ‘We’re Not Afraid to Die’ is a story of the rare courage and perseverance of the narrator’s family. The narrator’s undertaking to replicate Captain James Cook’s voyage was a challenging task, as they had to sail in some of the roughest seas. However, the voyagers kept their spirits high and made efforts to save the boat and their lives. Even in the worst of circumstances, the captain did not give up hope and tried his best to protect the ship from flooding. AU the dangers and disasters were confronted with patience, courage, and determination.
Even the children showed exemplary courage. They were not afraid to die if they were all together. The two crewmen continuously pumped out water and never complained. They trusted their captain and
worked as a team. Luckily, the voyagers were able to come out of a near death experience due to their never-say-die attitude. Thus, the story proves to be a saga of patience and bravery.
Question 3. The hurdles of life can be challenged if we have confidence to make optimum use of our potential. Elaborate.
Answer: The statement holds true in the light of the story ‘We’re Not Afraid to Die…….’. The narrator along with his wife, children, and two crewmen overcame the worst situations and defeated death by fighting the adverse situations which cropped up during their voyage. When the big wave hit the boat, it was severely damaged, and the narrator was badly injured. However, he did not pay attention to it and held on to the wheel. Both Larry and Herb kept pumping out water and did not stop.
Moreover, when the handpumps stopped working and the electric pump short-circuited, he did not lose confidence and used electric pump to drive out water from the boat. Even the children had confidence in their father, and they hoped to survive. They also: showed great courage. Jon said that they were not afraid to die if they are all together. Sue made a card to thank her parents. It was a great example of unity and trust that they had on each other,
Thus, it can be concluded that by staying optimistic like the children and making the best use of your potential like the narrator, one can fight adversities and be a winner.
Question 4. The reaction of the crew and children gives us an insight into the human mind and how it can help us to survive any disaster. Discuss.
Answer: The reaction of the crew and children gives us an insight into the human mind. The crew reacted to the danger with a fighting spirit and optimism. Their undaunted efforts helped them to survive the disaster. On the other hand, the children showed amazing maturity and resilience in the face of disaster. They remained strong and composed.
Despite serious injuries, both the children displayed courage and patience.
Adopting a courageous attitude in times of difficulties motivates one to face the upheavals of life courageously. It is rightly said “Cowards die many times before their death; the valiant face death only once”, and when the valiant do die,
they die a hero’ death. The story inspires us to maintain our calm in a crisis. Stress and panic only worsen the situation. If we accept difficulties as a way of life and face them with a brave front, they soon fade away. By being positive and not losing faith in ourselves can help us to survive any disaster.