‘Deep Water’ Class 12 English Explanation & Meanings: This article provides the notes on the class 12 English lesson ‘Deep Water’ published in the book ‘Flamingo’. The notes include – themes, summary, character sketch and paragraph wise explanation and meanings. Click here for more study materials.
Theme of “Deep Water”
Unit Theme: The central theme of this unit revolves around a real-life personal account of experiencing fear and the courageous steps taken to overcome it. Through the lens of a personal narrative, readers are given insight into the emotional and psychological challenges associated with fear and the transformative journey of conquering it.
Sub-Theme: Within this unit, there is a sub-theme focusing on the psychological analysis of fear. The narrative delves into the depths of fear, exploring the emotional and mental aspects that make it a powerful and paralyzing force. It delves into the intricacies of fear, examining the impact it has on the human mind and behaviour. Through the protagonist’s experiences, readers gain an understanding of the complexities of fear, its manifestations, and the resilience of the human spirit in overcoming it.
Connections between Theme and Sub-Theme: The personal account serves as a lens through which the sub-theme of psychological analysis is explored. By narrating the protagonist’s fears and the process of overcoming them, the unit provides a vivid portrayal of fear’s psychological dimensions. Readers are offered a unique opportunity to witness the internal struggles, anxieties, and triumphs experienced by the protagonist. This intimate exploration of fear not only enriches the narrative but also offers a deeper understanding of the human psyche, making the psychological analysis more relatable and poignant for the readers.
Overall, the unit seamlessly weaves together the theme of personal triumph over fear with a nuanced exploration of the psychological intricacies that underlie this universal human experience. Through the interplay of the theme and sub-theme, readers are invited to empathize with the protagonist’s journey, fostering a profound connection between the narrative and the readers’ own emotional experiences.
I. Introduction: Fear and Its Origin
- The author narrates as when he was a young child. At the age of ten years, he faces a deep-seated fear of water, rooted in a childhood incident at the beach with their father.
- Despite warnings from their mother about the treacherous Yakima River, the child decides to learn swimming at the Y.M.C.A. pool in Yakima.
II. Facing the Fear: The Swimming Pool Challenge
- The child enters the Y.M.C.A. pool, wearing water wings, overcoming feelings of embarrassment and fear.
- An encounter with a bully at the pool leads to a terrifying experience; the child is thrown into the deep end, triggering a drowning sensation.
- The child panics, struggles, and fights desperately to resurface, but the fear intensifies as he feels paralyzed and suffocated.
III. Confronting Panic: The Desperate Struggle
- The child’s struggle intensifies as he tries to reach the surface, flailing and gasping for air.
- Despite efforts to jump off the pool floor, the child feels trapped underwater, paralyzed by fear, unable to call for help, and on the verge of losing consciousness.
IV. Triumph Over Terror: Learning to Swim
- The child’s fear remains, haunting them even in subsequent years, casting a shadow over water-related activities.
- Years later, the adult protagonist resolves to overcome their fear and enrols in swimming lessons with an instructor.
- Through consistent practice, the protagonist learns various swimming techniques, facing fear head-on and gradually gaining confidence.
V. Transformation and Liberation: A Personal Triumph
- The protagonist’s perseverance leads to a significant milestone: swimming alone in open water, symbolizing the conquest of their fear.
- The experience brings a profound psychological transformation, liberating the protagonist from the shackles of fear.
- The story concludes with the protagonist embracing life without the burden of fear, feeling released and free to explore new horizons with newfound confidence.
VI. Conclusion: Life Lessons and Personal Growth
- The narrative underscores the resilience of the human spirit, emphasizing the power of determination, support, and self-belief in overcoming paralyzing fears.
- Through the protagonist’s journey, readers learn that confronting fears, no matter how daunting, can lead to personal growth, resilience, and a renewed sense of freedom.
Character Sketch of The Author
- Courageous: Despite initial fears, the author confronts their fear of water with bravery.
- Determined: The author shows unwavering determination and resilience throughout their journey.
- Vulnerable: The author’s vulnerability creates a relatable connection with readers.
- Reflective: As an adult, the author demonstrates introspection and self-awareness.
Development and Transformation:
- Fearful Child: Initially haunted by traumatic experiences, the author overcomes childhood fears.
- Struggles and Triumphs: The author faces panic and desperation but triumphs over fear with support and effort.
- Transformation: Overcoming fear leads to a significant transformation, making the author more confident and liberated.
Interests and Relationships:
- The author is interested in swimming and displays an adventurous spirit.
- Family Ties: The author’s relationship with their concerned mother emphasizes a caring family environment.
- Instructor-Student Relationship: The author forms a mentor-student bond, showing openness to guidance.
- The author’s brave decision to confront the fear of water showcases determination and resilience.
- Successfully swimming alone in open water symbolizes the author’s triumph over fear, marking a significant turning point.
The author is a relatable and inspiring character, demonstrating the ability to overcome paralyzing fears through courage, persistence, and self-belief. Readers can empathize with the author’s journey and draw inspiration from their transformative experience.
Paragraph Wise Word Meanings & Explanation
- Y.M.C.A.: The Young Men’s Christian Association (Y.M.C.A.) is a worldwide organization that provides various recreational activities and facilities, including swimming pools, for people of all ages and backgrounds.
- Treacherous: Dangerous and unpredictable, especially in the context of water, suggesting that the Yakima River was not safe for swimming due to its hazardous conditions.
- Drowning: The process of dying from suffocation caused by submersion in water or other liquid. In the context of the story, it refers to incidents where people lost their lives in the Yakima River due to drowning.
- Water wings: Inflatable devices worn on the arms to help a person float while learning to swim, providing buoyancy and support in the water.
- Pride: A feeling of satisfaction derived from one’s achievements, qualities, or possessions. In this context, it refers to the narrator’s reluctance to reveal their body and swim in public, possibly due to self-consciousness or embarrassment.
The passage narrates a personal experience of the author when he was around ten or eleven years old. At that time, he made a decision to learn how to swim. Despite the warnings from their mother about the dangerous nature of the nearby Yakima River, the author sought a safer alternative to practice swimming. The Y.M.C.A. in Yakima had a pool that provided a secure environment for learning. The river was described as “treacherous,” emphasizing its hazardous conditions, and the mother’s constant reminders about drownings reinforced the peril associated with it.
To overcome their fear and learn to swim, the author chose the Y.M.C.A. pool. The pool was designed with safety in mind; it had a shallow end of only two or three feet deep and a gradual slope leading to a deeper area of nine feet. To assist in their swimming endeavours, the author acquired a pair of water wings, inflatable devices that aid in floating. Despite feeling self-conscious about their appearance, particularly their “skinny legs,” the author mustered the courage to overcome their pride and entered the pool, ultimately taking the first step toward learning how to swim.
In summary, the passage highlights the author’s determination to learn swimming despite the dangers associated with the nearby river. It showcases their willingness to conquer personal insecurities and fears, symbolized by their initial hesitation to reveal their body, in order to pursue the goal of learning to swim in a safe and controlled environment provided by the Y.M.C.A. pool.
- Aversion: A strong dislike or reluctance towards something. In this context, it refers to the narrator’s initial strong dislike for being in the water.
- Surf: The waves breaking on the shoreline. It represents the area where the waves crash onto the beach.
- Buried in water: Figuratively, this phrase describes the sensation of being overwhelmed or engulfed by water, emphasizing the force and fear experienced by the narrator when knocked down by waves.
- Confidence: A feeling of self-assurance arising from one’s abilities or qualities. In the context of the passage, it signifies the narrator’s growing comfort and belief in their ability to handle the water, specifically in the swimming pool.
- Misadventure: An unfortunate or unsuccessful event or undertaking. In this context, it refers to an incident that disrupts the narrator’s progress or experience in the water.
The passage continues the narrative of the narrator’s relationship with water, tracing back to their early childhood experiences. At the age of three or four, the narrator’s father took them to a beach in California. While standing together in the surf, the waves knocked the young child down, submerging them in water and causing a frightening experience. The overpowering force of the waves left the narrator terrified and gasping for breath. Despite their fear, the narrator’s father laughed, highlighting the contrast between the child’s fear and the father’s amusement at the situation.
This early traumatic experience stayed with the narrator, creating a deep aversion to water. When introduced to the Y.M.C.A. swimming pool, these unpleasant memories resurfaced, triggering childhood fears. However, with time, the narrator gradually gained confidence. He used water wings to paddle, observing other boys and attempting to learn by imitating their actions. After practicing in the pool a few times, the narrator started feeling more comfortable in the water.
The passage hints at an upcoming event or incident referred to as a “misadventure,” suggesting that despite the narrator’s efforts to overcome their fear and gain confidence in the water, something unexpected and unfortunate occurred that disrupted their progress. The nature of this misadventure is not specified in the given text, leaving it to the reader’s imagination.
- Timid: Showing a lack of confidence or courage; being shy or apprehensive. In this context, it refers to the narrator’s hesitance or reluctance to enter the pool alone.
- Bruiser: A person who is aggressive, tough, or physically strong, often implying a tendency to bully others.
- Physical specimen: Refers to a person with an impressive and well-developed physique, often used to describe someone who is muscular and athletic.
- Ducked: In this context, it means to be forcibly submerged or dunked underwater, typically in a playful or aggressive manner.
- Frightened out of my wits: Extremely scared or terrified, to the point of losing composure or rational thinking due to fear.
In this part of the story, the narrator describes a moment when he went to the swimming pool at a time when no one else was around. The atmosphere was quiet, and the pool was calm, with clear water and a clean, white tiled bottom resembling a bathtub. Despite the peaceful surroundings, the narrator felt timid about entering the pool alone and chose to wait for others to join.
During their wait, a much older and physically imposing boy, described as a “big bruiser” with a muscular physique, entered the pool area. He addressed the narrator mockingly, calling them “Skinny,” and then, without warning, picked up the narrator and threw them into the deep end of the pool. Upon landing, the narrator found themselves in a sitting position, swallowed water, and quickly sank to the bottom. Despite being frightened, the narrator managed to maintain some presence of mind.
As the narrator descended, he formulated a plan to cope with the situation. The plan involved waiting until their feet touched the pool bottom, making a big jump, resurfacing, lying flat on the surface of the water, and then paddling to the edge of the pool. This internal plan reflected the narrator’s attempt to navigate the frightening experience and find a way to reach safety despite the unexpected and aggressive actions of the older boy. The passage illustrates the narrator’s ability to think and strategize under pressure, showcasing their resilience in the face of fear and adversity.
Certainly, let’s break down the critical words and then explain the content further.
- Summoned: Called upon or gathered, often referring to gathering one’s courage or strength in this context.
- Spring: A sudden jump or leap, typically propelled by one’s legs.
- Bob: To move up and down in a quick, sudden motion, often used to describe the movement of an object floating on water.
- Panicky: Feeling or showing sudden, uncontrollable fear or anxiety.
- Suffocating: Experiencing difficulty in breathing, often due to lack of air.
In this part of the story, the narrator continues their description of the experience in the pool. After being tossed into the deep end by the older boy, the narrator found themselves struggling to reach the surface. The nine feet of water felt like an immense depth, and the pressure on their lungs intensified as he descended. As he finally touched the bottom of the pool, he summoned all their strength and attempted to spring upwards, hoping to resurface quickly. However, their efforts didn’t yield the expected results.
Instead of bobbing up like a cork, the narrator resurfaced slowly, feeling disoriented and panicky. Their surroundings were obscured by the murky water, which had a dirty yellow tinge to it. In their desperation, the narrator reached out, hoping to find something to hold onto, but their hands grasped only water. The feeling of suffocation intensified as the narrator struggled to breathe. Despite their attempts to yell for help, no sound escaped their mouth, adding to the sense of fear and helplessness.
The passage vividly conveys the narrator’s desperate struggle for air, their disorientation in the water, and the escalating panic as he realized the severity of the situation. It creates a tense and suspenseful atmosphere, emphasizing the overwhelming nature of the experience and the narrator’s fight for survival in the water.
- Flailed: Moved or swung wildly, indicating uncontrolled and desperate movements.
- Paralyzed: Rendered immobile or unable to move, often due to fear, shock, or a physical condition.
- Irresistible force: A force that cannot be resisted or overcome, highlighting the overwhelming power pulling the narrator underwater.
- Strategy: A plan or method of action designed to achieve a specific goal.
- Throbbed: Beat or pulsated with a strong, regular rhythm, often describing the sensation of pain or discomfort.
In this intense and desperate moment, the narrator describes their struggle at the surface of the water. he flailed and gasped for air, but their attempts to stay afloat were futile. Their legs felt heavy and unresponsive, as if paralyzed, and an overpowering force pulled them under the water. Despite their screams, only the water heard their cries for help.
The narrator’s descent felt endless as he fought against the invisible force dragging them deeper. In their struggle, he struck out at the water, expending their remaining strength, akin to someone trapped in a nightmare fighting against an irresistible force. The lack of air became excruciating, causing their lungs to ache, head to throb, and vision to blur with dizziness.
Amidst the dire situation, the narrator clung to a semblance of hope and a devised strategy. He remembered their plan: to spring from the bottom of the pool and rise to the surface like a cork. The mental image of reaching safety at the pool’s edge fuelled their determination. However, their descent continued, and when he opened their eyes, all he saw was the dark, opaque water with a yellowish glow, emphasizing the hopelessness of their situation.
This passage intensifies the reader’s sense of the narrator’s desperation, emphasizing their struggle against the overwhelming force of the water. The vivid description of the physical sensations and the narrator’s efforts to remember and execute a plan add to the suspense, creating a gripping and harrowing atmosphere.
- Sheer: Complete and utter, emphasizing the intensity or extremeness of something.
- Stark: Harsh, grim, or severe, often used to describe a situation devoid of any comfort or embellishment.
- Terror: Intense fear, often accompanied by a feeling of impending danger or threat.
- Paralyzed: Rendered immobile or unable to move, often due to fear, shock, or a physical condition.
- Comprehend: Understand or grasp the nature, significance, or meaning of something.
- Indescribable: Impossible to describe adequately or precisely in words.
- Pounding: Beating with a strong, regular rhythm, often used to describe the sound or sensation of a heartbeat.
- Reason: Logical thinking, rationality, or the ability to make sensible judgments.
- Engulf: Surround or cover completely, often in a destructive or overwhelming manner.
- Visceral: Related to deep inward feelings rather than to the intellect; emotional and instinctive.
- Hopelessness: The state or feeling of having no hope; despair or pessimism.
The narrator experiences an overwhelming and indescribable terror while submerged underwater. The fear is so intense that it defies understanding and control, something that cannot be comprehended by those who have not experienced it. The narrator finds themselves paralyzed with fear, unable to move or scream despite the terror that has gripped them. The sheer panic renders them rigid and unresponsive, except for the pounding of their heart and the sensations in their head, indicating their continued consciousness.
Amidst the overwhelming fear, a brief moment of reason surfaces. The narrator remembers the plan: to jump when he hits the bottom of the pool. Finally, his feet touch the pool tiles, and he attempts to jump with all their strength, hoping to resurface. However, to their dismay, the jump proves ineffective; the water still engulfs them completely. In their desperate search for something to hold onto or aid their escape, he finds nothing but the suffocating mass of yellow water surrounding them.
The terror intensifies, akin to a powerful electric shock, causing the narrator to shake and tremble uncontrollably. Despite their attempts to move, call for help, or reach out to their mother, he remains paralyzed and voiceless, trapped in the grasp of an overwhelming and inexplicable fear.
This passage paints a vivid picture of the narrator’s sheer terror and helplessness, emphasizing the visceral and terrifying experience of being trapped underwater. The absence of any form of rescue or relief intensifies the sense of hopelessness, creating a deeply unsettling and emotional moment in the narrative.
- Strangely: In an unusual or unexpected manner, emphasizing the surprising nature of the events described.
- Awful: Extremely bad, dreadful, or terrifying, indicating the intense fear and discomfort the narrator experienced while underwater.
- Limp: Lacking stiffness or firmness, often used to describe a relaxed or lifeless state.
- Blackness: Darkness or the absence of light, here representing the narrator losing consciousness.
- Panic: Sudden uncontrollable fear or anxiety, which the narrator experiences but eventually subsides.
- Oblivion: The state of being completely unaware or unconscious, often used to describe a deep sleep, unconsciousness, or death.
- Curtain of life fell: Symbolically refers to the moment of death or passing away, suggesting the end of consciousness and life.
In this passage, the narrator initially sees light as he starts to emerge from the water. He struggles for air, but their attempts are futile, and the light begins to fade as he descends into the water for the third time. In a moment of surrender, the narrator stops fighting, and a sense of calm washes over them. The fear and panic dissolve, replaced by a feeling of peaceful acceptance. The narrator’s senses become dulled, and he loses awareness of their surroundings. The passage ends with the narrator succumbing to unconsciousness, described metaphorically as crossing into oblivion, and the “curtain of life” falling, indicating the end of their conscious experience.
- Vomiting: Expelling the contents of the stomach through the mouth, often a reaction to feeling nauseated or unwell.
- Chap: Informal term for a person, often used to refer to a man or boy.
- Exertion: Physical or mental effort, especially when strenuous or difficult.
- Haunting: Persistently troubling or disturbing, causing distress or anxiety over time.
- Wobbly: Unsteady or shaky, lacking stability in movement or posture.
- Cascades: Refers to the Cascade Range, a mountain range in the western United States, known for its scenic beauty and numerous rivers and lakes.
- Tieton and Bumping River: Rivers in the Cascade Range, likely mentioned here as specific locations where the narrator felt the fear of water returning.
- Goat Rocks: A mountainous area in the Cascade Range, known for its rugged terrain and natural beauty.
In the aftermath of the incident, the narrator recalls regaining consciousness lying on their stomach beside the pool, experiencing intense physical distress by vomiting. The person who had thrown them into the water attempted to downplay the situation, claiming it was just a joke. Others recognized the seriousness of the incident, acknowledging that the narrator had nearly died. He was then carried to the locker room for recovery.
The traumatic experience left a lasting impact on the narrator. He suffered from physical weakness and trembling, accompanied by emotional distress, making it difficult for them to eat and sleep. The fear persisted, causing a deep sense of unease and anxiety. As the narrator grew older and encountered natural bodies of water in the Cascade Mountains, the terror from the pool incident resurfaced. Even simple activities like wading in rivers triggered a paralyzing fear, making their legs feel weak and their heart race with icy horror. The incident had left an indelible mark, instilling a persistent fear of water that haunted the narrator for years, affecting their ability to enjoy or even tolerate aquatic environments.
- Handicap: A disadvantage or limitation that makes it difficult for a person to do something, in this context, referring to the narrator’s fear of water as a significant hindrance.
- Canoeing: Traveling in a canoe, a narrow boat pointed at both ends and typically propelled with a paddle.
- Landlocked salmon: A species of salmon that lives in freshwater lakes, isolated from the ocean by natural barriers.
- Bass fishing: Fishing for bass, a type of freshwater fish popular among anglers.
- Deschutes and Metolius: Rivers in Oregon, known for their scenic beauty and recreational activities such as fishing.
- Columbia: Refers to the Columbia River, a major river in the Pacific Northwest region of North America.
- Bumping Lake: A reservoir in the Cascade Range, Washington, known for its fishing opportunities and scenic surroundings.
The fear of water became a persistent handicap for the narrator as he grew older. It affected their ability to enjoy various activities involving water, such as canoeing on lakes in Maine, fishing for different types of fish in various locations like New Hampshire and Oregon, and even swimming. The haunting fear accompanied him wherever he went, robbing them of the pleasure and joy associated with these activities. This fear acted as a barrier, depriving them of the freedom to engage in recreational pursuits that involved water, impacting their overall enjoyment of outdoor experiences.
- Instructor: A person who teaches or trains someone in a particular skill or subject.
- Pulley: A simple machine consisting of a wheel with a grooved rim in which a rope or chain can run, used to change the direction of a force.
- Panic: Sudden and intense fear, often causing irrational or uncontrolled behaviour.
- Terror: Intense fear, especially when experienced suddenly, often accompanied by a feeling of impending danger.
- Exhale: To breathe out, expelling air from the lungs.
- Inhale: To breathe in, drawing air into the lungs.
The narrator made a determined decision to confront their fear and learn to swim. He enlisted the help of a swimming instructor and dedicated themselves to regular, rigorous practice. The instructor used a method involving a belt attached to a rope, which ran through a pulley on an overhead cable. The instructor held onto the rope, guiding the narrator back and forth across the pool for extended periods, repeating the exercise for hours each day, five days a week.
During these sessions, the narrator experienced moments of panic and fear, especially when their head went underwater. The old terror resurfaced each time he went under, causing their legs to freeze. Despite these challenges, the narrator persevered, gradually gaining confidence under the instructor’s guidance. Over the course of three months, the tension began to lessen. The instructor then taught them specific techniques, such as exhaling underwater and inhaling when resurfacing. Through repeated practice, the narrator started to overcome the panic that seized them when their head was submerged, shedding bit by bit of the fear that had haunted them for so long. This passage highlights the narrator’s resilience and determination to conquer their fear, showing how persistent effort and guidance from an instructor helped them gradually overcome their phobia of water.
- Integrated whole: Refers to being fully developed or complete, indicating that the narrator’s swimming skills were now well-rounded and proficient.
- Crawl stroke: A swimming stroke, also known as freestyle, where the arms move in a circular motion while kicking the legs.
- Vestiges: Traces or remnants of something that once existed, here referring to the residual feelings of fear that occasionally resurfaced.
The instructor continued the training process, focusing on refining specific skills. First, the narrator practiced kicking with their legs at the side of the pool. Initially, their legs resisted, but with consistent effort and practice, he gradually gained control over their leg movements. The instructor patiently worked on developing each component of swimming, ensuring that the narrator mastered individual skills before integrating them into a cohesive whole.
After weeks of dedicated training, the narrator’s progress reached a significant milestone. In April, the instructor deemed them ready and instructed them to swim the length of the pool using the crawl stroke, a fundamental swimming technique. The narrator successfully completed the task, marking the completion of their formal swimming lessons.
Despite reaching this achievement, the narrator still faced lingering doubts and fears. They questioned whether he would be able to swim without the instructor’s guidance, especially when alone in the pool. To confront this fear, he tested himself by swimming alone. Although tiny vestiges of the old terror occasionally crept in, the narrator refused to succumb to fear. Instead, he confronted these remnants of fear head-on, defiantly challenging them and pushing themselves to swim confidently, symbolizing their triumph over the deep-seated fear that had plagued them for so long. This passage showcases the narrator’s determination, resilience, and ultimate victory over their fear of water, highlighting their newfound confidence and self-assurance in the pool.
- Dock: A platform built on the shore or out from the shore into the water, used for loading and unloading boats or as a promenade.
- Triggs Island: A location on Lake Wentworth in New Hampshire, where the narrator dived off a dock and started their swim.
- Stamp Act Island: An island on Lake Wentworth, New Hampshire, where the narrator swam to after diving off Triggs Island.
- Crawl stroke, breaststroke, sidestroke, and backstroke: Different swimming strokes, each with its own technique and style.
- Residual doubts: Lingering uncertainties or fears that remained even after the narrator’s previous swimming achievements.
- Tieton: Likely referring to the Tieton River in Washington, a location the narrator visits to further challenge their fear of water.
- Conrad Meadows: A location near the Tieton River in Washington, where the narrator embarks on another swimming challenge.
- Meade Glacier: A glacier in the Cascade Range, Washington.
- Gilbert Peak: A prominent peak in the Cascade Range, Washington.
After their formal swimming lessons, the narrator’s determination to completely conquer their fear of water persisted. In July, he went to Lake Wentworth in New Hampshire and embarked on a daring challenge. He dived off a dock at Triggs Island and swam two miles across the lake to Stamp Act Island, employing different swimming strokes like crawl, breaststroke, sidestroke, and backstroke. During this challenging swim, the old sensation of terror briefly returned when they put their face under the water and saw the bottomless depths of the lake. However, the narrator confronted this fear, laughing it off and boldly asserting their newfound confidence.
Despite this significant achievement, residual doubts lingered. Eager to completely eliminate any remnants of fear, the narrator travelled west to the Tieton River in Washington. He hiked up to Conrad Meadows, followed the Conrad Creek Trail to Meade Glacier, and camped by the side of Warm Lake. The next morning, he bravely stripped down, dived into the lake, and swam across to the other shore and back, mirroring the actions of someone named Doug Corpron. Overwhelmed with joy, he shouted out their victory, and the echo from Gilbert Peak reverberated their triumph. Finally, the narrator had successfully conquered their fear of water, marking a significant personal achievement in their journey towards overcoming their phobia.
- Stark terror: Intense, severe fear or terror that is plain and obvious.
- Conquered: Overcome or defeated, especially in the context of overcoming fear or adversity.
- Appreciate: Understand and recognize the value or significance of something.
- Fear of death: A common fear experienced by humans, often related to the unknown and uncertainty surrounding death and what comes after.
- Roosevelt: Referring to Franklin D. Roosevelt, the 32nd President of the United States, who famously stated, “The only thing we have to fear is fear itself,” in his inaugural address in 1933, emphasizing the paralyzing effect of fear on human endeavours.
- Will to live: The natural instinct or desire to continue living, even in the face of adversity or challenges.
- Released: Freed from a burden or constraint, often used metaphorically to describe liberation from fear or anxiety.
The narrator shares a profound insight into the nature of fear and its conquest. He explains that the experience of facing stark terror and successfully overcoming it holds a deep meaning that can only be truly appreciated by those who have gone through such an ordeal. The comparison is drawn between the fear experienced in life and the peace found in death. The narrator suggests that in death, there is tranquillity and absence of fear, and that fear only exists in the anticipation of death, as articulated by the famous quote from President Roosevelt.
Having personally confronted the sensation of dying and the terror it can induce, the narrator found a unique strength within themselves. The experience not only dispelled their fear of water but also intensified their will to live. The ordeal served as a catalyst, empowering the narrator to embrace life more fully, allowing them to walk the trails, climb the peaks, and confront fear with newfound courage. This liberation from fear brought a sense of release, enabling the narrator to live their life unburdened by the fear that had once held them captive. The passage highlights the transformative power of overcoming fear and the profound impact it can have on one’s outlook on life.