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Deep Water Summary

Last updated date: 21st Feb 2024
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An Introduction

Have you ever been scared to try something new? Maybe it's jumping into deep water, speaking in front of people, or facing any fear that stops you from moving forward. In the chapter "Deep Water" from William Douglas's book "Of Men and Mountains," he talks about overcoming fears. It's not just about swimming but about facing any fear that tries to hold us back.

The Deep Water is a masterpiece by Douglas which is an important chapter for Class 12 students. The following article aims at providing the summary of the chapter Deep Water along with a few significant points.

Deep Water by William Douglas Theme

The Deep Water lesson is a very useful one that tells us about overcoming the fear of the author of the deep water. If we go through Deep Water Class 12, we can see that the author’s fear of water was developed by two very horrible incidents. In the first instance, a wave knocked him down when he was four years old. In the second instance, he was thrown in the bottomless end of the pool by a bully. He was almost drowned in that incident.


Having gone through such dreadful experiences, water was a matter of real fear for him. However, he has worked very hard to overcome the fear and at last, he won over the fear in this mighty battle. The Deep Water lesson tells us about the measures taken by the author to overcome his fear. One great lesson we can acquire from the William Douglas Deep Water is how to win over fear with the help of enrol strength of mind and willpower. 


Deep Water Class 12 Summary: A Detailed Summary

Class 12 English Deep Water portrays the journey of the author of how he overcomes the fear of deep water. The fear of water started at the age of four. It started at the time of visiting California with his father. He was knocked down by a deadly wave that swept over him at the time of visiting a beach. The author was frightened by the sudden incident. However, he was laughed at by his father. He was terrified by the incident and a deep fear was developed in him.


At the age of 11 years, another experience increases his fear of water by one step forward. The second incident took place in a swimming pool in Yakima. He was trying to learn swimming. One day, a bully thought to pull a dreadful prank. The author was pushed by the bully in the deep end of the pool. He was frightened of the fact. He has reached almost nine feet into the water and struggled to hold on to something. He couldn’t even shout for help as he began to feel paralyzed. He was about to die, but somehow he was rescued. However, this experience haunted him for lifelong. He couldn’t do any water-related expeditions such as canoeing, swimming, fishing etc. He couldn’t enjoy the beauty of Marine Lakes, Columbia.


At this juncture, he had decided to overcome the fear by any means. He took several steps to do so. One of them was enrolment in a swimming class. He was taught various tricks and tips by the instructor. He practised inhalation-exhalation for several weeks. After that, he went for kicking the legs on the side of the pool. Lastly, all the moves were combined by him. Although the method of swimming was known to him, the fear of water still loomed large over him. 


At last, he decided to confront the fear with the view of getting rid of it. He plunged into water forcefully and suddenly, his fear was completely gone. In this way, the author managed to win over the battle with his fear of deep water.


From Deep Water summary Class 12, we can see how a person wins over his fear of something. Deep Water lesson is a beautiful lesson for all of us. William Douglas Deep Water throws light on the real-life stories of many common people. 


English Summary of Deep Water 

Deep Water tells the story of the author's struggle to overcome his phobia of water, which he has had since childhood. Since the age of four, the author has had a dread of water. It all started when he and his father went to California for a vacation. He goes to the shore and is knocked down and swept away by a wave. The author is terrified, but the father chuckles because he knows there is no risk. This event, however, disturbs him, and he develops a fear of water as a result. The author then has another occurrence when he is 11 years old, which exacerbates his phobia.

He's trying to learn how to swim at a pool in Yakima. A bully plans to play a dangerous joke one lovely day. He frightens the author by pushing him into the deep end of the pool. He reaches nine feet into the sea and begins frantically grasping at something.

Furthermore, he cries for rescue, but he becomes immobile, with just his heart moving. As a result, he quits up and prepares to die, but he wakes up at the pool's edge. The horror he feels when drowning, on the other hand, never goes away. It has haunted him for many years and has even ruined his future kayaking, swimming, fishing, and other adventures.

He travels to places like Marine Lakes, Columbia, New Hampshire, and others, but he is unable to enjoy them. As a result, he resolves to overcome his phobia by any means necessary. He enrolls in a swimming lesson and tries to pick up some tips from the instructor. The instructor instructs him on a variety of swimming techniques. He starts with inhaling and exhaling, then works on it for several weeks.

He then moves on to kicking the legs against the pool's side. Finally, he combines all of this with his last swimming move. Despite knowing able to swim, the author is scared of water. As a result, to overcome his fear, he decides to confront it. He makes fun of it by asking, "What can it do?" As a result, he jumps into the water and, to his astonishment, his dread vanishes. He battled it in several locations before finally defeating it.

Lessons from the Deep: What We Can Learn

"Deep Water" is more than just a story about overcoming a fear of water. It's a universal tale about facing any obstacle that stands between us and our goals. It teaches us that:

  • Fear is normal: We all experience fear, and that's okay. It's a natural human emotion that keeps us safe. But we don't have to let it control us.

  • Facing fear is a choice: We can choose to run away from our fears or choose to face them head-on. The choice is ours, and it's never too late to start.

  • Small steps lead to big victories: Overcoming fear doesn't happen overnight. It takes small, consistent steps, one paddle at a time.

  • We are stronger than we think: We have the inner strength and resilience to overcome any challenge, even our deepest fears.

  • Facing fear opens up new possibilities: When we conquer fear, we open ourselves up to a world of new experiences, adventures, and personal growth.


Next time you face a fear that feels like a deep, dark ocean, remember Douglas's journey. Take a deep breath, believe in yourself, and take the first step. You might just surprise yourself with what you can achieve.

FAQs on Deep Water Summary

1. What were the methods adopted by the author to overcome the fear of deep water?

If we go through the summary of chapter Deep Water, we can see that several methods were adopted by the author to overcome the fear of deep water. The following measures were taken by the author to win over the battle with his fear: 

  1. The author enrolled himself for the swimming classes. The instructor of the class also taught him the tricks and techniques for the same.

  2. He practised breathing techniques for several weeks. 

  3. He learnt how to do normal kicking and leg movement in the pool. 

  4. Lastly, he simply plunged into the water to overcome the fear of deep water. And learning everything step by step made him an established swimmer who could finally swim.

2. How was the author made a ‘swimmer’ by the instructor?

The instructor helped the Author and taught him to swim. He used to get trained daily by the help of a rope that was attached to his belt for three months. The author went back and forth across the swimming pool. He also felt anxious and was panicked mostly. Douglas was taught by the instructor to put his face underwater and breathe via water (bubbling).  The author with the help of regular practice was able to attain the position of a good swimmer and conquered his fear of water.

3. Will the Deep Water Summary for Class 12 English help me in real life?

Yes, the message given through the Deep Water Summary for Class 12 English can help you in real life. It explains how an individual should overcome their fear and fight through the situations and struggles. After school, students get exposed to the college environment and later get working. It is very important to face your fears and challenges and make them your strength. This book focuses mainly on the idea of how to become a fighter in dreadful situations. 

4. What is the significance of the title "Deep Water"?

The title "Deep Water" is symbolic of the author's fear. Water represents the unknown and the dangerous, and the author must go into deep water (both literally and figuratively) in order to overcome his fear.

5. What are some of the literary devices used in the chapter?

The author uses a variety of literary devices to bring his story to life, such as:

  • Imagery: He uses vivid descriptions to help the reader imagine the sights, sounds, and smells of the beach and the pool.

  • Metaphor: He compares his fear of water to a "monster" or a "shadow" that has haunted him for years.

  • Simile: He compares the feeling of learning to swim to "flying."