Get here the summary, questions, answers, textbook solutions, extras, and pdf of the story “We’re Not Afraid To Die…if We Can All Be Together” of the Assam Board (AHSEC / SEBA) Class 11 (first year) English (Hornbill) textbook. However, the given notes/solutions should only be used for references and should be modified/changed according to needs.
Summary: The author and his family (wife Mary, son Jonathan, age 6, and daughter Suzanne, age 7) set off in July 1976 on a trip around the world. The plan all along was to retrace the steps that Captain James Cook had taken two centuries before. The author had constructed a massive boat, measuring 23 metres in length, for this expedition. He coined the term “Wavewalker” for it. This object resembled a ship in appearance. He estimated that the trip would take three years.
The first leg of their trip took them almost 1,05,000 kilometres to the port of Cape Town in South Africa. Up until that point, everything ran smoothly. To help him navigate the treacherous waters of the Indian Ocean, the author recruited Larry Vigil and Herb Seigler. Australia would be the destination of the trip’s second leg, which entailed travelling 1,50,000 kilometres. On December 25th, the Wavewalker was located 3500 kilometres east of Cape Town in the southern Indian Ocean. They rang in the new year right aboard the ship. However, they were unprepared for the rapid onset of tough conditions on the second day of the year. The raging seas overtook their ship. During those three days, the awful storm persisted. Several sections of the ship had been damaged, allowing water to seep inside. The threat of drowning loomed over them like a black cloud. However, thanks to the unyielding bravery and determination displayed by everyone, even the youngsters, they were able to weather the storm and emerge victorious. The boy, then six years old, told his father, “Daddy, we’re not afraid of dying if we can all be together- you and mummy, Sue and I. This spurred the intrepid traveller to take the battle to the ocean.
They saw an island in the distance on January 6 at night. They landed on the narrow island of Little Amsterdam, which had only 28 residents who had cheered them on.
Textual questions and answers
1. List the steps taken by the Captain.
(i) to protect the ship when rough weather began.
Answer: (i) When the ship encountered rough weather, the skipper took the following precautions:
a. He decided to slow down the boat.
b. The storm jib was removed.
c. The stern was secured with heavy ropes.
d. They practised their life-raft drill.
e. Lifelines had been attached.
f. They donned oilskins and life vests.
(ii) to check the flooding of the water in the ship.
Answer: (ii) To prevent the ship from flooding, the captain did the following:
a. He took the hammer, screw, and canvas and strained to make repairs.
b. He draped canvas and waterproof hatch covers over the gaping holes.
c. The majority of the water had now been redirected over the sidewalls.
d. Spare hand pumps and an electric pump were used because the previous ones had failed.
2. Describe the mental condition of the voyagers on 4 and 5 January.
Answer: A small glimmer of hope appeared among the travellers on January 4 as the ship’s water level dropped to its lowest point in months. All they had to do was keep up with the constant onslaught of waves. When the main mast wouldn’t raise, they set sail using the storm jib. For the first time in over two days, they ate. Yet the temporary nature of this reprieve was not to be ignored. As night fell, dark clouds gathered overhead and the tide rose. Through the night, a ferocious storm lashed the area. The next morning, on January 5th, they awoke to an absolutely terrible scenario. Jon probed him for an answer, wondering whether their fate was sealed. Jon claimed they weren’t afraid to die if they were all together, despite the Captain’s reassurance that they would survive. Despite the overwhelming sense of hopelessness, the captain’s willpower was boosted by these comments. In the evening, he and Mary sat together, and he found himself staring nearly directly at the end of their lives.
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: Leaving on a trip of a lifetime: Getting ready to embark on a fantastical journey is the subject of the first part of this narrative. The Captain, a businessman in his thirties, packed up his wife and two kids and set out on a world tour. The goal was to attain the same result as Captain James Cook had two hundred years before. In order to perfect their seafaring abilities, they spent a total of sixteen years at sea. The “Wavewalker” was expertly constructed and tried and true in stormy seas. They set out in July of 1976 and had a relaxing trip all the way to Cape Town. They recruited an American and a Swiss crewman to help them navigate the treacherous waters of the southern Indian Ocean. Problems, however, did not arise until after they had left Cape Town. On January 2nd, massive waves struck the area. Everyone on board worked feverishly to prevent the Wavewalker from sinking.
Making It Through a Catastrophe: The second part focuses on their fight to stay alive. Wavewalker had been struck by severe winds and waves. As the weather deteriorated, the boat quickly became flooded. The captain’s daughter was also hurt in the accident. The Wavewalker was kept afloat by a constant flow of water from pumps. The Captain continued installing new parts. They hadn’t eaten in two days prior to January 4. After a little while, another storm gathered over them, and it only got worse as night fell. The intense feelings the young children had in the face of such adversity are explored in this section.
New Dawn: Flight attendants and readers alike will feel a sigh of relief after reading the third segment. They made it to lle Amsterdam, a little island amid the huge ocean. Jon went to see his dad to tell him the good news. In front of them was an island, and everyone could see it. The island’s 28 permanent residents met them with cheers and a warm welcome the following morning.
Talking about the text
1. Discuss the following questions with your partner. What difference did you notice between the reactions of adults and children when faced with danger?
Answer: The adults reacted with expected bravery in the face of peril. The captain did everything in his power to face the enormous seas. It was a busy time for Larry and Herb as they worked to empty the water pumps. Even though Mary was terrified of the flowing water, she took control of the boat. Despite the tense situation, both crewmen kept their cool and remained optimistic and upbeat. There were hints of hopelessness, but the captain was determined to use whatever resources he had to battle the sea and emerge victorious. In contrast, the kids showed incredible bravery, calm composure, and a refusal to give in to fear. Their courage and determination inspired the adults. As long as they were all together, the boy was willing to die, and the girl patiently endured her wounds without disturbing her distraught parents once.
2. How does the story suggest that optimism helps to endure “the direst stress”?
Answer: This upbeat title captures the essence of the story and its message of optimism. In order to survive, hope is essential. They maintained their optimism and faith even as they endured tremendous hardship. The skipper and his family had no notion that calamity would hit them in this way when they set sail. In spite of this, when it came, all they could think about was how to get over it. Unbelievably, the two crewmen who accompanied them remained upbeat and enthusiastic even as Wavewalker tipped over. The Captain, blood pouring from his mouth and ribs fractured, battled the raging seas and found an island in the middle of the ocean. Even the two kids’ demeanours reflected this upbeat and optimistic mood. Everybody found some reason to have faith despite the overwhelming odds.
3. What lessons do we learn from such hazardous experiences when we are face-to-face with death?
Answer: We learn first and foremost that calamity can happen at any time. The future isn’t always clear. As a result, we need to train ourselves to take on life’s challenges head-on and solve them with confidence and fortitude. A collective effort gives its members more strength and morale in the face of opposition. The ability to overcome seemingly insurmountable obstacles is, however, the greatest strength of all. The small boy’s declaration that he was not frightened to die but wanted to be all together even in death, exemplified the genuine meaning of courage. Thus, their near-death experience teaches us that we, too, can triumph over life’s challenges by summoning our own inner reserves of drive, willpower, and hope.
4. Why do you think people undertake such adventurous expeditions in spite of the risks involved?
Answer: Only those who are willing to take risks in life will find adventure. The rush and excitement, not the danger, draw them in. To satisfy some deep need, they charge forward without fear. From the first explorations of the world to the study of perilous natural phenomena, men have been putting their mettle to the test in more perilous environments. These individuals have perpetually sought to discover the undiscovered, uncover the invisible, and travel the unexplored. Humans have infinite potential in terms of their stamina and abilities. The narrative family has demonstrated this by undertaking an endeavour few others would have dared. They have an inborn sense of adventure and will go on potentially dangerous missions regardless of the hazards.
Additional/extra questions and answers/solutions
1. What was it that the Captain and his wife had been dreaming of all this time? How did they get ready to make the dream a reality?
Answer: A businessman, aged 37, and his wife, Mary, had always wanted to follow in the footsteps of Captain James Cook, who had sailed around the world two centuries before. a fight for survival among the explorers. They settled on a three-year time frame for their endeavour. The group devoted all of their free time to perfecting their seafaring abilities. The businessman was set to captain a custom-built vessel with the moniker Wavewalker. It was a majestic 23-by-30-foot wooden hulk that weighed 30 tonnes. In order to make it across the stormy southern Indian Ocean, they had spent months fitting it out and testing it in the toughest weather around the British Isles. As a result, the family of four (including two young children) embarked on their voyage from Plymouth, England in July 1976.
2. Describe the wave’s initial devastating strike and the struggle of the voyagers.
Answer: They were only two days out of Cape Town before they encountered terrifyingly high waves and gusty gusts. On January 2nd, massive waves slammed into them. Everyone took the necessary safety measures, including donning life vests. The evening was eerily quiet, the wind died down, and the sky turned quite dark without warning. Then, with a deafening roar, a massive wave loomed above the boat’s stern and crashed down onto them, producing an explosive sound. Blood gushed out of the captain’s mouth as he was thrown at the controls. The boat was destroyed by the relentless, enormous waves. Poor little Suzanne had some really serious wounds. Mary assumed control of the ship as the Captain frantically tried to stop the leaks. Despite their best attempts, the weather continued to deteriorate, and water began to rush in through all the shattered planks.
15. After Wavewalker rode out of the storm, what did the captain do?
Answer: The captain finally realised they would not make it to Australia on this wrecked ship on January 6, after they had finally weathered the storm. He did calculations in the chartroom to get to lle Amsterdam, an island 65 kilometres wide, somewhere in the 1,50,000 kilometres of ocean.
16. Why did Jon feel the need to hug his dad?
Answer: Jon wanted to give his father a big hug for saving them all. Both Jon and Sue went to their father’s cabin to deliver the good news once they were off the shore of the small island. Jon gushed about how great his father was and how he had proven to be the best captain.
17. What did the captain think of his team after they had made it to safety?
Answer: The ship’s captain was grateful to Larry and Herb for their tireless efforts to prevent the ship from sinking. Additionally, he considered his wife, Mary, who remained at the wheel throughout the catastrophe. However, he was incredibly appreciative and moved by the strength and bravery of his two young children.
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