Deep Water Summary Class 12 English with MCQ.

Deep Water is the third chapter of the Class 12 book Flamingo, which has been written by William Douglas. This lesson is about the writer’s interactions with fear. This article includes a detailed summary of Deep Water with the most important word meanings. After you have completed the summary, do test your knowledge with MCQ quiz questions at the end.

The writer narrates his own experiences with fear. By the end of the summary, you will know why the writer developed a fear of water and did he ever overcame it or not?

Deep water class 12 summary in english

WriterWilliam Douglas

“The right to be let alone is indeed the beginning of all freedom.”


Deep Water is written by William Douglas – who was an American jurist and politician. This chapter is prose taken from Of Men and Mountains by William Douglas. The chapter highlights the importance of overcoming your inner fears.

The chapter is about William Douglas’s personal struggle with fear. You will learn how the fear got into him and how it affected his personal life. But the main message that the writer conveys is that having fear is natural but overcoming it is in our hands. The chapter has been narrated by William Douglas himself.

Deep Water Summary

The Writer decided to learn to swim

The writer was ten years old when he decided to learn to swim. The Yakima River was very dangerous and many people had drowned in it. His mother always warned him against swimming in the Yakima River.

So he decided to learn to swim at the YMCA pool. It was three feet deep at the shallow end and nine feet at the deep side. He swam with water wings and didn’t like to walk to the pool because of his thin legs.

William Douglas had a strong dislike towards water since when he was four years old. It all started when he went to a beach in California with his father. He was standing with his father on the beach and a wave knocked him over. This experience was very frightening for him and caused him to fear waves.

Even though the YMCA revived his childhood fear of water he continued to learn. William started copying other boys and after two or three lessons he gained some confidence.

The Misadventure at YMCA pool

One day when William went swimming, there was no one at the pool. He didn’t want to go in the pool alone, so he decided to wait at the poolside.

While William was waiting for others, a big boy came in. He was eighteen years old and muscular. He picked up William and tossed him into the deep end of the pool.

Williams first attempt to come up

William landed in a sitting position. He was frightened, but he decided to make a strategy on his way down to the bottom. So William decided to make a big jump when his feet would touch the bottom of the pool. He would come to the surface and lie flat on the water. From the surface of the water, he would paddle to the edge of the pool.

It was a long way down to the bottom, and those nine feet felt like ninety. When his feet finally touched the bottom of the pool, he jumped with all his strength. Now he started to come up slowly. When he opened his eyes, all he could see was water with a slight yellow tinge.

He started panicking and moving his hands and legs in an uncontrolled way. Then he tried to bring his legs to the surface, but they seemed to had been paralyzed. It felt like something was pulling him down to the bottom.

Williams second attempt to come up

And now William once again started his journey to the bottom of the pool. He was out of breath, and his lungs began to ache. Now he Started to faint but still, he remembered his original strategy.

On his way down, stark terror seized him, and he started to shiver. His body got paralyzed, and only his heart and head were pounding.
Now he remembered his original strategy, and as his feet touched the tiles, he jumped with all his energy.

But nothing happened, and he was still underwater. He started shivering again and tried calling his mother for help. Now, to his surprise, he could see some light coming in as his face started coming out of water. He tried to inhale but only got water.

Then all efforts ceased, and a blackness swept over his brain. Everything was quiet and peaceful, and there was no fear. He felt like he had crossed into Oblivion and died. When he opened his eyes, he was out of the water and vomiting. The boy that had thrown him in the pool was standing beside him. He told William that he was fooling around.

After that day, he never went to the pool and avoided water activities whenever he could. Even after a few years, whenever he went for

  • Canoening on Maine Lakes fishing for Landlocked Salmon( a type of fish)
  • Bass(a type of fish) Fishing in New Hampshire(A state in USA)
  • Trout(a type of fish) Fishing on on the Deschutes(River) and Metolius(River) in Oregon(a state in USA
  • Fishing for Salmon(a type of fish) on the Columbia(river)
  • Bumping lake in the Cascades(mountains)

, the same terror would return and paralyze his body and mind. He couldn’t find a way to let go of this fear.

NCERT Textbooks in English for class 12 – Flamingo and Vistas

Deep Water Summary

William decides to overcome his fear

Finally, he decided to overcome his fear and one October hide and hired a swimming instructor. He practiced five days a week, an hour every day.

The instructor tied a belt around him, which was attached to a rope. The rope went inside the pulley, and the instructor held the other part of the rope.

Deep Water summary class 12 summary in english

They went back and forth across the pool day after day, week after week. Every time William went underwater, a little bit of the old fear returned, and his legs would get paralyzed.

It took him three months of practice to get over it, and his legs could now finally relax. Finally, in April, the instructor told William that he was now ready to swim the length of the pool.

And then he went up to the Tieton to Conrad Meadows up the Conrad creek trail to meadow Glacier and swam across the warm lake to the other shore and back. Finally, now he got convinced that he had overcome his fear of water.

But still, William was not convinced that he had overcome his fear, so he started to swim the length of the pool alone. He did this till July, but still, he had some fear remaining in him.

William faces his fear

So now he went to Lake Wentworth in New Hampshire and dived off a dock at Triggs Island and swam two miles across the lake to Stamp act Island.

But the old terror did return Once when he was in the middle of the lake. He looked underwater, and all he could see was bottomless water, but he faced it this time and kept swimming.

That experience had a profound impact on him. He had felt both the feeling of dying and the terror that it can produce, but somehow that feeling made him feel much more alive than ever before.

‘The only thing we have to fear is fear itself’

Franklin D. Roosevelt 


The chapter highlights the importance of facing your inner fears. Every one of us is afraid of something. Some people are afraid of heights while others are afraid of public speaking.

Throughout the lesson, we can see how fear had a paralyzing effect on William. His fear wouldn’t let him enjoy any activity. But when he finally decided to overcome it the terror just disappeared.

We have to accept our mortality and live every day as if it was our last. We have to face our fears and overcome them. Simply ignoring them or running from them is not an option. We must overcome them because our ultimate liberation lies on the other side of fear.


Who is the author of Deep Water?

The author of Deep Water is William Douglas.

What was the author afraid of?

The author had developed a fear of water when he had a misadventure at the YMCA pool.

When did William get convinced that he had overcome his fear?

When William swam across the Lake Wentworth he got convinced that he had overcome his fear.

What did William do to overcome his fear?

William practiced swimming an hour a day, five days a week with an instructor.

Deep Water Summary-Word Meaning

  1. Treacherous – Extremely dangerous
  2. Aversion – A strong dislike
  3. Aping – Imitating / Copying
  4. Timid – Showing a lack of confidence
  5. Bruiser – A big and strong man
  6. Flailed – Moving legs and arms in an uncontrolled way
  7. Tinge – A trace of a colour
  8. Shallow – Not deep
  9. Gradual – Gentle
  10. Skinny – Thin and lean
  11. Subdued – controlled
  12. Surf – Waves
  13. Frightened – Scared
  14. Paddled – Moving feet up and down while swimming
  15. Stirred – arose
  16. Misadventure – Accident
  17. Tiled – Tiled floor
  18. Timid – shy and nervous
  19. Rippling – Waving
  20. Specimen – Model
  21. Ducked – To push someone under water playfully
  22. Wits – The individual’s capacity for inventive thinking.
  23. Cork – A light brown color seal used for clossing bottles
  24. Tinge – A trace of colour
  25. Panickly – Suddenly feeling very worried or frightened
  26. Clutched – To grasp something tightly
  27. Choked – Having difficulty in breathing due to lack of air
  28. Rigid – Stiff
  29. Nightmare – A scary dream
  30. Ached – Suffering from a continous dull pain
  31. Throbbed – Feeling pain in a series of regular beats
  32. Thrash – Moving in a violent manner
  33. Sheer – Without a break
  34. Stark – Complete
  35. Pounding – Rhythmical beating
  36. Midst – In the middle of
  37. Ceased – Ended
  38. Limp – Lifeless
  39. Drowsy – Sleepy
  40. Dizzy – Unsteady and confused
  41. Oblivion – A state in which a person losses all awareness
  42. Wobbly – Moving side to side due to poor balance
  43. Cascade – A small waterfall
  44. Wading – To walk in water with some effort as it comes up to your legs
  45. Canoe – A light and narrow boat with pointed ends
  46. Ruined – Destroyed
  47. Deprived – to lack something
  48. Canoeing – Paddling a canoe with a single blade paddle
  49. Slack – Loosen
  50. Shed – To get rid of something
  51. Vestiges – a small amount
  52. Dock – A structure built on water so that people can go and off the ship
  53. Stripped – Removing clothes
  54. Frown – A facial expression indicating disapproval

Deep Water Summary


Created on

Deep water quiz

1 / 18

The YMCA pool was ______ feet deep at the shallow end.

2 / 18

Deepwater is an excerpt from _______

3 / 18

What Fear does the author want to overcome?

4 / 18

Yakima is a _______.

5 / 18

How many attempts did the writer make to come to the surface of the water?

6 / 18

Who is the author of "Deep Water"?

7 / 18

Why did Williams's heart start pounding?

8 / 18

When was William convinced that he had overcome his fear?

9 / 18

When did the old fear return?

10 / 18

Who was standing beside William when he regained his consciousness?

11 / 18

Why did the big boy push William into the pool?

12 / 18

Treacherous means _______

13 / 18

Where was William when he regained his consciousness?

14 / 18

What water activity did Willam want to enjoy?

15 / 18

Where did William's father take him in his childhood?

16 / 18

William's strategy was to ________

17 / 18

The meaning of stark terror is _______

18 / 18

William started learning to swim in _______

Your score is

The average score is 64%


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