We’re Not Afraid to Die… if We Can All Be Together GORDON Cook and ALAN EAST Class 11th English


We’re Not Afraid to Die… if We Can All Be Together GORDON Cook and ALAN EAST

We’re Not Afraid to Die… if We Can All Be Together GORDON Cook and ALAN EAST

We are not Afraid to Die Question Answers

Understanding the Text
1. List the steps taken by the captain
(i) to protect the ship when rough weather began.
(ii) to check the flooding of the water in the ship.
Ans: (i) the narrator decided to slow down the ship to protect it from bad and stormy weather. He dropped the storm jib and lashed heavy mooring rope across the stern of the ship. Then, they double – lashed everything. They carried their life-raft drill, attached lifelines, donned life jackets and oilskins.

(ii) to check the flooding of the water, the narrator put waterproof hatch which covered the gaping holes. This diverted the water flow to the side. His hand pumps were blocked due to debris and his one electric pump was short-circuited. He found a hand pump and a spare electric pump. He connected the electric pump to the out pipe and started it.

2. Describe the mental condition of the voyagers on 4 and 5 January.

Ans: On January 4, the voyagers felt relieved as they were continuously pumping out water for the past 36 hours and only a few centimetres of water was left. They had their first meal in two days. Mary found some corned beef and cracker biscuits.

Later, around 4 pm, the weather changed as black clouds marched towards them. The wind was now 40 knots and the sea was getting higher. The weather got worse and by the early morning of January 5, the situation was bad. This gave them mental stress.

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.

The first section: Beginning of the Round – the – Voyage
The first section was cheerful and full of hope as the family began their planned voyage just like the one done 200 years ago by the famous Captain James Cook. They had perfected their seafaring skills for 16 years. They built a ship ‘Wavewalker’ professionally which was a 23 metres long, 30 tons wooden-hulled ship. They celebrated Christmas on the ship despite the bad weather.
The Second Section: the struggle with the big attack
This section changed from cheerful to intense. The family was under great pressure to survive the oncoming waves and bad weather conditions. A giant wave created chaos and the ship was about to overturn. The narrator was thrown off into the water and he almost drowned and got injured. Along with two hired crewmen, the narrator pumped out the water from the ship for a continuous 36 hours. He also tried repairing the parts of the ship. He almost lost his hope and believed they would die. But his children were fearless and courageous enough which gave him the determination to fight back.

The third section: Victory

With the support of his children, the narrator kept trying to save the ship in order to reach the two small islands, lle Amsterdam. They finally reached the destination and got help from the inhabitants of the island. His son called him the best daddy and best captain.

Talking about the Text

1. What difference did you notice between the reaction of the adults and the children when faced with danger?

Ans: There was a huge difference between the reaction of the adults and the children. The adults lose their hope at the end and wait for their fate of death. On the other hand, the children were hopeful and gave the narrator moral support. With the support of his children, Jonathan and Suzanne, he decided to make it to the island at any cost. The children showed maturity. His son expressed courage as to how he wasn’t afraid to die if they all were together. His daughter made him a card expressing her love and affection towards her parents and wrote a beautiful message. She was injured still, she didn’t let it become a hurdle for her parents who were trying to save the ship.

2. How does the story suggest that optimism helps to endure “the direst stress”?

Ans: Optimism is the determination to overcome any challenges. Without optimism, it is impossible to face difficulties and solve problems. The family fought with the sea with great optimism and determination which ultimately saved them. Again and again, on being attacked by the sea, they didn’t stop trying which helped them get to the shore of the lle Amsterdam island.

When the son of the narrator told him,” we aren’t afraid of dying if we can all be together — you and Mummy, Sue and I”. This showed the maturity of the children and how they played an important role in motivating the narrator who had almost lost hope. Sue, his daughter who made him a card showed how she was proud of her parents and didn’t make a big deal of her injuries which were in a bad condition. With the struggles and efforts, they finally made it to the destination.

3. What lessons do we learn from such hazardous experiences when we are face-to-face with death?

Ans: Life is never about being happy all the time. We are constantly tested and how we tackle every problem and rise through it is the ultimate lesson. Such hazardous situations teach us how we should react towards them. We must never lose hope and keep trying as it will lead to success. In certain situations, one must keep calm and think logically. No matter how bad the situation is, there is always a way to get out of it. The significance of being extra cautious and to make sure that the situation doesn’t get worse is required at such moments.

4. Why do you think people undertake such adventurous expeditions in spite of the risks involved?

Ans: The willingness to accept challenges drives people to take such adventurous expeditions in spite of the risk involved. People like to try different elements of nature and some do it as a passion. Surely people already know of the risks involved in such activities, but still, they do not hesitate to try it out.

We are Not Afraid to Die Grammar Exercises

Thinking about Language

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’?

Ans: In Hindi, there are many words for ‘storm’ – toofan, aandhi, andhad, etc.

2. Here are the terms for different kinds of vessels: yacht, boat, canoe, ship, steamer, schooner. Think of similar terms in your language.

Ans: ‘Kashti’, ‘Naav’, ‘Nauka’, ‘Jahaz’ are some terms in Hindi.

3. ‘Catamaran’ is a kind of a boat. Do you know which Indian language this word is derived from? Check the dictionary.

Ans: The word ‘Catamaran’ is derived from the Tamil language word ‘Kattumaram’.

4. Have you heard any boatmen’s songs? What kind of emotions do these songs usually express?

Ans: Yes, Such Boatmen songs express love and nostalgia. They also express the longing to meet the loved ones.

Working with Words

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: a) a tangled mass in something
b) interlacing, looping, etc.
Stern: harsh, firm, strict, etc. 
Boom – a) to experience a sudden rapid growth
b) to increase in popularity
Hatch: a) to cause an egg to break in order to allow a young animal to come out
b) to make a plan
Anchor: a) host of an event
b) a person who can be relied upon for support

2. The following three compound words end in -ship. What does each of them mean?


Airship: a power-driven aircraft which is kept buoyant by a body of gas
Flagship: the ship in the fleet which carries commanding admiral
Lightship: an anchored boat with a beacon light to warn ships at sea

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 lines “… we took two crewmen to help us tackle.. roughest seas”, the word ‘took on’ means to take somebody or to hire somebody.