Summary of ‘We Are Not Afraid To Die If We Can All Be Together’
(By: Gordon Cook and Alan East)
This chapter is all about narrator’s journey from Plymouth, England whereby he decides to break the record of Captain James Cook which was made 200 years ago. He with his wife, Mary & with their two children namely Suzzane and Jonathan, decide to duplicate the voyage. For this, they get a professionally built boat named Wave walker which is a beautiful specimen, a 23 meter long and 30 ton wooden hulled beauty. It is tested in all the roughest weathers to check its durability and performance.
They hire two crewmen as well American Larry Vigil and Swiss Herb Seigler to tackle one of the world’s roughest seas, i.e. the Southern Indian Ocean. The first leg of their journey goes very smoothly wherein they don’t come across any problems but soon, they start encountering problems which add to their woes.
At first, they start encountering gigantic waves and even get hit by one of them. Consequently, narrator’s head gets smashed into the wheel, ribs and teeth get broken, mouth fills with blood and he feels as if his end were near. He sees his wife, Mary, and asks her to manage the wheel. Besides, he sees his boat capsizing bit by bit but somehow he manages to reach the boom of his boat where his children were. On the other hand, he finds American Larry Vigil & Swiss Herb Seigler pumping the water out like madmen and trying their level best to overcome their problems. Things are out of control but he doesn’t give up and moves to the cabin where his children are.
Soon he reaches his children’s cabin and inquires if they both were fine. His children do not complain and encourage their father to move on and save the sinking boat. He finds some screws, a hammer and a canvas and try to cover up those holes whereby the water is flowing. Their problems increase when their hand pumps start to block up with the debris floating around the cabins and the electric pump short-circuited. But, they find another electric pump which helps them to throw the water out. They keep on pumping for 36 hours and finally manage to reach the few centimeters of water.
The weather deteriorates again on January 4 and situation worsens time and again. The narrator once again goes to the cabin of the children where she gets encouragement from her son & daughter in the form of a card on which she has drawn caricatures of her father and mother. She thanks her parents for trying their level best for saving everyone’s life on the boat. Finally on January 6, the narrator asks Larry to steer a course of 185 degrees to reach safely to one of the islands they have been searching for.
He goes and sleeps into the cabin of his children hoping to reach their destination as soon as possible. Around 6 in the evening, he gets a hug from his children informing that they have found the little island they had been searching for a long time. Everyone feels winning as their efforts bring laurels to them. Narrator, once again, recalls the efforts made by his crewmen, his wife and his children who stayed positive till the end of journey.
Q1. What difference did you notice between the reaction of the adults and the children when faced with danger?
Ans. The adults were very hardworking as they toiled a lot and tried their level best for saving the capsizing boat whereas the children were optimistic and hopeful that their father would be able to save their life in the end. They even encouraged their father by saying that they were not afraid to die if they were all together.
Q2. How does the story suggest that optimism helps to endure the direst stress?
Ans. This story highlights the optimism of not only the crew of the boat but also the children who were stuck in the ship when they were hit by gigantic waves. They never gave up and stayed positive till they got their destination. If we stay optimistic, we can also overcome any hindrance easily without overstraining and taking unnecessary stress.
Q3. What lessons do we learn from such hazardous experiences when we are face to face with death?
Ans. We get to learn from such hazardous experience that we should not give up in any of the situations rather we should stay calm and optimistic no matter how horrific the scenario is. In this way, we can overpower our fear and brush it aside in all the adverse situations.
Q4. Why do you think people undertake such adventurous expeditions in spite of the risks involved?
Ans. People usually get bored when they continue the same profession for years. To make a change in their lives, they take such adventurous experience even though they are full of risks and danger. Such activities make them bolder and help them brushing aside the little fear they have in their lives.
Q5. Describe the mental conditions of the voyagers when they were hit by a gigantic wave?
Ans. The journey of the voyagers was very tough and tiresome. At first, they were unaware of the idea of escaping from that brutal trap of water but they did not give in and kept on fighting for36 continuous hours. Both the crewmen were pumping out the water continuously, Mary was steering the wheel, children were praying continuously and encouraging their parents whereas the narrator was leaving no stone unturned to save their capsizing boat. Having seen their efforts, we can conclude that they all were mentally strong and hopeful of their victory.
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