Hornbill We are Not Afraid to Die - Solutions

 CBSE Class -XI English Core

NCERT Solutions
HORNBILL Chapter-2
We are Not Afraid to Die...if We Can All Be Together

Page No: 13

1. Notice these expressions in the text. Infer their meaning from the context.
i) honing our seafaring skills
ii) ominous silence
iii) Mayday calls
iv) pinpricks in the vast ocean
v)a tousled head

Answer: i)honing our seafaring skills: This refers to the efforts made by the author and his wife to perfect or sharpen their seafaring skills.
ii) ominous silence: the silence here refers to an impending danger.
iii) Mayday calls: Mayday calls are radio-telephonic words which signal aircrafts or ships stuck in a disastrous situation.
iv) pinpricks in the vast ocean: This phrase expresses the search for two small islands in the vast ocean.They were somewhere in 150,000 kilometre of ocean looking for a 65 kilometre wide island.
v) a tousled head: this refers to hair in disarray or the disarranged hair of the author’s son, Jonathan

Page No: 18 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.

(i) In order to protect the ship from rough weather, the capitan decided to slow it down. So he dropped the storm jjb and lashed heavy mooring rope in a loop across the stern. Then they doubled fastened everything and went through their life-raft drill. They also attached lifelines and wore life jackets. Thus they got ready to face the storm.
(ii)To check the flooding of water in the ship,he took a canvas and stretched it across the holes and made a waterproof hatch cover across the gaping holes which diverted the water to the side. When the two hands pump blocked and electric pump short circuited, he found another electric pump, connected it to an outpipe and started it.

2. Describe the mental condition of the voyagers on 4 and 5 January.
On January 4 and 5, the voyagers felt relieved as after the continuous pumping for 36 hours the water had nearly been drained out. They had their first meal in almost two days. However, their respite was short-lived. They faced dangerous situation on January 5 as the sea got worse during the night. Fear of death loomed large. They were under a great 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: The first section opens on a cheerful note. The narrator and his family are all set for their ultimate dream- to duplicate the around-the-world voyage made 200 years earlier by Captain James Cook . They have perfected their seafaring skills. They begin the voyage and pass the first phase of journey pleasantly. 
The second section: This part of narration covers the hazards faced by the voyagers. There is a shift in the narration from cheerful to intense. They find themselves in an extremely fatal and disastrous situation. They begin to face strong gales.Despite the worst weather they have a wonderful holiday on Christmas. On January 2,a huge wave hits their boat and the narrator is thrown overboard. Despite getting injured, he maintains his composure and applies every possible way to tackle the critical situation. They manage to pump out maximum amount of water out of the boat in about 36 hours. But as they continue to face bad weather conditions the narrator loses hope. The children remain fearless, courageous and optimistic throughout the situation.
The third section: The children provide moral support to the narrator and he continues with his efforts. Under the captaincy of the narrator, they manage to reach Ile Amsterdam. The narrator proves his seamanship and receives the title of “the best daddy” and “the best captain” from his children.
The above three sections can be subtitled as follows:
a) The first section: Round-the-world voyage begins
b) The second section: The attack of the big wave
c) The third section: Ultimate victory

Talking about the Text

1. What difference did you notice between the reaction of the adults and the children when faced with danger?
There was lot of difference between the way in which the adults and children reacted when they faced danger.The adults lost hope and waited for their end with a heavy heart. At this point, they were motivated by the children. The children offered  moral support to the adults. They displayed maturity and tolerance. Jonathan expressed his fearlessness and courage when he said that they were not afraid of dying if they all could be together. Sue expressed her love and gratitude for her parents by making a greeting card. She was strong enough not to let her parents know about her serious injuries. She did not want to bother her parents at the time of crisis.

2. How does the story suggest that optimism helps to endure “the direst stress”?
Optimism is a determination to overcome difficulties. It raises one’s spirits and helps one overcome stress and difficulty with ease. The story displays courage and optimism shown by everyone at the time of difficult situation. Survival happens only because of the optimistic struggle that the family carries on with the inclination to look at the bright side in the situation.
The level of perseverance in the author rises when Jonathan says, “We’re not afraid of dying if we can all be together. Besides, the caricatures of him and Mary, drawn by Sue, helps his determination and optimism to grow many folds. The positive outlook of the children infuses positivity in the narrator. He rigorously calculates their position and finally asks Larry to steer a course of 185 degrees. Though he lost all hopes by then, he does not show it and optimistically told Larry that they would spot the island by about 5 p.m. Fortunately, their struggle and optimism pays off and they manage to find Ile Amsterdam by the evening.

3. What lessons do we learn from such hazardous experiences when we are face-to-face with death?
Such experiences teach us the potential that courage, perseverance and tolerance hold. It explains how one must react in the direst of the situations. It teaches us that one must never lose hope and try to find reasons to stay positive in the face of adversity. In such situations one must try his/her best to remain calm and composed and understand the power of unity and team work. Moreover, the importance of common sense, putting continuous efforts to overcome the catastrophe and the significance of being extra cautious and careful are learnt from such hazardous experiences.The experience teaches us that those who rough it out with life's gravest disasters become heroes.

4. Why do you think people undertake such adventurous expeditions in spite of the risk involved?
The spirit to experience unique elements of nature, undaunted passion and willingness to accept challenges drive people to take up adventurous expeditions. The people who involve themselves in such activities are very well aware of the risk involved in them. But due to their passion and enthusiasm to do something unique and great, they willingly accept such challenges. Also, their desire to be in the lap of nature and experience its beauty pushes them to such expeditions.

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’?
In Hindi, ‘storm’ is known as ‘aandhi’, ‘toofan’'andhad', etc.

Page No: 19

1. Here are the terms of different kinds of vessels: yacht, boat, canoe, ship, steamer, schooner. Think of similar terms in your language.
Answer: ‘Naav’, ‘Nauka’, ‘Jahaaz’ and ‘Kishti’ are some of the various words used in Hindi for the word ‘boat’.

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

3. Have you heard any boatmen’s songs? What kind of emotions do these songs usually express?
Yes,Boatmen’s songs usually express love and nostalgia. They revolve around the longing to meet a loved one. They may also express their love for the sea.

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, stern, boom, hatch, anchor
Knot: a) interlacing, twining, looping, etc.
b) a group of persons.
Stern: firm, strict, uncompromising, harsh, hard etc.
Boom: a) deep, prolonged, resonant sound
b) to progress or flourish
c) to hit hard
Hatch: a) to bring forth, produce.
b) derive, concoct
c) to draw, cut, or engrave lines
Anchor: a) a person or thing that can be relied upon for support
b) host of an event.

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

Airship: It is a self-propelled lighter-than-air aircraft with the means of controlling the direction of the flight.
Flagship: It is a ship carrying the flag officer or the commander of a fleet, squadron. It displays the officer’s flag.
Lightship: It refers to a ship anchored in a specific location flashing a very bright light for the guidance of ships to avoid dangerous areas.

3. The following are the meaning 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

Answer: In the third paragraph, in lines: “… we took on two crewman to help us tackle … roughest seas…”, the word “took on” suggests to take somebody on i.e., to employ or engage somebody.