RBSE Solutions for Class 11 English Hornbill Chapter 2 We’re Not Afraid to Die… If We Can All Be Together

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RBSE Solutions for Class 11 English Hornbill Chapter 2 We’re Not Afraid to Die… If We Can All Be Together

RBSE Solutions for Class 11 English Hornbill Chapter 2 We’re Not Afraid to Die… If We Can All Be Together

Text Book Questions and Answers

Understanding the text

Question 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) to protect the ship when rough weather began.
The captain slowed the boat down, dropped the storm jib and lashed a heavy mooring rope in a loop across the stem. Then they double-lashed everything, went through their life raft drill, attached “lifelines, donned oilskins and life jackets and waited.”

(ii) to check the flooding of the water in the ship.
As the water started accumulating in the ship, the captain did not dare to abandon the wheel to examine the waterlogging. When Mary informed him that the decks were smashed and the boat was full of water, he gave the wheel to Mary and made it to the hatch. Larry and Herb were pumping out the water frantically. He found a hammer, screws and canvas, and walked back to the deck with difficulty.

He made some repairs. He stretched the canvas and secured that the waterproof hatch covers across the gaping holes. Some water continued to stream below, but most of it was now being deflected over the side. But soon the hand pumps started to block up with the debris floating around the cabins and the electric pump short-circuited. He found the two spare hand pumps had been overboard. Then he took the electric pump and connected it to an out-pipe and managed to pump out the water.

Question 2.
Describe the mental condition of the voyagers on 4 and 5 January.
After battling with the waves and continuously pumping out water for thirty-six hours, on 4 January, the voyagers managed to pump out almost all the water that had accumulated and had to keep pace with the water that was still coming in. Then they hoisted the storm jib and sailed towards where they thought the two islands were. It was then that they were relieved and ate their first meal in almost two days. But much to their disappointment, at 4 p.m. black clouds gathered behind them.

The wind was back to 40 knots and the sea was getting higher. The weather continued to get worse throughout the night, and by dawn on 5 January, the situation was again distressing. The author tried to comfort the children, who seemed to be resigned to their fate. He was resolute to fight the sea but by the evening, Mary and he sat together holding hands, as the water seeped in through the broken planks. Both of them felt that their end was very near.

Question 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 text has been divided into three sections. The narration shifts as the events unfold. The first section deals with the narrator’s desire to go sailing around the world, the preparations they made, the onset of the journey and the coming storm. In this section, the narrator sums up more than sixteen years of preparations and the first 3,500 kilometres of their journey in a few paragraphs.

The second section describes the storm and the damage caused to the boat by the storm. The narrator describes in detail the events of 2 January when their ship was buffeted by the storm. He mainly deals with the action taken to avert disaster. In the third section, the narrator steers the ship to safety at He Amsterdam.

In this section, he describes the events of two days and focuses on the emotions of the members of the family as the near-tragedy drew them closer together. The 1 st section can be subtitled .The sea voyage and its challenges, the 2nd – Damages caused by the storm, and the 3rd- Finding lie Amsterdam.

Talking about the text

Discuss the following questions with your partner.

Question 1.
What difference did you notice between the reaction of the adults and the children when faced with danger?
When the adults were faced with danger, they were anxious and sought out ways of battling it. For instance, when they faced rough weather for the first time, they fastened everything, went through their life raff drill, attached lifelines, put on oilskins and life jackets. As the ship flooded with water, Mary panicked and the narrator put her at the wheel, struggled with tools till the ship was waterproof and the water had been bailed out.

They assessed the situation, tried to adopt the best possible strategy for coping with the situation but were often dejected. When the narrator was thrown overboard, he accepted death as inevitable. Similarly, when the motion of the ship brought more and more water in through the broken planks, Mary and the narrator sat holding hands as both felt the end was very near.

On the other hand, Sue hurt herself. Her head had swollen a lot, she had two huge black eyes, and a deep cut on her arm but this did not worry her. The situation worsened and when the author tried to comfort the children on 5 January, Jon said that they were not afraid of dying if the family could be together. due, who was injured, moved up to him and gave him a card she had made. It was a message to hope for the best. The probable reason for the difference in reaction is that the children did not realise the gravity of the situation, like the adults, or that they do not cling on to life like adults.

Question 2.
How does the story suggest that optimism helps to endure “the direst stress”?
It was the sheer optimism of the narrator and the two men in the crew, Larry and Herb, that helped them carry on in the face of life-threatening dangers. They celebrated Christmas despite the gales. When the storm struck and the narrator was flung overboard, he did not give up hope but got back to the ship with his ribs cracked and his mouth filled with blood and broken teeth. He took the wheel and fought water that was getting into the ship.

This shows, they were not willing to give in to danger but were ready to battle it. They faced the extremely cold night, struggling to pump out water, find direction and also work the radio. With no response to their desperate calls for help because they were in a distant comer of the world, they were still optimistic about finding lie Amsterdam and steered the ship towards that direction. Their optimism paid off” and they came out of a stressful situation.

Question 3.
What lessons do we learn from such hazardous experiences when we are face-to-face with death?
One learns to be:

  • optimistic.
  • cooperative.
  • a team player.
  • alert to make the best of what one has.
  • enduring.

Question 4.
Why do you think people undertake such adventurous expeditions in spite of the risks involved?
A human being’s life has become monotonous and mechanical. This deprives us of two important ingredients of happiness spontaneity and variety. Mechanical regularity produces discontentment as it is devoid of joy. Spontaneity and variety are needs of our instinctive nature that can only be satisfied by such adventures. Adventurous expeditions and other high level sports or activities break the monotony of modem life and provide opportunities to test our survival skills.

Thinking about language

Question 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’?
(Answers will vary).

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

Question 3.
‘Catamaran’ is a kind of a boat. Do you know which Indian language this word is derived from? Check the dictionary.
The word was coined in the early seventeenth century. It is derived from the Tamil word kattumaram, that means ‘tied wood’. Catamaran is a name applied to any craft having twin hulls. Originally, it denoted a form of Sailing and paddling raft employed on the coasts of India. In a catamaran, two similar or identical hulls are joined parallel to each other at some distance apart by beams or a platform.

Such crafts were highly developed in the Hawaiian, Marquesas, Tuamotu islands and Tahiti. Some of these crafts had hulls of unequal length. In recent years, the sailing catamaran has again become popular. The advantage of the catamaran is that great stability can be combined with lightness and low water resistance. In recent years, a triple-hull craft called a trimaran has also been developed.

Question 4.
Have you heard any boatmen’s songs? What kind of emotions do these songs usually express?
Some famous boatmen songs include “Drunken Sailor” which describes a group of boatmen pondering over what to do with a drunken sailor early in the morning. “A Hundred Years Ago” pokes fun at the simplicity and foolishness of people that lived a hundred years ago, who thought pigs could fly and the moon was made of cheese. Both these songs are part of the genre referred to as shanty which are songs sung by boatman to amuse themselves during their work. Therefore the tone and lyrics are usually light hearted and amusing.

(Answers will vary).

Working with words

Question 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
I. Knot:

  • object made by tying: a usually hard, lump-shaped object formed when a strand of something such as a string or rope is interlaced with itself or another strand and pulled tight .
  • way of tying: a way of joining or securing lengths of rope, thread, or other strands by tying the material
    together or around itself
  • tangled mass: a tightly tangled mass of strands that are hard to separate
  • tight group: a number of people or things grouped closely together
  • tense feeling: a feeling of tightness or anxiety, for example, a knot in my stomach
  • close emotional tie: a deep bond, especially marriage
  • decoration: a piece of material such as ribbon or braid tied in a knot or bow and used as a decoration
  • problem: a difficult or complex problem
  • lump on tree: a lump on a tree trunk or branch
  • hard patch on tree: a hard patch on a tree out of which a branch or stem grows
  • dark whorl in timber: a hard, dark-coloured patch in cut wood at a point where a branch or stem formerly grew out of the tree
  • lump in body: a node, ganglion, lump, or swelling in the body
  • unit of speed: a unit of measurement for the speed at which a ship or aircraft travels, equivalent to one nautical mile per hour, approximately 1.85 kph/1.15 statute mph, symbol: kn
  • an indicator measuring ship’s speed: a division on a log line used to calculate the speed of a ship

II. Stern:

  • strict: rigid, strict, and uncompromising
  • forbidding: grim, austere, or forbidding in appearance

III. Boom (verb)

  • make loud deep sound: to make a cold, deep reverberating sound
  • utter something loudly: to say something in a loud, deep voice
  • experience significant increase in trade: to experience a significant expansion of business and investment, either across an economy or in a specific market, for example, Business is booming.


  • loud deep sound: a loud deep reverberating sound
  • deep loud bird or animal noise: a deep, loud cry made by some birds and animals.
  • significant increase in amount: a significant increase in the amount of something such as a population level, for example, a population boom
  • significant increase in business: a significant expansion of business and investment, either across an economy or in a specific market, for example, a boom in sales

IV. Hatch

  • type of door: a door cut into the floor or ceiling of something, especially on a boat or an aircraft. It is lifted to provide access to the area below or above it. A hatch may also provide access to an attic or cellar in a building.
  • small hole between two rooms: a small connecting hole in a wall between two rooms, or the small doors that cover this hole, for example, an escape hatch

V. Anchor (noun)

  • device to hold ship in place: a heavy, traditionally double-hooked device for keeping a ship or floating object in place
  • device keeping object in place: any device that keeps an object in place
  • something dependable: somebody or something that provides stability
  • presenter of news programme: a presenter on a news programme, providing a link between the studio and reporters based outside
  • somebody positioned last: the team member who is responsible for the last leg in a relay race or who is at the back in a tug of war
  • climber’s rope attachment: a point to which a climber’s rope is fixed, for example, on a rock face or in ice


  • hold something in place: to hold something securely in place
  • put down anchor: to moor a ship by lowering its anchor so that it remains stationary in a place
  • present news programme: to be the presenter on a news programme

Question 2.
The following three compound words end in -ship. What does each of them mean? airship flagship lightship
airship – a large aircraft without wings, used especially in the past and consisting of a large bag filled with
gas which is lighter than air and powered by engines. Passengers were carried in an enclosed structure hanging  below.

II. flagship –
(a) most important of group: the most important or prestigious among a group of similar and related things

  • the flagship of the hotel chain
  • the company’s flagship hotel

(b) commanding ship: the ship from which the admiral or unit commander controls the operation of a fleet
(c) main commercial ship: the main ship in a commercial fleet

III. Lightship – ship functioning as lighthouse: a ship with a bright, flashing light that functions as a lighthouse, especially one that is anchored in a place where a permanent structure would be impracticable

Question 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 something: to begin to have a particular quality or appearance; to assume something
take somebody on: to employ somebody; to engage somebody to accept somebody as one’s opponent in a game, contest or conflict
take somebody/something on: to decide to do something; to allow something/somebody to enter, for example, a bus, plane or ship; to take something/somebody on board.
In the third paragraph, it means ‘to employ’ or ‘to engage’.

Things to do 

bow  – cabin – rudder – cockpit – stern – boom – mainsail – mast
NCERT Solutions for Class 11 English Hornbill Chapter 2 We’re Not Afraid to Die

2. Here is some information downloaded from the Internet on lie Amsterdam. You can view images of the isle if you go online.

3. Locate lie Amsterdam on the world map.
(Refer to Oxford Atlas and look for lie Amsterdam.).

RBSE Solutions for Class 11 English Hornbill Chapter 2 We’re Not Afraid to Die… If We Can All Be Together, Study Learner

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