If I ever met you in person and could give you one advice on how to become better at your English, do you know what would I say? Yes, read a page and write a paragraph every day – there is no better way. With that message out of the way, it is time for the assignment.
We are now entering the 2nd half of the series with our 6th assignment; hasn’t the journey so far been awesome?
What will you do in this assignment? – You would read a page (no video this time), and then answer a question based on that. Bring out the book lover in you; we are going to dip our toes into one of the world’s all-time best seller books.
situation book (source)
Life of Pi by Yann Martel is a marvelous (fictional) read. It is a story of survival, a story of growth in adversity, and a story about the relativity of truth. If you have not read the book yet, I would recommend you do so today.
The lead character, Pi Patel (the story behind the name is fascinating in equal measures), spends 227 days after a shipwreck, stranded on a lifeboat with a Bengal tiger named Richard Parker. This experience of being on his own in the middle of a vast ocean, with no other human being in sight and just a tiger for company, teaches him so much about life and through his narrative, to the readers of the book. You also get to learn a handful about the life and its peculiarities in the sea (Ex. – How do you make drinking water in the middle of an ocean?).
While each chapter of the book is gripping, entertaining, and thought-provoking (it is easy to read too, unlike some other novels), the one that stayed with me even after years of having read the book is where the author describes fear. If you have ever lived through (and battled) fear (of losing someone, of failing at something, of not being just good enough), you would relate to what is written below.
I must say a word about fear. It is life’s only true opponent. Only fear can defeat life. It is a clever, treacherous adversary, how well I know. It has no decency, respects no law or convention, shows no mercy. It goes for your weakest spot, which it finds with unerring ease. It begins in your mind, always. One moment you are feeling calm, self-possessed, happy. Then fear, disguised in the garb of mild-mannered doubt, slips into your mind like a spy. Doubt meets disbelief and disbelief tries to push it out. But disbelief is a poorly armed foot soldier. Doubt does away with it with little trouble. You become anxious. Reason comes to do battle for you. You are reassured. Reason is fully equipped with the latest weapons technology. But, to your amazement, despite superior tactics and a number of undeniable victories, reason is laid low. You feel yourself weakening, wavering. Your anxiety becomes dread.
Fear next turns fully to your body, which is already aware that something terribly wrong is going on. Already your lungs have flown away like a bird and your guts have slithered away like a snake. Now your tongue drops dead like an opossum, while your jaw begins to gallop on the spot. Your ears go deaf. Your muscles begin to shiver as if they had malaria and your knees to shake as though they were dancing. Your heart strains too hard, while your sphincter relaxes too much. And so with the rest of your body. Every part of you, in the manner most suited to it, falls apart. Only your eyes work well. They always pay proper attention to fear.
Quickly you make rash decisions. You dismiss your last allies: hope and trust. There, you’ve defeated yourself. Fear, which is but an impression, has triumphed over you.
The matter is difficult to put into words. For fear, real fear, such as shakes you to your foundation, such as you feel when you are brought face to face with your mortal end, nestles in your memory like a gangrene: it seeks to rot everything, even the words with which to speak of it. So you must fight hard to express it. You must fight hard to shine the light of words upon it. Because if you don’t, if your fear becomes a wordless darkness that you avoid, perhaps even manage to forget, you open yourself to further attacks of fear because you never truly fought the opponent who defeated you.
Question for you– What are you afraid of (heights, animals, exams, Maths, failure, breakup etc.)? Give details such as how/when did you develop this fear, and any incidents related to the fear (funny, scary or otherwise) that you can share. Write your answer in the comments section below (minimum 200 words). If you don’t have a story of your own, you can write about someone else’s fears too.
You can also read fellow students’ answers in comments (but do so only after you have submitted your own answer so that you don’t get influenced by what others wrote). We also encourage you to share your feedback, appreciation, and thoughts against others’ answers. Remember, it is a community effort and we are all in it together :). Only when you participate, you can expect others to participate and share feedback on what you wrote. Deal?
To read the next article of the series on some of the most commonly misused words in English, click on the next button below. To go back to the earlier article, click on the previous button.