At the beginning of Part 3, most of the men started to lose their optimism, and it became an effort for them to remain cheerful. With no apparent signs of the pack moving in the right direction, making their chance of seeing land remote, topped off with insufficient food supplies and bad weather, put all of the men in agitation. This frustration becomes apparent when their attitude toward Shackleton starts to change. When Shackleton ordered the men to leave the slain seals behind, saying that they had a month’s worth of food supply. Greenstreet wrote in his journal that he considered Shackleton’s decision “…rather foolish…it is far the best to be prepared for the possible chance of having to winter here” (p. 103). At this point, if it were me, Shackleton’s optimism and confidence would have also started to get on my nerves because his confidence blinded him to the harsh reality of their situation. The patience of the men was truly tested throughout this section. They were fast running out of food, and thus inevitably had to kill off their dogs, which was hard for the men because they had formed an emotional bond with the animals. When Shackleton was considering killing the dogs, the men were outraged, upset, and blamed Shackleton for their shortage of food.
January turned into March and still they were waiting helplessly for a “northerly movement of the pack” (117). When they first felt the rise and fall of the ocean on March 9th, the men were ecstatic, giving them hope again. However, that tiny spark of hope was snatched away again the next day when there wasn’t any movement of the pack. Their disappointment shortly turned into anger, and some started to take it out on each other. Matters got worse by the end of section 3 as their floe broke apart and Shackleton ordered the boats to be launched. The section ends on the ominous note that even as the crew leaves Patience Camp, the ice has begun to close.
The book has become interesting as there is more activity going on; the hopes of the men were repeatedly crushed, resulting in disappointment; yet, they still stuck together. They are motivated to go on. Despite the fact that the men were emotionally attached to the dogs, killing the dogs was a necessity and the men remained strong. Shackleton’s optimism is catchy, yet irritating at the same time; but I think he is a good leader because he shows optimism. His main goal is to keep everyone together and alive, which is why he makes harsh decisions that sometimes do not sit well with the men. Yet, in the long run, I think his decisions are well thought-out and reasonable.