Friday, November 23, 2012
In Part IV of Endurance, the men finally take to the boats and leave Patience Camp. This is a critical moment in their journey. They are forced to leave countless stores and supplies behind with the hope that safe land will be found soon. The men struggle with frostbite, saltwater boils, and dehydration all while trying to maneuver the pitching Antarctic seas. Some men behave admirably, always willing to do their part for the greater good. However, I was struck by the cowardice and selfishness of Orde-Lees in this part. Throughout the book, Orde-Lees has not been the greatest of explorers. He hasn't been a fair teammate, and the men disliked him for it. However, I was still shocked to see that in the most trying time, he still cared more about himself than the good of the group. For example, on page 162, the author talks about how Orde-Lees found the only oilskins and refused to share. He also made himself comfortable at the expense of the other men, especially Marston. Although the men cursed him continuously, nothing could be said that would move him from his spot. He also refused to row with the other men. Luckily, they were happy to volunteer for his turn in order to keep warm. Later in Part IV, however, Orde-Lees finally showed his compassionate side. When Greenstreet took off his boots to find his feet severely frostbitten, Orde-Lees offered to massage them. Shockingly, he also allowed Greenstreet to put his feet against his bare chest for warmth, allowing the veins in his feet to thaw and the blood to begin circulating. I was happy to see that Orde-Lees wasn't all bad. Perhaps the direness of the situation finally got through to him. I hope that in the rest of the book, he continues to display this compassionate side.