Saturday, November 3, 2012
Endurance: Post 4
This section of the book has been the most entertaining to me by far. It started out from one extreme and by the end of the section it ended up in a whole different direction for the better. On page 158 it says, "Shackleton searched their faces for an answer to the question that troubled him most: How much more could they take." At this point the men were all over the place from feelings of wondering if they were going to survive throughout the night, or if they were going to stay determined to hold out longer. It shows how much they truly stuck together like a team in this section of the book. Shackleton mentioned in chapter three that he was convinced that their best chance of reaching safety would be to remain together as one. I think that was one of the best decisions that Shackleton has made rather than the men splitting up and going their separate ways. I think they had a much better chance of safety and survival to remain together. However, Shackleton did agree with Worsley and allowed them to proceed independently later on in this section of the book. Shackleton thought it would now be best if the boats separated to try to make land along the southeast shore of Elephant Island. On page 165 it says, "Shackleton suggested that they try chewing seal meat raw in order to swallow the blood. Pieces of the frozen meat were quickly handed out, and after several minutes of chewing and sucking, the men obtained enough of the bloody juice so they could at least swallow." Also on page 166 it says, "It was pull or perish, and ignoring their sickening thirst, they leaned on their oars with what seemed the last of their strength." I cannot even begin to imagine being so desperate of thirst that I would have to drink blood just to be able to swallow and keep myself from dehydration. That is completely disgusting, but under such circumstances they had no choice and needed to do so in order to survive. At the end of chapter four it says, "A moment later they were chewing and sucking greedily, and the delicious water was running down their throats." When the men spotted pieces of ice floating amongst the waves, they leaned over the side of the boat and started to scoop them up with their hands. The men were extremely happy when they were finally able to have actual water to drink. I thought it was very considerate of Shackleton to let Blackboro be the first person ashore on Elephant Island. "They were on land. It was the merest handhold, 100 feet wide and 50 feet deep. A meager grip on a savage coast, exposed to the full fury of the sub-Antarctic Ocean. But no matter what, they were on land. Solid, unsinkable, immovable, blessed land." All in all, section four came to a closure with a wonderful, relieving ending.