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. 

1 comment:

  1. I do appreciate your post. You touched on the value of their unity and the role it plays in the survival of any group effort. A famous quote says "In the multitude of counsellors there is safety". When families of the lower SES maintain that although they do not have much of material and secular value, as long as they have each other they have it all. Yes, absolutely, not just united in physical presence, but also in "spirit". It's like when the late Mufasa speaks to the Young & Confused Lost Prince, Simba, from the sky and says that he is always with him, in heart, in spirit, in mind. When the boats separated, they were both still at heart rooting for and well wishing the others. The most ancient and greatest and most devious and reliably effective tool of military strategy is of "Divide & Conquer". A house divided against itself shall fall, but united it shall remain erected strong and tall. No different for people in the midst of goals and adversity. The unity is an extra buffer against submission. Great people in our lives can be identified by the effects they have in our lives, some people fire us up by mocking us in order to keep us from the greater evil of personal failure. The crew's overall unity throughout all of their calamities and tribulations is truly remarkable, when compared to what can be expected of most groups of random strangers of those quantities with various levels of pride and/or vanity. With the right perspective we all will come to the realization that "all things work for good..."