Summary (Masterplots, Fourth Edition)
The narrator of the story, a young American sailor, is picked up at Ravavai, a Pacific island, by a whaling vessel, the Arcturion. The voyage of the Arcturion is not a successful one, and when the ship begins to head for the cold climate of the Bay of Kamchatka, the young narrator and his special friend in the forecastle, Jarl, decide to leave the ship. Knowing the captain will not land them anywhere, they provision a small boat and in it escape from the ship under cover of darkness.
Heading westward, the two men hope to reach some hospitable islands. After sailing for many days, they come upon a drifting ship that seems to be a derelict. Finding it in fairly seaworthy condition, they board it. The following morning, a native man and woman are found in the rigging, where they had hidden from the narrator and Jarl. With the help of the natives, who had escaped with the ship from an unfriendly tribe of islanders after the latter had killed the ship’s crew, the narrator and Jarl continue their voyage in search of land.
After many days of voyaging, the vessel is becalmed. In the storm that follows, the vessel is wrecked. Jarl and the narrator, with the native man, Samoa, set out in a little whaleboat. The native woman is killed during the storm. Many days later, they see a sail in the distance. Taking up their oars to aid the force of the sail, they slowly close in on the craft they had spotted. As they draw close, they see it...
(The entire section is 1168 words.)
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