What happens to Captain Nielsen and the crew when they get near Ship-Trap Island?

Expert Answers

An illustration of the letter 'A' in a speech bubbles

At the beginning of the short story, Whitney and Rainsford are on the top deck of the yacht having a conversation about hunting when Whitney mentions that the island they are passing has a bad reputation. Whitney proceeds to tell Rainsford that the crew seemed "a bit jumpy" today and Captain Nielsen mentioned that the island has an "evil name among seafaring men." Whitney goes on to say that Captain Nielsen even stopped to ask if he felt anything strange or ominous in the air. When Rainsford comments that the ship's crew and captain simply have overactive imaginations, Whitney says that he believes sailors have an extra sense that warns them when they are in danger. Captain Nielsen and the crew's ominous feelings about Ship-Trap Island create a foreboding atmosphere and foreshadow Rainsford's horrific experience on the island, where General Zaroff hunts him during the most dangerous game.

Approved by eNotes Editorial Team
An illustration of the letter 'A' in a speech bubbles

Captain Nielsen and his crew are more than a little jumpy as they approach the notorious Ship-Trap Island. Nielsen's a hardy old sea dog, but even he is feeling quite unnerved as this God-forsaken place comes into view. Whitney asks the tough old Swede what's wrong, but the captain won't let on. He simply mumbles something about the island having an evil reputation amongst sailors. This isn't just an old sailor's superstition, either; even Whitney can feel a certain chill in the air as they draw nearer and nearer to this terrible place.

Rainsford's not convinced; he thinks it's all just a load of mumbo-jumbo. However, Whitney replies that perhaps sailors have a kind of sixth sense that allows them to detect the presence of evil. That Whitney and the sailors are absolutely right about this is something that the skeptical Rainsford will find out for himself in due course.

Approved by eNotes Editorial Team

We’ll help your grades soar

Start your 48-hour free trial and unlock all the summaries, Q&A, and analyses you need to get better grades now.

  • 30,000+ book summaries
  • 20% study tools discount
  • Ad-free content
  • PDF downloads
  • 300,000+ answers
  • 5-star customer support
Start your 48-Hour Free Trial