Captains Courageous

by Rudyard Kipling

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Can you summarize chapter 8 of Captains Courageous?

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The novel Captains Courageous, written by author Rudyard Kipling, is an adventure that takes place on the high seas. In chapter 8, Harvey is awed when the crew spots a town for the first time. After they buoy the cable, they take “dories,” or rowboats, out to explore the main fishing area. They encounter other boats and seafarers and a plethora of silver-fish, “over five or six acres,” which turns into a fishing frenzy. Harvey is almost knocked overboard when Dan attempts to lower the net. Within five minutes, the commotion is over; the fish are gone. The crew eventually lights lamps and goes to sleep.

In the morning, a school of cod is ready for the taking. The crew starts fishing, squabbling with the other boats nearby. Eventually, an incredible ship shows up, one that everyone turns attention to. It’s described as a “black, buxom eight-hundred-ton craft.” Rudyard compares the ship to a “bewildered woman” taunting its onlookers. As the next day comes, the fleet has been thinned out, as several boats have been crushed and destroyed.

The chapter culminates when the crew hauls a dead Frenchman out of the sea. He’s described as having no face, which horrifies the crew. They decide to return to the main ship, which is like home to the crew. They are welcomed as “uncanny heroes,” as they tell stories and answer questions about their adventure.

Eventually, they head back out to sea. Harvey experiences a sense of nostalgia for home, as the old familiar routine returns. The chapter ends with the crew finding land again, where Harvey breaks down crying and is comforted by a woman and his friends. Harvey recovers and sets off to the telegram office to wire his family at dawn. He was “the loneliest boy in all America.”

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