(Masterpieces of American Fiction)

Islands in the Stream was assembled from Hemingway’s manuscripts by his widow and his publisher ten years after his death, and although the book has a certain unfinished quality, it contains most of the Hemingway ingredients. Like much of his fiction, Islands in the Stream is strongly autobiographical, but this last novel carries even more of the fears and fantasies of this major American writer.

The novel is divided into three separate books, held together mainly by the character of Thomas Hudson. Part 1, “Bimini,” is the longest and most successful of the three. Little happens: Hudson, a painter “respected both in Europe and in his own country,” works; his three sons from two earlier marriages (his third wife never appears) arrive for a summer vacation; they all swim and fish. The descriptions are often rich, the scenes humorous, and the focus is on feelings, particularly on Hudson’s largely unexpressed love for his sons: “He had been able to replace almost everything except the children with work and the steady working life he had built on the island.”

In the longest scene, Hudson’s middle son, David, battles a huge broadbill for hours, only to lose him at the last moment. (In several significant ways, the scene resembles the fight between Santiago and the giant marlin in The Old Man and the Sea, 1952.) In another scene, the boys play drunkards in a local waterfront bar, to the dismay of a group of American tourists. Yet one of the group turns out to be Audrey, an old friend of Hudson and of Roger Davis, and in the end Audrey and Davis leave the island together, and then so do the boys. The ending of book 1 is abrupt and shocking; Hudson gets a telegram: “Your sons David and Andrew killed with their mother in motor accident near Biarritz.”


(The entire section is 748 words.)

Islands in the Stream Summary

(Critical Survey of Literature for Students)

On the island of Bimini in the Bahamas, Thomas Hudson works and confronts his regrets and insecurities. Self-disciplined and successful as an artist, he finds time to fish, socialize at Bobby’s Bar, meet with his art dealer in New York, and host the periodic visits of his three sons. At the bar, Hudson discusses with Bobby possible subjects for future paintings—including the end of the world. Hudson then joins writer and friend Roger Davis on Johnny Goodner’s cruiser at the docks, where fireworks mark the celebration of the queen’s birthday. The wealthy and snobbish owner of a cruiser moored nearby confronts Hudson and his noisy and rowdy friends for waking his wife. Davis betters the man in the ensuing fistfight.

Hudson’s three sons arrive: Tom, the oldest and son of Hudson’s first wife, and Andrew and David, sons of his second wife. They discuss their earlier days in Europe, young Tom recalling notables such as James Joyce and Ezra Pound. While spear fishing, the sons narrowly escape a large hammerhead shark. Deep-sea fishing, David hooks a huge swordfish. For six painful and vividly described hours, David determinedly battles the prize fish, only to have it slip away at the last moment.

Roger Davis becomes reacquainted with a past love, the now-married Audrey Bruce, who happens to be vacationing on Bimini. Roger and Audrey depart shortly before Hudson’s sons also leave. News arrives that David, Andrew, and their mother have died in an automobile accident in Europe. Advised to flee his sorrows through travel, Hudson tries to escape into his art but increasingly finds solace in drink.

After twelve days at sea searching for German U-boats, Hudson...

(The entire section is 694 words.)

Islands in the Stream Chapter Summaries

Islands in the Stream Part 1, Chapter 1 Summary

On the island of Bimini in the Bahamas, Thomas Hudson’s house is built on a high promontory between the harbor and the sea. The house is described as “solid as a ship” and has survived three hurricanes. The tall coconut palms that surround it have been bent by the constant pressure of the wind. The path from the door on the ocean side leads down the bluff to the sea, where the Gulf Stream flows past the island. The water changes colors from dark blue to green. The beach is a safe place to swim during the day, but at night sharks come close to the shore to feed.

Thomas Hudson is a painter and lives in the house most of the year because he does not want to miss any season. Although the summers can be hot and the autumn hurricanes can be fierce, the weather is usually fine. Thomas Hudson has studied tropical storms for years and has become adept at predicting their arrival. He has also learned how to survive the hurricanes, though he knows there are hurricanes through which no one could live. The hurricanes bind all the people on the island together.

Thomas Hudson’s house on the promontory is the highest thing on the island, except for a few trees. Sailing toward the island, one first sees the trees, then Thomas Hudson’s house, then the rest of the island rising up from the sea. It is also the only house on the island with a fireplace, which keeps it warm in the colder winter months. He burns driftwood that he finds along the beach. There are some beautifully shaped pieces that he is reluctant to burn, but he eventually burns them anyway.

Thomas Hudson enjoys winter evenings spent sitting by his fire, reading, and listening to the sounds of the surf below. He often puts out the lamp, lies on the floor, and watches the driftwood burn. The fire makes him both sad and happy—happy in its beauty, but sad at the thought that it might be wrong to burn something of which he is so fond. But he does not feel guilty.

While on the floor, Thomas Hudson can feel the wind whipping around the four corners of the house. He can also feel the pounding of the surf, which reminds him of the heavy pounding of guns in his long-ago wartime experiences. The beauty of the fire leads him to feel that winter is the best season of all.

Islands in the Stream Part 1, Chapter 2 Summary

Thomas Hudson’s three sons (Young Tom, David, and Andrew) are coming to Bimini for the summer. David and Andrew’s mother had planned to take her sons to Europe but said nothing to Thomas Hudson. At first she said he could have the boys for Christmas vacation, but at last she compromised and said they could come for the first five weeks of the summer. Their older half-brother, Young Tom, will be in charge of them on the trip to join their mother in Europe. Then he will join his own mother in France, where she is filming a movie (although she would have preferred that he stay on Bimini with his father).

Thomas Hudson is grateful for the compromise and is looking forward to spending five weeks with his boys. He momentarily regrets divorcing Young Tom’s mother, but he realizes that it is the best thing. Everything in his life, except for his children, he has replaced with work. He has enough memories to keep him satisfied. Sometimes she goes to Cuba to fish or to the mountains in the fall. Occasionally he goes to New York to see his dealer, but more often than not his dealer comes to Bimini to see him. Half of his money goes to alimony; the rest keeps him secure enough. Despite his ambivalence toward success, Thomas Hudson has been successful in every area except marriage. He does not lack for female companionship but is always glad when the women are gone.

Thomas Hudson had to struggle to learn to discipline himself. Most of this discipline is targeted at his painting and his abstention from marriage. Joseph, his houseboy, interrupts his thoughts, suggesting that he end his work for the day. He offers to fix Thomas Hudson a drink, but Thomas Hudson says he intends to go down and have one at Mr. Bobby’s. Joseph objects to this planning, telling him that the mail has come. Thomas Hudson agrees to have a drink and read the mail before he goes down to Mr. Bobby’s.

Joseph assures Thomas Hudson that everything is ready for the boys’ arrival. He speaks of Andrew’s meanness. Thomas Hudson replies that Andrew started off mean. He tells Joseph to be a good example for the boys, but Joseph replies that the boys are an example to him. Thomas Hudson prepares to go down to Mr. Bobby’s. Joseph says that Mr. Roger has arrived on the boat and agrees to get a bed ready for him.

Islands in the Stream Part 1, Chapter 3 Summary

As Thomas Hudson showers, he reflects that he should have taken a swim first. He dresses and heads out, walking down the King’s Highway to the town. He encounters an old black man who is being taunted by a child from one of the roadside shacks.

A young boy hurries up the road and tells Thomas Hudson that a gentleman from a yacht is causing a disturbance at Mr. Bobby’s bar. The boy, Louis, had been working for the man and his wife, singing for them while they were supposedly fishing. The man’s wife is upset by her husband’s violent outbursts and has sent Louis to buy some conch pearls. Thomas Hudson thinks no one has ever liked conch pearls except Queen Mary of England, whose birthday is being celebrated that...

(The entire section is 422 words.)

Islands in the Stream Part 1, Chapter 4 Summary

Thomas Hudson leaves Mr. Bobby’s bar and visits Johnny Goodner on his boat. Johnny is eating and expounding on the virtues of chili peppers. Thomas Hudson answers Johnny’s questions about his living alone on the island, stating that he got tired of moving around. As they are discussing Roger Davis’s reasons for coming to Bimini, Roger himself arrives and assures them he is not running from charges of having sex with an underage girl. Johnny grills them both on what they have been doing to stay occupied on the island.

On shore, there is much singing and drinking. Rupert Pinder, one of the native black men, calls down to the boat, saying that the boys are getting thirsty. Johnny tells him to buy them something...

(The entire section is 426 words.)

Islands in the Stream Part 1, Chapter 5 Summary

Roger goes out before breakfast, so Thomas Hudson eats alone and then begins working. When Roger returns, they discuss the events of the previous evening, which neither of them can remember clearly.

Thomas Hudson’s three sons arrive later in the day. They are reserved at first but soon treat the house as their home and leave their things lying around on the floor. Thomas Hudson reflects on the appearance of each boy: Young Tom is like a tragic Indian; David, an otter; and Andrew, a pocket battleship. The boys have a tendency to argue among themselves and do so frequently. They talk with Thomas Hudson about their earlier childhood adventures in the States, especially on the ranch out West. Thomas Hudson tells them of...

(The entire section is 416 words.)

Islands in the Stream Part 1, Chapter 6 Summary

Although David and Tom had wanted to go goggle-fishing with Roger, the seas had proved too rough, and they go snapper-fishing with Joseph instead. They come home tired and immediately go to bed.

Roger and Thomas Hudson discuss Andrew’s fear of the dark. Thomas Hudson says that he was afraid of the dark as a child, but Roger says he was more afraid of dying and of something happening to his brother, who in fact did die. Thomas Hudson expresses surprise that he had a brother because he has never mentioned him. Roger explains that he died. He and Roger were in a canoe that tipped over. Roger’s brother, Dave, drowned. Thomas Hudson expresses his sorrow. Roger feels guilty for surviving when his brother could not. He...

(The entire section is 434 words.)

Islands in the Stream Part 1, Chapter 7 Summary

Thomas Hudson takes the boys goggle-fishing near a sunken steamer. Joseph and Andrew are in charge of the dinghy while the others go diving. Thomas Hudson lets Tom and David have the first chance, with Roger along with them. Thomas Hudson goes below to the galley and talks with Eddy, who warns that the boys are scattering underwater. Thomas Hudson goes topside and relays Eddy’s warning to Roger. Eddy comes up and urges Thomas Hudson to stand guard with the rifle. Thomas Hudson moves the boat closer to the reef. Eddy goes back down below to finish fixing dinner.

Thomas Hudson relaxes, lying on the bridge to watch the boys. When he asks Eddy to bring him a drink, Thomas Hudson notices that he has Mercurochrome staining...

(The entire section is 443 words.)

Islands in the Stream Part 1, Chapter 8 Summary

In the middle of the night, Thomas Hudson awakens to hear the sounds of the boys and Roger sleeping peacefully. He thinks of how he liked to live alone, but now he wants the boys to stay forever. He knows when the boys leave he will enjoy the solitude for a while but then the loneliness will return.

Thomas Hudson has built his life on the island by the Gulf Stream and has developed many habits and customs to handle the loneliness. These will come again once he has moved past the loneliness. For now, he is happy and does not find happiness dull, as it is so often purported to be. He is realizing this summer just how much he loves his boys. He wishes he had them with him all the time and that he was still married to...

(The entire section is 462 words.)

Islands in the Stream Part 1, Chapter 9 Summary

In the morning, Thomas Hudson discovers that Eddy had stayed up all night splicing fishing lines. The moon had been full, which bothered both of them. On the trip out to sea, Tom confesses to his father that his friendships with grown men have ruined his opinion of boys his own age.

Also in the morning, David manages to catch a broadbill, a type of swordfish, but the size of the fish means it is not going to be an easy catch. They move the boat out to make it easier to bring the fish in. David vows to hang on to the fish until death. His father and brothers are seriously concerned about this possible outcome. Tom especially is worried, but he confesses that he is the family worrier. Roger tries to keep David cool by...

(The entire section is 488 words.)

Islands in the Stream Part 1, Chapter 10 Summary

The night after David’s battle with the fish, Thomas Hudson cannot sleep. He noticed that both David and Andrew moved away from him emotionally while only Tom remained close to him. David had grown closer to Roger, and Andrew had behaved in a way in which Thomas Hudson did not approve. He berates himself for overanalyzing the situation, but there is something about the events of the day, in connection with his relationship to his sons, that frightens him.

In the morning, gale-force winds are blowing. The boys are still sleeping, and Roger has gone for a walk on the beach. Joseph informs Thomas Hudson that Eddy is nursing a black eye. Thomas Hudson knows Eddie got in a fight at the bars because no one believed his...

(The entire section is 404 words.)

Islands in the Stream Part 1, Chapter 11 Summary

They all enjoy a feast of steak and potatoes, with trimmings, after the trying day. The men and boys praise Eddy’s excellence as a cook. Tom asks if they can go down to Mr. Bobby’s and trick the people on the yacht into thinking Andrew is a rummy. Thomas Hudson gives permission as long as they explain their game to the constable. Andrew says he will wait until after lunch so he will not get sick. Roger offers to go with Tom to prepare for the stunt. David is going to take a nap and then read.

Thomas Hudson spends the afternoon sketching in preparation for his painting of David and the fish. He discusses the details with David, who suggests that they ask Eddy, who has a keen eye and memory. David admires Eddy and...

(The entire section is 433 words.)

Islands in the Stream Part 1, Chapter 12 Summary

The next day, Roger and the boys swim while Thomas Hudson works and thinks about the girl Roger picked up at the bar. She reminds him of Tom’s mother when he first met her. Roger carries David up from the beach so he will not get sand in his wounded feet. Thomas Hudson overhears the boy asking about the probability of the girl responding to Roger’s invitation. David says that Tom has declared he is in love with her.

As Roger dresses David’s feet, the girl arrives. She asks about David’s wounded feet. David tells her the story of the man who taught Tom backgammon. When the man revealed himself to be homosexual, Tom thanked him for teaching him the game and then ended their friendship. When David asks about the...

(The entire section is 416 words.)

Islands in the Stream Part 1, Chapter 13 Summary

The next few days with Audrey present are enjoyable, without any sadness over the boys’ imminent departure. When the yacht and its passengers leave, Audrey takes a room at the hotel but spends most of her time at Thomas Hudson’s home and often sleeps on the porch or in the guest room.

Nothing is said about Roger and Audrey being in love. Roger informs Thomas Hudson that it seems Audrey is married. Her husband is “a son of a bitch,” but he is rich, which Thomas Hudson speculates is his sole nice side. Roger decides he does not want to talk about it.

Thomas Hudson asks Roger if he is going to write his book after all. Roger says he is, and he mentions that Audrey wants him to. When Thomas Hudson asks...

(The entire section is 420 words.)

Islands in the Stream Part 1, Chapter 14 Summary

Thomas Hudson goes back to work but feels unhappy about the boys’ being gone. He thinks this is the normal loneliness he feels each time their visit ends, so he concentrates on his painting. His world ends when one of the island boys brings a radio message from the local post office. He signs for it, and the boy says, “We’re sorry, Mr. Tom.” Thomas Hudson tips the boy a shilling, but he returns it and leaves.

Thomas Hudson reads the message. Then he puts it in his pocket and goes out to sit on the porch. He reads the message again. It says that David and Andrew, along with their mother, were killed in a car accident near Biarritz. Everything is being taken care of until Thomas Hudson’s arrival. The message is...

(The entire section is 407 words.)

Islands in the Stream Part 1, Chapter 15 Summary

As Thomas Hudson crosses the Atlantic by boat, he reflects that, unlike Dante’s Inferno, hell is a ship designed for comfort taking him to a place he always looked forward to with anticipation but now views with dread. He boarded the ship early in New York to avoid meeting people who would feel compelled to express their condolences on the death of his sons. He had hoped he could come to terms with his sorrow, but he soon realized this is impossible. He decides to spend the passage drinking and reading. In the news magazines, he reads the report of the deaths of his boys and his ex-wife, but he feels nothing, most likely due to the whiskey.

Thomas Hudson wonders why the boys’...

(The entire section is 405 words.)

Islands in the Stream Part 2 Summary

As World War II begins, Thomas Hudson is living in Cuba with several cats and dogs. Boise, a special cat, stays away from Thomas Hudson when he is drunk, as do all but one of the other cats. Goats alone will approach him, lured by the magic word medicine. Boise becomes increasingly independent.

On a morning not long after his return from cruising the waters of the Gulf Stream on a reconnaissance mission, Thomas Hudson rises early, unable to sleep. There is little to eat because he was not expected to return so soon. He plans to take a four-day break from touring the region for German ocean craft. He observes Princessa, one of the older cats that reminds him of one of his lovers, an Italian princess whom he...

(The entire section is 1327 words.)

Islands in the Stream Part 3, Chapter 1 Summary

Thomas Hudson patrols the waters of the Caribbean Sea, searching the islands of the Gulf Stream for signs of Nazis. As he patrols the beach of a seemingly deserted island with his troop of Basque irregular soldiers, he sees no sign of the shacks that he knew used to be there—nor are there any boats. He double-checks with his mate to make sure they are in the right location. The mate assures him that there should be a village there. Thomas Hudson moves the cruiser closer to the beach.

Thomas Hudson orders his mate to take three of the men and go on shore to investigate. The men are to take on the disguise of a team of scientists, carrying no weapons but machetes and wearing no uniforms but wide straw hats. While they...

(The entire section is 456 words.)

Islands in the Stream Part 3, Chapter 2 Summary

Thomas Hudson looks out at the line of surf and tries not to think about the situation, but he has it all figured out by the time Ara and Henry appear. The two men report that they found one German, dead, shot in the base of the spine and again at the base of the neck. Ara has brought the bullets, and Thomas Hudson reports that he has found some just like them.

Henry asks Thomas Hudson his thoughts on the reason the German was killed, but Thomas Hudson has no clue. From the fact that the Germans took the village’s boats he surmises that they had not come to make repairs on their own. Henry apologizes for sounding unintelligent, but he wants to do what he can and is glad that they have at last made contact with the...

(The entire section is 407 words.)

Islands in the Stream Part 3, Chapter 3 Summary

Thomas Hudson dreams that his son Tom was not shot down and that Andrew and David were not killed in the automobile accident with their mother. He dreams the war is over. Tom’s mother is sleeping with him, lying on top of him as she occasionally liked to do. He can feel her body against him. He moistens his .357 Magnum and places it where it should be. He draws his ex-wife’s hair around him like a curtain and begins to move slowly and rhythmically.

Henry pulls a light blanket over Thomas Hudson, who in his sleep thanks him for being so moist and lovely, for pressing on him so hard, and for not being too thin. Henry expresses pity for Thomas Hudson and walks away carrying two containers on his shoulders.


(The entire section is 414 words.)

Islands in the Stream Part 3, Chapter 4 Summary

Thomas Hudson steers the cruiser all night; first Ara accompanies him on the bridge and then Henry comes after midnight. The seas are heavy with waves, and Thomas Hudson tells Ara to talk to him about something, anything. Ara tells him that Peters could not raise Guantanamo by radio. Thomas Hudson tells him that Peters had burnt out something on the radio that cannot be repaired. Willie is keeping Peters awake, Ara says. Thomas Hudson wonders who is keeping Willie awake.

Ara asks Thomas Hudson how badly he feels. Thomas Hudson muses about how badly he could possibly feel. Henry comes up and relieves Ara, stating that Peters has reached Miami and is listening to all the police prowl cars. He has heard some “chatter”...

(The entire section is 410 words.)

Islands in the Stream Part 3, Chapter 5 Summary

Thomas Hudson guides the cruiser to the island, where a radio shack is partially hidden by a wrecked ship. He maneuvers the boat safely through the reef and anchors in the shelter of a half-moon beach. All that can be seen at the radio shack is a new Cuban flag flapping in the breeze. He finds the drums of gas where he had left them. Terns are flying overhead, calling sadly. Thomas Hudson guesses that someone is hunting terns’ eggs for breakfast.

Thomas Hudson wonders why the Germans did not take the island when they could have conquered it so easily. Then he sees the Lieutenant coming down the path to the beach. He greets Thomas Hudson, who invites him on board for a beer. The Lieutenant declines and tells him that...

(The entire section is 407 words.)

Islands in the Stream Part 3, Chapter 6 Summary

The cruiser, now fully restocked, sails inside the reef close to the coast. One watch is below, cleaning the chickens for dinner. As he looks over the side, Thomas Hudson sees patches of chicken feathers floating by. Two signs attached to the sides of the boat announce the scientific nature of the vessel as a decoy.

Thomas Hudson tells Ara to take the boat in as close as possible without hitting any sandbars. He wants to check at the head of Cayo Cruz in case the fishermen there have spotted anything. Ara is finding the sailing difficult because of high winds.

Thomas Hudson wonders about the absence of signals from the German boat; he thinks they lost their radio in a collision. Other than that, he realizes...

(The entire section is 407 words.)

Islands in the Stream Part 3, Chapter 7 Summary

As the cruiser anchors off the protected side of Cayo Cruz, Thomas Hudson tells his mate they will put out another anchor because he is unsure of the sea bottom at this point. He maneuvers the boat forward slowly, watching the grass along the banks. Even with the second anchor set, the boat rides roughly on the wind-tormented waves. Thomas Hudson sees no other choice but to let her roll. The mate puts the dinghy out into the water. The number of lines leading off from the boat makes Thomas Hudson think it looks like a spider.

Thomas Hudson tells his mate to put an outboard motor on the dinghy because he intends to go on land. The mate objects, saying that he will take Ara and Willie as well as another party in to...

(The entire section is 398 words.)

Islands in the Stream Part 3, Chapter 8 Summary

Ara and Willie come back to the boat and announce that they have caught a German. The prisoner is lying in the stern; he is blond and emaciated. With the sun shining through his long hair, he looks like a saint. Ara says he and Willie tried to get him to talk without success. He also warns Thomas Hudson to stand downwind to avoid the odor. Peters, who speaks German, asks him if he wants anything, but the prisoner says nothing. Thomas Hudson it is important for him to know how many Germans there are. He says nothing is important. Thomas Hudson offers him morphine, but the German says he does not hurt anymore. Peters speaks to him rapidly in German, but Thomas Hudson warns him to say only what he tells him to say. He has Peters tell...

(The entire section is 496 words.)

Islands in the Stream Part 3, Chapter 9 Summary

The next morning Thomas Hudson looks at the barometer and notices that it is falling lower. The mate tells him that the squalls are going into the south. Thomas Hudson goes up on deck and scrubs the stern where the German died. He then goes up to the flying bridge and waits for dawn. The mate, Ara, and Gil hoist the dinghy aboard, then the mate pumps the bilges and checks the motors to make sure they are ready for business. Thomas Hudson is concerned that there was so much water in the boat, but the mate says there was a loose stuffing box that he has tightened a little. The anchor is hoisted and they set out.

Thomas Hudson asks if Peters ever raised Guantanamo on the radio again but learns that the radio burned. Thomas...

(The entire section is 414 words.)

Islands in the Stream Part 3, Chapter 10 Summary

Thomas Hudson, Ara, and Willie pilot the dinghy toward the key’s shore. They carry with them submachine guns, which they have dubbed “the little children.” When they land, the men spread out to search the island. Willie asks if he may shoot any Krauts he finds, but Thomas Hudson tells him to leave at least one alive.

Thomas Hudson enjoys being on land again but is spooked by the eerie calm that comes before the inevitable storm, which is fast approaching, as he can see from the accumulating clouds. He does not believe there is anything on the island, but it must still be searched carefully. He berates himself for not knowing more about the Germans they are following, for not searching the hut or examining the...

(The entire section is 477 words.)

Islands in the Stream Part 3, Chapter 11 Summary

After the rain stops, the boat is checked for leaks in the drought-shrunken wood. The duties handed out, Thomas Hudson takes his air mattress and gun and heads to the flying bridge. He wants to lie down and think about nothing, which he is sometimes able to do. He feels clean from the scrubbing down he did in the rain. He knows there is no use in thinking about his ex-wife, Tom’s mother, and his life with her. He knows there is no use thinking about Tom, now killed in the war. He had stopped thinking about it as soon as he received the news. He does not think about the other boys, whom he also lost. He has become good at not thinking. Perhaps he will go to sleep and have good or funny dreams. He knows Ara or Henry will awaken him...

(The entire section is 448 words.)

Islands in the Stream Part 3, Chapter 12 Summary

In the morning, Thomas Hudson guides the cruiser down the channel, which is rocky and dangerous but safer than sailing down the inside of the keys. Antonio joins him and comments on the coming heat of the day, similar to the day before. Thomas Hudson plans to check with the keeper of the lighthouse to find out any news of the Germans. Antonio offers to go on land to ask because he knows the lighthouse keeper.

The other men come up on deck. They speak of the ships they have seen in the past, much bigger than any ships they were acquainted with. Willie reminds them that they are not searching for submarines or aircraft carriers but a small half-open boat. They approach the lighthouse, and Antonio catches a barracuda to...

(The entire section is 425 words.)

Islands in the Stream Part 3, Chapter 13 Summary

Thomas Hudson and his men search the beach at Puerto Coco and look for tracks or signs that the turtle boat containing the Germans might have passed that way. As on the day before, the squalls put a halt to their search. Thomas Hudson only finds a lagoon filled with tropical birds taking shelter from the coming storm. Other than signs of an old campfire, there is nothing, and Ara picks him up in the dinghy. Ara tells him that no one else found any signs either. All are on board but Willie, who had taken the longest search. Ara hopes the rain will cool Willie off. He asks Thomas Hudson where he thinks the Germans have gone. Thomas Hudson thinks they are at Guillermo because that is where he would have gone if he had been in their...

(The entire section is 403 words.)

Islands in the Stream Part 3, Chapter 14 Summary

There is a heavy storm overnight, which prevents Peters from hearing anything over the radio. The humidity brings out sand flies that are worse than mosquitoes. Thomas Hudson sprays bug repellent over Peters, waking him, as well as the rest of the crew. He hears two planes flying high overhead. Perhaps they are bombers, he thinks. He wants to get this mission over with. There is only one bad place left to sail through, and then they can go on to Guillermo.

At daylight they are underway with Gil watching the shoreline. Ara wonders where the Dawn Patrol is. Willie says it must be Sunday because they don’t patrol on Sundays. Thomas Hudson fears the Germans on their turtle boat have sailed through the pass at Guillermo...

(The entire section is 441 words.)

Islands in the Stream Part 3, Chapter 15 Summary

The cruiser has run aground in a place where there should have been an identifying stake. The men hope the wind will rise and push them against the flood of the outgoing tide. They arrange the anchors to get the best possible leverage. If the wind blows until the middle of the night, they might be able to break out of the mud and find a place in the bay.

Thomas Hudson feels reprieved now that they are stuck—it is like the reprieve felt after suffering a wound. The reprieve is only temporary and soon he will have to take up the search once again. Ara consoles him with the idea that the Germans might be just around the corner. Thomas Hudson tells him to see that the men are fed and cheerful. Afterward, he, Willie, and...

(The entire section is 417 words.)

Islands in the Stream Part 3, Chapter 16 Summary

Thomas Hudson, Willie, and Peters spy the turtle boat as they round the point of the key. It is close to the shore and covered with vines as a means of camouflage. Willie notes that the skiff is missing, so some of the Germans must be on shore. Thomas Hudson gives the word that they are to board and sink the boat.

Thomas Hudson brings the dinghy alongside the boat without a sound, and the three men climb on board. The hatch is open and covered with branches. No one is on deck. Thomas Hudson waves Willie forward past the hatch. He tells Peters to tell them in German to come out with their hands up, which Peters does. No one answers, and nothing happens. At Thomas Hudson’s command, Peters tells them they have ten...

(The entire section is 454 words.)

Islands in the Stream Part 3, Chapter 17 Summary

As Willie goes back to the cruiser to bring Ara and Henry, Thomas Hudson looks down on Peters. He realizes he never noticed the radio operator was so tall. Before Willie had left, he and Thomas Hudson explored the German turtle boat and found it a mess. There had been only one German on board, the one who had shot Peters, mistaking him for an officer. The men who had taken the skiff to shore had also evidently taken weapons because there was only one pistol and some ammunition on board. The man left on board had been the wounded soldier, shot through the thigh.

Thomas Hudson wonders what the Germans are doing at that moment. They most likely heard the explosions and saw one man leave in the dinghy. He thinks they will...

(The entire section is 440 words.)

Islands in the Stream Part 3, Chapter 18 Summary

As Thomas Hudson waits for Willie with Henry, he thinks of his fate and that had they taken the open sea instead of going into the channel, Peters would be alive and they would all be sitting around drinking beer that night. He tries not to think about that because this is his job. He checks on Henry, who wonders if frag bombs can explode from the intense heat of the sun. He hopes Ara has some water in the dinghy but does not think they put any in before they left.

The sound of the outboard motor of the dinghy is heard, and it comes around the point. It is riding high, and Ara is in the stern. He notices birds rising up and flying away. Henry speculates that Willie is well into the key. Ara climbs on board, carrying...

(The entire section is 482 words.)

Islands in the Stream Part 3, Chapter 19 Summary

Back on the cruiser, Thomas Hudson talks over the situation with Antonio. The high tide will not come until after eleven o’clock that night. The wind may be pushing the water out of the bay, so the water still may not be deep enough to get the boat out of the mud. Antonio, however, is confident that it will float. George and Gil have gone out to stake the channel in the places where it is shallow so they will be able to maneuver the boat on the way out. Thomas Hudson wants to go to the turtle boat and shine a light on it. If one of his men is on the boat, he can blink a light at them if the Germans come out in the skiff. However, Antonio thinks it will be too dark. Thomas Hudson agrees because he has been wrong twice that day....

(The entire section is 513 words.)

Islands in the Stream Part 3, Chapter 20 Summary

Henry comes up to the bridge and joins Thomas Hudson. The other men are down below; they are drinking but are not drunk. They have limited themselves in anticipation of the coming night. Henry says that he and Willie are looking forward to finally engaging the Germans they have been tracking for so long. Thomas Hudson says he does not look forward to it but this is the job they were sent to do. He does not think the Germans will try to attack them during the night, but he has no idea what they might be doing. They have every reason to try to return to their ship, but they might know the ship has been booby trapped. He is sure they do not want to be picked up because of the massacre on the island. Therefore, they might be...

(The entire section is 453 words.)

Islands in the Stream Part 3, Chapter 21 Summary

Thomas Hudson hears the noise of a grenade exploding behind the ridge on the key, and then all is quiet. He tells Gil he will take the cruiser through as soon as he sees the dinghy. Antonio appears beside him and tells him to lie down. Thomas Hudson agrees and lets Antonio take over the wheel. He lies down on the deck. He says that he believes it is better if he does not move much. Soon Antonio tells him that the men on shore are waving them in. When Thomas Hudson tells Antonio to anchor the boat as soon as they are out of the channel, Antonio tells him not to talk. Henry comes up and takes the wheel, guiding the boat out into the open water.

Henry tells Thomas Hudson not to talk and expresses his hope that it does not...

(The entire section is 471 words.)

Islands in the Stream Bibliography

(Masterpieces of American Fiction)

Benson, Jackson J., ed. New Critical Approaches to the Short Stories of Ernest Hemingway. Durham, N.C.: Duke University Press, 1990. Section 1 covers critical approaches to Hemingway’s most important long fiction; section 2 concentrates on story techniques and themes; section 3 focuses on critical interpretations of the most important stories; section 4 provides an overview of Hemingway criticism; section 5 contains a comprehensive checklist of Hemingway short fiction criticism from 1975 to 1989.

Bloom, Harold, ed. Ernest Hemingway: Modern Critical Views. New York: Chelsea House, 1985. After an introduction that considers...

(The entire section is 258 words.)