Islands in the Stream Part 1, Chapter 4 Summary

Ernest Hemingway

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 inexpensive and healthful. The men on the boat watch the fireworks display then decide to join in by firing off flares. Frank Hart, another guest, fires flares at buildings. The others try to get him to stop. He fires specifically at the Commissioner’s house. Rupert encourages him. He fires at a cruiser, where a man comes out and tells him to stop shooting at this boat because there is a lady on board trying to sleep. None of them knows who the unpleasant man on the yacht is (except Frank), but Roger suggests that Frank stop shooting flares. When Roger threatens to leave, Johnny tells Frank to leave. Frank fires again at the Commissioner’s house, and the man on the yacht comes back out. There is a shouting match, and the man and Roger get into a fistfight. Roger pummels the man thoroughly, and the man’s crew carries him back to his yacht. Roger worries about the man’s condition.

Later, the man on the yacht comes out on deck with a shotgun. Roger tells him to put the gun away and go to bed, but the man just stands there. After a while, he turns and goes down below. The party breaks up, and the men all walk home. Roger goes ahead to Thomas Hudson’s house, where he crawls into bed. They talk a bit when Thomas Hudson comes in because Roger is still feeling low. He tells about the trouble he got into on the mainland, where he beat a man almost to the point of death. Roger laments that there seems to be more and more men who have to be fought. He reads in bed all night long and is still reading when Thomas Hudson gets up the next morning.