Islands in the Stream Part 1, Chapter 6 Summary

Ernest Hemingway

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 thinks his father never forgave him for it. He speculates that this is why he would not go goggle-fishing with the boys, though he intends to do so in the near future despite his fear. Thomas Hudson tries to convince him otherwise, but Roger insists that he has never gotten over it. He is ashamed of this the same way he is ashamed of the fight the night before.

Roger asks if Thomas Hudson thinks he could write something worth reading. Thomas Hudson encourages him to try, then asks why he gave up painting. Roger says he could no longer kid himself, but he intends to go somewhere and write a novel. Thomas Hudson invites him to stay with him and write his novel there. He urges him not to run from it. They would have each other’s company when they quit work. He suggests that Roger use the story of his brother’s death as the basis for his book. Roger worries that he would corrupt it into a love story involving a pioneer and an Indian maiden who make love as they go over the Niagara Falls. He does not like the end of the real story—his brother’s death and his own guilt.

Roger changes the topic and asks Thomas Hudson why it is fun to paint and write well. Thomas Hudson suggests that it is because people are there to help you. Roger says he could have painted better if he were a better person.

They decide to turn in for the night. Roger comes out to the sleeping porch in the middle of the night, but Thomas Hudson does not awaken. In the morning, Roger and the boys discuss plans to spend the day underwater fishing. Roger encourages Andrew not to be scared because it serves no purpose.