Islands in the Stream Part 3, Chapter 6 Summary

Ernest Hemingway

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 he has very little information. He has no clue as to the number of people or the type of weapons they possess. He hopes to find some sign between Cayo Cruz and Megano. He reflects that at least it keeps his mind off things. All that there is for him now is the boat, the men, and the hunt for the Germans. However, he cannot think of them as murderers and feel righteous in his quest. He has no feelings. He believes that men on both sides are murderers. This mission is something to be done but not necessarily something of which to be proud.

Thomas Hudson takes the wheel and tells Ara to keep a lookout on the starboard side. Ara suggests a four-man crew for lookout, but Thomas Hudson says that the need for that will come later. Ara chides him for not getting enough rest, but Thomas Hudson brushes him off.

Ara does not see the Germans as mindless killers, only as soldiers doing what is necessary, including killing one of their own men if it is called for. Ara urges Thomas Hudson to relax and read the way he used to do. Thomas Hudson promises he will read, relax, and sleep that night. Ara says they will catch the Germans or drive them into another’s hands because they have pride, a pride without vanity. All the men on the boat have that pride, and Ara tells Thomas Hudson that he must have it too. Thomas Hudson thanks him and says he feels discouraged sometimes. Ara tells him that pride in excess is a sin, but Thomas Hudson must gain some pride for all their sakes.