Download PDF PDF Page Citation Cite Share Link Share

Last Updated September 5, 2023.

When William Wallace decides to drag the river to search for the body of his wife, Hazel, he must gather a group of men and boys to help him as well as procure the wide net owned by a man called Doc. Eventually, the men stop their work and cook some of the fish they have caught, and Doc seems relaxed and even content to be there. William Wallace's friend, Virgil, remarks on how good Doc seems to feel, and Doc replies,

The excursion is the same when you go looking for your sorrow as when you go looking for your joy.

Despite the fact that William Wallace and Virgil end up getting pretty irritated with Doc, this sentiment strikes me as incredibly true and profound. Doc finds that he is able to enjoy being on the river, bonding with other men and boys, eating the fish they've caught, and he seems to suggest that one might as well enjoy what one can while one can. If we only focus on the sorrows and don't look for the joys, we still must do the same work and take the same roads, but if we look for the joys too, then we get to benefit from them.

The men then watch the thunder and lightning storm that develops on the river. Everyone is rather awed by the lightning especially as it strikes nearby trees and turns the river into a "wound of silver."

In silence the party crouched and stooped beside the trunk of the great tree, which in the push of the storm rose full of a fragrance and unyielding weight. Where they all stared, past their tree, was another tree, and beyond that another and another, all the way down the bank of the river, all towering and darkened in the storm. "The outside world is full of endurance," said Doc. "Full of endurance."

The group really does seem to bond in these moments, made small by the magnitude of the awesome nature around them, they huddle together. Neither age, nor skin color, nothing else seems to matter for a few moments. The earth is "wounded" by the storm but goes on, refreshed and renewed. The fact that it never rained at William Wallace's house seems significant: the group of men and boys go through a tough day together, but they ultimately do find some enjoyment, and the rain seems to wipe them clean, in a way. They endure, like the earth, and carry on together. However, such a thing does not happen to Hazel, at home. She remains largely the same as she ever was, none the wiser that her husband has been through so much and only caring that he took such time to go and search for her. Her complaints seem trivial when compared to the experiences of her husband.

See eNotes Ad-Free

Start your 48-hour free trial to get access to more than 30,000 additional guides and more than 350,000 Homework Help questions answered by our experts.

Get 48 Hours Free Access