Summary and Analysis Part III Chapter 15: Sharks and Bullets



On the 27th day in the ocean, the castaways see another plane. It is a Japanese fighter plane. When its crew spots the Americans, the plane opens fire, sending Louie skittering into the ocean where sharks await. He fights off the sharks long enough to get back into the raft, only to come under fire from the Japanese again. The three men survive, but one of the rafts is punctured by bullet holes. They patch it as best they can, but now all three men have to live on one raft. Mac completely loses hope of being saved.


In spite of small miracles and saving graces, the Pacific Ocean still maintains its harsh, unyielding hold over the castaways. Adding to the suffering is another hope of rescue that is quickly dashed by enemy gunfire.

The third plane Louie spots overhead resuscitates a desperate hope of a new savior, but by now the men have drifted into Japanese waters—figuratively the edge of hell. Louie has to brave sharks in order to avoid being killed by the Japanese plane’s gunfire. That he lives through this terror—as do his crewmates—is either a testimony of his survival skills, or a testimony of Phil’s “protective God,” or perhaps testimony to both.