Summary and Analysis
Part III Chapter 17: Typhoon
A major storm hits just as Louie and Phil are approaching the island, but they hold on until the typhoon eases during the night. The next morning, they try to row secretly onto the island but are spotted by enemy forces and captured by Japanese sailors. At first they are treated humanely; they are given food and medical care by the sailors on board the Japanese ship. Then, on July 16, they are blindfolded and transferred to a prison camp on Kwajalein Island. Now Louie and Phil are truly prisoners of war.
At last Louie’s “purgatory” ends, but he is left physically wrecked by it. Unlike the traditional idea of purgatory, though, where the purified sinner finally gains respite and redemption, Louie’s rescuer is no savior, but rather a host of Japanese soldiers. Figuratively, the soldiers are a collective host of devils who now usher Louie and Phil into an unimagined hell as prisoners of war.