As the steamer approached Elephant Island, the men on the island were approaching lunchtime. It was August 30 when Marston spotted the YELCHO in an opening in the mist. He yelled, "Ship O!" but the men thought he was announcing lunch. A few moments later the men inside the "hut" heard him running forward, shouting, "Wild, there's a ship! Hadn't we better light a flare?" As they scrambled for the door, those bringing up the rear tore down the canvas walls. Wild put a hole in their last tin of fuel, soaked clothes in it, walked to the end of the spit and set them afire.
Aside from Schatz’s own behavior, the other element of the story that makes Schatz’s heroism striking is the behavior of his father, which unintentionally worsens Schatz’s mental turmoil. Shortly after Schatz suggests that his father need not stay with him if the spectacle of his son’s death will bother him, the father leaves the house for hours to enjoy himself in the winter sunshine with the family dog, a gun, and a covey of quail. The juxtaposition of the father’s enjoyment with Schatz’s self-controlled, tragic, and solitary stoicism sharpens the reader’s sense of Schatz’s heroism.
"Hemingway at 100." An interview with American writers Richard Ford, Nicholas Delbanco and . Verdelle. Richard Ford remarks about Hemingway's spare style, "Hemingway often, because he was casual in talking about despair, because he was casual in letting his characters not say what they thought often, he didn't express for me enough. He was in many ways stingy with language and didn't express what I thought was literature's moral density and complexity accurately enough, or in a way, morally enough." Online NewsHour, PBS, 21 July 1999.