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“Death on the Ice” by Cassie Brown Essay

Since the beginning of time the individual has been in a conflict. In the novel Death on The Ice by Cassie Brown we are shown how the crew of the Newfoundland survived in great hardship. The examples I will be showing you are of Jesse Collins with his struggle against the failing hope of the men, Cecil Mouland and his determination to live, and also Captain Abe Keans pride against the morals of Saint Johns. Every human being going those adversity through their lifetime, whether it be failing school, trouble with friends or family or even getting to school on time.

Throughout the story Jesse Collins was referred to as the “Indomitable Jesse Collins”. On the first night that the men of the Newfoundland were stuck on the ice the men were tired and hungry from their march from the Newfoundland to the Stephano, all the men wanted to do was to get something to eat and lay down to sleep. Jesse knew that if they stopped moving and slept that they would most likely never get back up again, so instead he motivated the men. He wouldn’t let them sleep or even sit down for any amount of time. Jesse kept the men moving by walking in a circle and patting the back of the fellow in front of them to try to also warm up their shoulders.

When the men’s eyelids would become frozen shut by the ice they would stumble around blind until Jesse Collins came to each of them, on by one he would bit off the ice chunks from the eyebrows and eyelids so they could see once again. In turn of him biting off the pieces of ice he froze he lips. Since Jesse was so determined to keep the men on his pan alive, that he lost only a couple of men during the night in contrast to Dawson’s pan which was referred to as a morgue.

Cecil Mouland was a seventeen year old at the time of the time of the disaster, it was his first time going onto the ice. Cecil had to walk to Doting Cove with his cousin Ralph Mouland and a few friends. Cecil was determined from the time they realized that they were stuck on the ice that he was going to survive. Cecil stayed close to his Ralph because he said that if Ralph died his cousins parents would blame him. One of the reasons that Ralph lived on the ice was because of Cecil not allowing him to sleep for anymore than a few minutes, and also from Cecil sharing his chewing tobacco with him.

The reason that Cecil had chewing tobacco with him was because his grandfather told him to never let his face freeze or that would be the end of him so he chewed on the tobacco the entire time he was on the ice until the last night where he ran out of it. Cecil was heard saying numerous times that he wasn’t going to die and that he was going to see his girlfriend Jessie once again. When the rescuers came, Cecil was carried on a stretcher back to the ship. When he passed a seal he asked for it to be killed so he could drink its blood and eat its heart, he was quoted as saying it made him feel a little bit more human. Cecil made it back to his sweetheart Jessie, he married her and lived for more than fifty years after the tragedy.

Captain Abe Kean was a well respected captain before and after the disaster, and was held with high regard. When the captain testified at the trail about the Newfoundland Disaster he believed every word he said and even went as far to say that he did everything above and beyond his duty. Captain Abe Kean was stuck in the middle of the disaster because the Newfoundland men were being sent to his ship on the first night that they were stuck on the ice. When they reached the Stephano they were told to get a quick bite then to get back over the side onto the ice and head Southwest to a patch of seals. When one of Abe Keans sons sent a message to him to asking about the situation of the Newfoundland crew it was left out of the message that the Stephano received.

When the trail first became and the people of Saint Johns wanted to hear Captain Abe Keans side of the story they were able to hear it because he was still out on the ice sending his watches over the side for more pelts so he could be high liner of the season. Throughout the entire thing he never once admitted that he was the cause or at fault for the disaster, the only thing he said that could have been an admission of guilt was that if the Newfoundland crew had taken any longer to get to the Stephano he would of sent them all back to the Newfoundland so then they wouldn’t of been stuck out on the ice.

More than these three men had to endure their own challenges during the Newfoundland Disaster, the survivors showed they had the endurance and the will to go on living. The examples that I have shown you from the novel Death On The Ice shows you the peril on the human will that the men had to endure to survive the night and also to be happy with their conscious.

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