58 pages 1 hour read

Patrick O'Brian

Master and Commander

Fiction | Novel | Adult | Published in 1969

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Chapters 5-6Chapter Summaries & Analyses

Chapter 5 Summary

An emotionless, dull ship’s log is compared to the real events that happen on the Sophie during her voyage. While the ship’s log dispassionately records the death of a sailor, the crew is upset by his sudden death on his 50th birthday. Similarly, the log records the weather, but does not mention that the sailors understand the heat to indicate a coming storm. The Sophie weathers an intense storm. They come across a small ship, but Maturin identifies signs of plague in the dead crewmen on deck. While Maturin wants to go aboard to look for survivors, Aubrey forbids it, not wanting to risk infecting the whole crew and getting quarantined.

Aubrey pursues another ship, a polacre, for an entire night in order to capture it, remaining on deck despite the bad weather. He attempts to go and enjoy the company of Maturin, Dillon, and Marshall, but finds himself feeling isolated and out of place due to his superior rank. The Sophie captures the polacre, a French merchant ship called the Aimable Louise, and claims it as a prize, capturing the goods and sending it back to an English-controlled port. Aubrey is satisfied with having more money, hoping to purchase enough gunpowder to make his ship more dangerous in combat.