I was struck by the "waiting" period in this section- specifically Chapter 4. Waiting and surviving versus traveling and surviving seem to evoke entirely different emotions and reactions. This shows in the way the days are described as well as the men's journal entries.
While waiting on the island Greenstreet said: "so passes another goddam rotten day" (205). This is in contrast to a day on the ice about a month in to their voyage: "one of the finest days we have ever had... a pleasure to be alive" (87). This is also written by Greenstreet.
What caused this extreme difference? Is it the act of movement and striving for a goal that creates positivity or was it simply that the lifestyle still had novelty. Perhaps, waiting versus moving towards a goal was the big difference. Just sitting and trying to survive with rescue out of your control is perhaps what causes the stark difference in attitude. Having a goal and hope may drive a hopeless situation forward but stagnancy and dependence will crush ambition and the attempt to remain positive.
I was trying to imagine myself in this situation and what I would do. I picture myself trying to regain strength by doing push ups and jumping jacks and doing riddles and playing cards- but I also realized that I cannot even fathom myself ever being in such a dire situation so I really can't pretend that I would be in better spirits and/or health... how have none of them gone crazy?
Trial by patience indeed...